Firecracker beef stir fry (oseng mercon) is a super spicy Indonesian food of slice beef with full aromatics and herbs, yet so quick to make! surely will get you more portions with steamed rice.
This spicy food features tender slices of beef cooked with an array of chili peppers, creating a burst of flavors and its combination of aromatic spices and fiery heat will leave you craving for more.
Do not be scared by the picture and the intimidating chilies everywhere, this is super addictive for you who love spicy food. I can’t even remember how many times I add more rice 😂
History of Oseng Mercon
Oseng mercon is known nationally for its intense heat. Imagine a party in your mouth with beef and red bird-eye chilies doing the salsa! In Javanese, “mercon” means firecracker, and “oseng-oseng” is all about stir-frying with chili peppers. So when you dive into this dish, get ready for a fantastic explosion of flavors that’ll have your taste buds dancing!
The history of this food was there’s this awesome lady, Bu Narti, from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Back in the late 90s, things were kinda rough in Indonesia due to the financial crisis, and Bu Narti faced her own personal struggle when her husband passed away. Moreover, during an Islamic Feast (idul adha), Bu Narti’s family ended up with loads of meat – cow meat, skin, feet, and fat, you name it.
To make a living, she decided to start a simple street food stall. Now, here’s the twist: she came up with this meat dish loaded with a ton of chili peppers. And let me tell you, this dish was so fiery, it was like a party of firecrackers (which, in Javanese, is “mercon”) going off in your mouth. That’s how it got its catchy name!
When she first opened her stall on Jalan KHA Dahlan in ’97, Oseng-oseng mercon was the star of the show, making people crazy for that spicy kick. And guess what? The love for this dish spread like wildfire to other cities too. Luckily, it gets even better! The original Mercon stall is still kicking today, and this oseng mercon has become a must-try in Yogyakarta.
So, next time you’re in Yogyakarta, you absolutely have to try this spiciness extravaganza. It’s like a fireworks show for your taste buds!
Craving for Savory and Spicy Food
I have a ridiculous story behind making this recipe, recently due to my PMS, I got plenty of cravings for spicy, oily food. my mind was mouthwatering with chilis, let me tell you, I’m not really into a very spicy food lover, I’m just an average to mild spicy lover lol. So it’s kinda unusual for me.
Then, for the following days after I just figured out that I was getting menstruation, I search for the reason behind my craving, even though The connection between craving spicy food and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) or menstruation isn’t fully understood and may vary from person to person. However, Here are some theories from the internet that could explain this phenomenon:
- Hormonal Changes: During the menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate, particularly estrogen and progesterone.
- Endorphin Release: Spicy foods can trigger the release of endorphins, which are natural “feel-good” chemicals in the brain.
- Nutritional Needs: Some experts suggest that the body’s nutritional needs can change during menstruation.
- Cultural and Psychological Factors: Cravings are influenced by various factors, including cultural background and personal experiences.
I’m grateful that I finally discover this recipe, this is so yummy, spicy, and addictive, it can be your stress-relief food tho ( be careful with the aftermath) always be responsible and be sure of your body’s capability thru spicy food intake. Do not worry, you can always adjust the recipe measurement based on your preference😉
Oh My God, I think I’m craving again just by seeing this picture hahaha, just Let’s make it in very soon.
Ingredients of Firecracker Beef Slices (Oseng Mercon)
- Beef Slice; Any fat percentage is fine: lean or standard. The fattier it is, the better the beef will caramelize. The main protein component of the dish is typically thinly sliced for quick and even cooking. It provides a meaty texture and flavor to the dish.
- Onion; adds a sweet and savory flavor to the dish, enhancing the overall taste and aroma.
- Garlic; Fresh garlic is an essential aromatic flavor.
