Good Morning America Recipes

Keang Bah-Shaw Beef and Pumpkin Stew

Su-Mei Yu Makes Asian Cuisine Easy

GMA Recipes Dinner
Difficulty: Moderate
Cook Time: min

As Good Morning America launches a continuing series on easy-to-prepare party dishes, we called on Su-Mei Yu, author of two books on Asian cooking, for some recipe ideas.

A lot of people are intimidated by Asian cooking, but Su-Mei Yu says there is no need to be.

"It's not that hard anymore, because you can buy all the ingredients in most places," she said. "Don't be intimidated. Go with the flow and think Asian. You can find all these ingredients in any supermarket."

Here is her recipe for a simple, popular dish, Keang Bah-Shaw, Beef and Pumpkin Stew.


  • Stew
  • 1 pound beef top sirloin (or chuck roast), cut into 2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Big Four Paste (recipe below)
  • 5 cups Fresh Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce (namm pla)
  • 4 to 5 fresh bird chiles (or 2 to 3 serrano chiles), lightly crushed
  • 3 cups kabocha squash (or banana squash), cubed in 1-inch pieces
  • 20 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Big Four Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Thai white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 to 15 cloves garlic (1/2 cup), minced
  • 1 cup cilantro stems and roots, minced
  • Cooking Directions

    Big Four Paste Directions

    To prepare with mortar and pestle: Heat a 7-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the coriander seeds and dry-roast, sliding the skillet back and forth over the burner, until the seeds are fragrant, about three minutes. Transfer the seeds to a small bowl to cool and repeat with the peppercorns. When cool, grind the coriander seeds and peppercorns separately in an electric spice or coffee grinder and transfer to separate bowls.

    Place a mortar on top of a damp towel on the kitchen counter, preferable waist-high. Add the sea salt and garlic to the mortar and pound them together by holding the pestle securely in the center of your palm and pounding straight up and down the into the center of the mortar. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the ingredients from the sides into the center of the mortar as needed, and pound until a paste forms. Add the cilantro roots and stems and pound to a smooth paste. Add the ground coriander and peppercorn powders and pound and blend until the paste is smooth. Transfer the paste to a jar, seal, and refrigerate.

    To prepare with a food processor: Roast and grind the coriander seeds and peppercorns as above. Fit the food processor with the steel blade. Add the sea salt, garlic, and cilantro roots and stems and pulse until finely minced, scraping down the side of the bowl frequently. Add the ground spices and process to a paste. Transfer to a jar, seal, and refrigerate.


    In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef and the Big Four Paste. Cover and marinate for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Remove an hour before cooking to allow to come to room temperature.

    In a 12-inch saucepan, heat the coconut milk over high heat until it begins to boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the beef, cover and let simmer for an hour, or until the beef is tender.

    Taste the soup and season with fish sauce and chiles, depending on your taste preference. Cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the squash, cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender but still firm.

    Ladle the stew into a soup tureen. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve with cooked long-grain rice, preferably Thai jasmine or Indian or California basmati.

    Recipes courtesy of Cracking the Coconut by Su-Mei Yu © 2000

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: steak, coconut milk, fish sauce, bird chiles

    Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course

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