Hawaiian Beef Stew is a delicious comfort food dish full of tender beef chunks and root vegetables, simmered to perfection in a tomato-based sauce. This regional favorite, called “local beef stew” by people in Hawaii, will be a hit no matter where you live.
What makes this beef stew Hawaiian? No, it’s not made with pineapple or any other ingredients that would be odd to see in a beef stew. It’s called Hawaiian Beef Stew because this is the way it’s made in Hawaii!
The islands of Hawaii are a melting pot of people from many different Pacific and East Asian cultures, and so a simple meal like beef stew has taken on different flavors due to the influences of different cooks.
The rich, tangy, and sweet tomato base of this stew sets it apart from the typical beefy, oniony stews we make in mainland America.
In Hawaii, fresh tomatoes are plentiful and often tossed into the pot with potatoes, carrots, and stew meat. In this recipe, we’re going to use canned tomatoes instead. It’s true that canned tomatoes are picked and packaged at peak ripeness, so they’ll be just as flavorful as sun-ripened Hawaiian tomatoes.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- One Pot – This is a very simple one-pot recipe that is made on the stovetop. I love it when there aren’t multiple pots and pans to wash after dinner!
- Amazing Flavors – Everyone loves Hawaiian Beef Stew and it has a unique tangy, umami flavor that you won’t be able to resist.
- Island Comfort Food – This is a beef stew recipe that is served everywhere in Hawaii, from school cafeterias to grandma’s house.
Ingredients In Hawaiian Beef Stew
Here’s what you need to make this easy, flavorful meal:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Beef Chuck: Well-marbled chuck roast is always my choice when it comes to making beef stew. This will give you the most tender meat. Other types of beef stew meat can also be used.
- Salt, Pepper, Flour, Oil: These kitchen basics help you season and sear the beef, creating a tasty crust on the outside of each piece.
- Vegetables: Onion, Celery, and Carrots add richness to this homestyle dish.
- Beef Broth: Packaged broth or beef stock works just fine in this recipe, but if you have some homemade stock or bone broth, feel free to use it.
- Potatoes: Unlike classic beef stew that is served with mashed or roast potatoes on the side, this stew includes diced potatoes simmered along with the meat.
- Canned Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: Using canned diced tomatoes is the best way to get lots of fresh tomato flavor. Tomato paste is a concentrated version of the same, so this Hawaiian stew is extra flavorful!
- Soy Sauce: If you can find it, try Hawaiian Aloha shoyu sauce. Japanese shoyu or Chinese soy sauce will also work just fine.
- Worcestershire Sauce: This seasoning makes beef taste meatier! Worchestershire is packed with umami flavor notes.
- Bay Leaf: Have I mentioned that Hawaiian beef stew is incredibly flavorful? A bay leaf adds the perfect final touch, just be sure to remove it from the pot before serving.
- Corn Starch: Make a slurry with cornstarch and water. This is added at the end to thicken the broth.
How To Make Hawaiian Beef Stew
- Season and Coat Beef: Toss the cubed chuck roast with salt and pepper in a bowl, then add the flour and toss to coat. Shake off any excess.
- Sear: In a dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the beef to the hot oil and brown it on all sites to create a crispy outer layer. Avoid overcrowding the pan, working in batches if needed. Remove the meat from the pot to a plate, and set aside.
- Saute Veggies: Add the carrots, onion, and celery to the same pot. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the onion is tender. Then add the beef broth. Deglaze the pot, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Simmer: Return the beef to the pot along with potatoes, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a bay leaf. If needed, add more broth to ensure that everything is covered. Stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 1.5-2 hours or until the beef is tender and almost falling apart.
- Thicken: Find and discard the bay leaf. Then thicken the stew by adding a slurry of cornstarch and water. Cook for one more minute until the broth thickens.
- Adjust Seasonings: Taste your Hawaiian Stew and adjust the seasonings to your preference. More soy sauce or salt can be added. You can also add some additional cornstarch slurry if you’d like the stew to be thicker at this point.
- Serve Over Rice: In Hawaii, beef stew is always eaten over rice, and I suggest you do the same!
Japanese shoyu sauce is a flavor staple in Hawaii. The Aloha brand is made in Hawaii and the one most locals choose.
- Use Quality Ingredients: Because the ingredients in this recipe are very basic, it’s important that each of them is fresh! The better your ingredients, the better your beef stew will taste.
- Plan Ahead: To save money, consider purchasing a large chuck roast when it’s on sale, cubing it, and keeping it in the freezer. If you find a good sale, pick up a few of them! This way, you will have stew meat on hand whenever the craving for a hearty beef stew strikes.
To Store: Keep leftover beef stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I don’t suggest freezing Hawaiian beef stew with potatoes, as the texture of the potatoes will change, giving the stew a grainy consistency.
What To Serve With Hawaiian Beef Stew
This tasty tomato beef stew is best served over rice. Any kind of rice will do, but I like to use long-grain white rice.
I love to use the Instant Pot to make basmati or jasmine rice for meals like this one.
Try Hawaiian beef stew with an easy and healthy salad like my Kale Salad with lemon vinaigrette.
Shoyu sauce technically is soy sauce, but shoyu is the word specifically used for Japanese-style soy sauce. Shoyu is typically fermented longer and will have a richer, deeper flavor.
If you have some very excellent, ripe, juicy, and flavorful tomatoes, and you’d like to peel and chop them up, you can use them in this recipe in place of the canned tomatoes. Otherwise, canned tomatoes are the easiest way to get the tomato flavor we’re looking for here.
Replace the flour with all-purpose gluten-free flour, and use tamari instead of soy sauce. You should also be sure that your Worchestershire sauce is gluten-free. Otherwise, the rest of the ingredients in Hawaiian beef stew are already free from gluten.
If you visit Hawaii, be sure to order Hawaiian stew while you’re there! But if a trip to Honolulu isn’t on your calendar yet, then make this easy recipe at home instead.
- 2 pounds beef chuck trimmed, patted dry with paper towels and diced into 1 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and diced 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes do not drain
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce preferably hawaiian shoyu sauce
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
- In a bowl, toss the beef with salt and pepper and then flour. Shake off any excess.
- In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and when it’s hot, add the beef and brown it from all sides (do not overcrowd the pan, and work in batches if needed) you want to create a crispy outer layer. Remove from the dutch oven onto a plate.
- To the same dutch oven, add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for 3 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add beef broth, and deglaze the pot, scraping off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add the beef, potatoes, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a bay leaf (you want the broth and the liquid from the diced tomatoes to almost cover everything. If needed, add about half cup more broth). Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1.5-2 hours or until the beef is tender and almost falling apart.
- Discard the bay leaf, and thicken the soup by adding the slurry then cook for one more minute. Adjust seasonings to your preference. Add more salt or soy sauce if needed. If you like the stew thicker, add 1-2 more tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water.
- Serve over cooked white rice
- This stew is almost always served over rice in Hawaii, but you can also serve it with bread or rolls on the side instead.
- Be sure to remove the bay leaf before serving. It’s not edible.
- To make this recipe gluten-free: Replace the flour with all-purpose gluten-free flour, and use tamari instead of soy sauce. You should also be sure that your Worchestershire sauce is gluten-free.
- To Store: Keep leftover beef stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I don’t suggest freezing beef stew with potatoes, as the texture of the potatoes will change, giving the stew a grainy consistency.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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