Yasmien Kurdi’s homemade beef stew | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Yasmien Kurdi learned basic cooking techniques from her grandma.

As a child growing up in Kuwait, Lebanese-Filipino actress Yasmien Kurdi was a chubby-cheeked kid who looked forward to helping her Lebanese grandmother in her kitchen. Friends and visitors often remarked that she had been left unsupervised in the kitchen (“Napabayaan sa kusina”) but it didn’t bother her.

“I took what they said literally as the kitchen was and is my favorite place in the house. I love to eat and help out in the kitchen especially when it comes to cooking,” she told Lifestyle.

Her grandmother was the one who taught her basic cooking techniques. She was also Kurdi’s source of Arabic dishes, some of which Kurdi continues to cook for her husband.

“My grandmother was a good cook; her kitchen gets really busy during Ramadan. We start to prepare food early in the morning up until 5 p.m. Growing up in a big family in Kuwait, members usually helped each other in the kitchen by preparing dishes for everyone during the season.”Kurdi was also exposed to Filipino dishes through her Kapampangan relatives who are fond of cooking during family reunions.

The first dish she learned to cook at the age of 8 was adobo, which she learned from her mother, while tabouleh salad was the first Lebanese food she learned from her Lola Leila. It was only when Kurdi got married over a decade ago that her menu grew.

“I got them from cookbooks and YouTube. I should say my husband would always compliment me on my cooking even if it was the first time I was preparing a particular dish. He would even skip meals if I wasn’t the one who cooked, so I guess I did well on that.”

Growing up, Kurdi also loved watching cooking shows. One of her favorites was “Yan Can Cook,” where chef Martin Yan popularized stir-fried foo and other traditional Chinese dishes. His motto, which Kurdi has taken to heart, was, “If Yan can cook, so can you!”

Kurdi said she cooks a variety of homemade dishes for her family. Her daughter Ayesha Zara sometimes asks her to prepare pasta for her while her husband requests for Arabic food as he used to live in the Middle East. Both love soupy dishes and their favorites are sinampalukang manok, beef nilaga and pochero. “I consider these as my specialties based on their feedback. I haven’t taken any formal cooking classes but plan to enroll in a proper baking class soon.”

With “Start-Up PH,” the 65-episode drama series she stars in on the GMA Kapuso Network set to end next week, Kurdi might have time to finally take that baking class. In the meantime, she shares with Lifetsyle her recipe for Homemade Beef Stew.

This beef stew is one of the dishes the actress cooks for her family.

Homemade Beef Stew

1 kg stewing beef

1 onion chopped

½ tsp minced garlic

1 pound potatoes peeled and cubed

4 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces

4 stalks celery cut into 1 inch pieces

¾ c peas

1 can diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

3 Tbsp flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

3 Tbsp olive oil

6 c beef broth

½ c red wine, optional

3 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp water

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Toss beef in flour mixture. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Cook the beef, onions and garlic until browned. Add tomato paste.

Add beef broth into the pot and red wine while scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Stir in potatoes, carrots, diced tomatoes and celery. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 1 hour or until beef is tender (up to 90 minutes).

Yasmien Kurdi learned basic cooking techniques from her grandma.

You can check if the beef is tender using a fork. (If your beef is not tender after 60 minutes, cover and allow to simmer an additional 15-20 minutes or until tender.)

Mix equal parts cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Slowly add the slurry to the boiling stew to reach desired consistency (you may not need all of the slurry).

Stir in peas and simmer 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve. INQ

Are you also a passionate home cook and want to be featured? Share with us your story and recipes, along with mouthwatering photos. Send them to [email protected].

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