- Shallot; shallots add a milder and sweeter flavor to the dish. All of the onion, garlic and shallots are for aromatics
- Red and Green Curly Chili; add heat and a vibrant red and green color to the dish. They contribute to the milder spiciness and flavor complexity and visual appeal
- Cayenne Pepper/Redbird eyes chili; I use redbird eyes chili adds a strong kick of spiciness to the dish. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of heat. This is what makes firecracker beef super spicy
- Lime Leaves sliced; provide a citrusy and aromatic flavor to the dish.
- Galangal; A rhizome similar to ginger, galangal adds a distinctive earthy and citrusy flavor to the dish.
- Bay Leaf; Adds a subtle herbal flavor and aroma to the dish
- Lemongrass; adds a refreshing element to the dish
- Oyster Sauce; A savory and slightly sweet condiment that adds depth of flavor to the dish. This is the game-changer for today’s recipe
- Beef Stock Powder; enhances the meaty flavor of the dish
- Sugar; Firecracker sauce’s flavor profile is spicy and sweet, so this is the sweet. It also helps the beef caramelize which adds even more flavour to the overall dish.
- Salt and Pepper; for basic seasoning
- Scallion; Used as a garnish, spring onions add freshness and a mild onion flavor to the dish. They provide a pop of color and texture.
Instructions Firecracker Beef Slices (Oseng Mercon)
To start, prepare the ingredients by cutting the garlic, shallots, red curly chili, green curly chili, and cayenne peppers into several pieces. Afterward, roughly blend them together. This step forms a flavorful chili paste that serves as the base of the dish.
Next, heat cooking oil in a pan over medium heat. As the oil warms up, sauté the sliced onion and the blended chili mixture until they become fragrant.
Once the spices are fragrant, it’s time to add more aromatic ingredients. Next, place the sliced lime leaves, bay leaves, galangal, and lemongrass in the pan. These additions enhance the depth and complexity of flavors in the dish. Then, allow them to cook for a few minutes, ensuring the spices are fully cooked and their flavors meld together.
Now, introduce the star ingredient – the beef slices. Next, add them to the pan, allowing them to mingle with the aromatic spices. Furthermore, as the beef cooks, it absorbs the flavors of the chili paste and spices, resulting in tender and seasoned meat.
To further enhance the overall taste and texture, it’s time to add the seasonings. First, pour in the oyster sauce, which contributes a savory and slightly sweet note to the dish. Then, secondly, add the salt, sugar, and pepper. Lastly, add beef stock to bring balance and depth to the flavors. Adjust the seasonings according to your personal taste preferences.
Allow the beef to cook thoroughly, ensuring it becomes tender and fully infused with the flavors of the spices and seasonings. As the dish nears completion, garnish it with freshly chopped spring onions. This addition provides a burst of freshness and imparts a mild onion flavor.
Finally, it’s time to serve the Firecracker Beef stir fry. Pair the dish with a serving of warm rice, which complements the robust flavors and acts as a satisfying base. With each bite, savor the combination of flavorful beef slices and aromatic spices, creating a memorable and delightful dining experience.
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Firecracker Beef Stir Fry
- 1 lb Beef Slice
- ½ Onion sliced
- 4 clove Garlic
- 6 clove Shallot
- 10 Red Curly Chili
- 10 Green Curly Chili
- 5 Cayenne Pepper
- 4 Lime Leaves sliced
- 1 segment Galangal
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Lemongrass
- 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tsp Beef Stock Powder
- ½ tsp Salt or to taste
- ½ tsp Sugar or to taste
- ¼ tsp Pepper or to taste
- Spring Onion
Cut garlic, shallots, red curly chili, green curly chili, and cayenne peppers into several pieces, then roughly blend them.
In a pan, heat cooking oil over medium heat, then sauté onion and the chili mixture until fragrant.
Add sliced lime leaves, bay leaves, galangal, and lemongrass, then cook until the spices are cooked.
Add beef slices into the pan, then add oyster sauce, salt, sugar, pepper, and beef stock. Cook until the beef is cooked. Sprinkle spring onion on top, then stir briefly.
Serve the firework beef slice with warm rice. Enjoy!