Daging Masak Hitam | Penang Beef Curry

January 23, 2015

 Penang Beef Curry cooked in Sweet Soy Sauce

Famous Beef curry cooked in sweet soy sauce or famously known as Daging Masak Hitam

Have you had that feeling... 
when some songs were playing on the radio, a feeling that reeled you to your past?
You can remember that exact moment; what you were doing, who you were with... back then?
I had many of that moments...

Apart from songs, food has the same effect... with every bite I take, I am connected to my past!!!

Daging Masak Hitam

...just like this Daging Masak Hitam (Beef curry cooked with sweet soy sauce)...
...the taste took me back to my younger self.

With every bite, I could almost hear my dad asking "Nak makan apa esok pagi" (translate : What would you like to have for breakfast tomorrow?), his standard question, even though he already knew my answer to his question.
My reply... "Nasi mamak, lauk daging masak hitam" (translate: I want rice** with beef curry in sweet soy sauce....."
**Having rice for breakfast is a norm from where I come from.

He'd be up early, before call for morning prayers could be heard, ready and dressed. I'd be up too, with my sleepy face, plonked my cushy rear end on the hard chair at the dinner table... just before he headed out of the house to the nearby mosque, he'd turned around and asked again "Nasi mamak, lauk daging masak hitam?", making sure I didn't change my mind overnight. I nodded.  I could hear him riding his motorbike into the crisp cool morning breeze.

As the sun slowly rising accompanied by birds chirping merrily, I heard a familiar sound; sound of motorbike!!!
Yes, dad's home! with my breakfast, my mom's, his and whoever happened to be home at that time :D

My 'rice and beef' breakfast packed and wrapped in newspaper with elastic band around it, was within reach....I was salivating!!! The aroma could almost knock me off my chair ;P
...my favourite breakfast, the one I had been having since I was little, Nasi mamak, lauk daging masak hitam, the one that my dad used to buy for me from the same shop, same vendor eversince he himself was a young lad... 

Nothing last forever...
Last breakfast, he ever bought me, was in 2009, the year I was back visiting, the year before he took a tumble thus took a toll on his health, the year before he had to move away from the house he built with his hard earned money, lived in it most of his life with happy, sad memories intertwined... the year before sickness that robbed him of his strength and vigour!!!

I'll never forget...
The joy, happiness by my parents' side
...if I could, I'd catch that moment put it in a jar... to cherish that precious memories forever.

 Beef Curry cooked in Sweet Soy Sauce

Since his passing, I thought that I could no longer have my 'Daging Masak hitam/ Beef Curry with Sweet Soy Sauce... till I stumbled upon this recipe circulating via Facebook.

Wanting to try it out, so I printed out the recipe, and started buying and gathering all ingredients (long list of ingredients...), and of course when it comes to laborious work, H took over the reign.

One bite... One taste
I was reeled back to that particular moment at my parents' house...
I could almost see him sitting across the table, enjoying his roti canai, and my mom sitting on my right, having her breakfast and handful of medications afterwards, and me with my packet of "Nasi mamak, lauk daging masak hitam"

Daging Masak Hitam resipi

Daging Masak Hitam | Sweet Soy sauce Beef Curry

Yield: 6-8
Author: Lisa Ho
Beef curry with sweet soy sauce recipe. This is the famous Penang beef curry cooked in sweet soy sauce and thick caramel soy sauce. Serve with savoury rice.


  • 1 kg gravy beef – cubes
  • 2 medium size brown onion – thinly sliced and fry till golden brown
  • 1 pc lemongrass – smash the white bit
  • 2 screwpine leaves (pandan leaves) – washed and knotted
  • 2 stalks curry leaves
  • 2g cinnamon stick
  • 3cardamoms pods
  • 2star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoon kicap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoon kicap pekat (thick caramel soy sauce)
  • salt to taste
Mix A ~ Spices
  • 50g meat curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin - grind
  • 1 teaspoon fennel - grind
  • ½ teaspoon poppy seeds - grind
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
Mix B
  • 1 onion – coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cm ginger
  • 15pcs dried chillies – soaked in hot water for 30 minutes


How to cook Daging Masak Hitam | Sweet Soy sauce Beef Curry

  1. Heat up the thick base saucepan.
  2. Fry the thinly sliced onions in oil till it turns golden brown.
  3. Remove from heat, transfer the golden fried onion into a bowl and reserve the oil.
  4. Blend spice mix B with 1 tablespoon water into a paste.
  5. Saute the mix in the reserved oil on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until oil separates from the spice.
  6. Stir in spice mix A and cook for further 10 minutes.
  7. Add gravy beef with the rest of the ingredients including the golden fried onions.
  8. Bring to boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
  9. Cook for 50 minutes until meat is tender. (note : stir occasionally and add some water if the gravy thickens before the beef is tender).
  10. Add salt to taste
  11. Serve with steam rice
daging masak hitam, beef curry
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Scrumptious and ever so tasty! My kind of dish...



  2. I love how food can bring back such beautiful memories. Great looking curry as well! The ingredient list is a little bit intimidating but it sounds like it is well worth the effort.