Marak Temani (Yemenite Beef Stew)

Posted on by on December 23rd, 2012 | 7 Comments »

Walking around the Old City of Beer Sheva, its easy to pass by the many small and inconspicuous restaurants that dot the streets and small alleyways of this old Ottoman city. Many are worth passing up while others are hidden gems that are worth a second glance. So is true for Ha’bayit Ha’Temani (The house of Yemen), a small Yemenite restaurant that sits on one of  the main streets leading into the old city. 

Ha’bayit Ha’Temani has no menus and serves up two traditional Yemeni dishes; Marak Temani (Yemenite beef stew) and beef with rice. At first bite of their stew I found a new comfort food that has become one of my favorites. The stew is served with freshly baked saluf (Yemenite flatbread) and is filled with a delicious spice blend, potatoes, vegetables and beef so tender it melts in your mouth and a delicious zhug (a Yemeni hot sauce) and hilbeh (a fenugreek based condiment) on the side. So. Good.

Every Yemenite family has their own unique way of making this traditional dish that is usually served on Erev Shabbot. But, the one ingredient that makes all Yemenite stews come together, is the spice blend hawaij. Hawaij is an aromatic and intense spice blend made up of cumin, coriander, peppercorns, and turmeric. More exotic blends may have saffron or cardamom. Hawaij has become a favored spice used in my house as it makes the perfect rub for meats and poultry as well as fish and vegetable dishes. You can find hawaij in your local Middle Eastern grocer or spice store.

As the winter months draw closer, rainy season begins and the occasional sandstorm makes it impossible to leave the house, hearty  and comforting soups and stews like this are a must have. I decided to make my own version of marak Temani using a lot of hawaij, potatoes, pumpkin and zucchini as they are in season. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you wish.

I made my own zhug as well to make the stew even more spicy. Zhug is a Yemeni hot sauce that has become wildly popular in Israel usually found topping falafel, hummus or smeared on sandwiches. Here it is served to mix into an already spicy dish for even more of a kick. Sure to clear up any stuffy nose! It is made up of hot pepers, coriander, garlic and cumin. Traditionally made using two stones, one as a work surface and one for crushing the ingredients, you can also use a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Zhug is not for the faint of heart. It is VERY spicy, so use caution.

Marak Temani (Yemenite Beef Stew)

Serving Size: 6-8

Yemenite beef stew is a great spicy alternative to matzah ball soup while combating cold and flu season and a great comfort food for those blistering cold days.


  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cubed
  • 3-5 tablespoons hawaij (or more depending on how spicy you want it), divided
  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1 lb. pumpkin, cut into large chunks
  • 4 russet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 3-4 quarts water
  • salt and peper


  1. Toss beef chunks with half of the hawaij (the more you use, the more flavorful it will be)
  2. In a large soup pot over medium high heat add beef chunks and sautee until browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Remove from pot and set aside.
  3. On the bottom of the pot should be a layer of brown bits and spice from the beef. Leave this in the pot as it will add flavoring to your soup.
  4. Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Sautee while scraping up the brown bits and spice on the bottom of the pot to coat the onions and garlic. Cook until onions are softened.
  5. Stir in tomato paste until combined.
  6. Turn heat to low and add beef back into the pot.
  7. Make three deep cuts in the tomatoes taking care to keep them whole.
  8. Add tomatoes and coriander to the pot and add 3-4 quarts of water almost completely covering the ingredients.
  9. Bring soup to a boil and season with salt and peper and remaining hawaij.
  10. Simmer soup for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add remaining vegetables to soup and slightly cover the pot with lid.
  12. Allow to cook for at least 1 hour more or until beef and potatoes are tender (I cook mine for 2-3 hours more).
  13. Season stew with salt and peper and add more hawaij if desired.



  • 1 cup chopped coriander
  • 4-5 mediem hot green peppers
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Carefully clean the seeds from the peppers.
  2. In a food processor, ground all ingredients together until combined.







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  1. Posted on: 12-24-2012

    My favorite soup! I think it’s going to be Danny’s favorite soup, too.

  2. Posted on: 12-26-2012

    This was beyond delicious! You really nailed it. Perfect for cold days.

  3. Posted on: 12-27-2012

    I’ve never had Yemeni dishes! But urmm I’d love to try it! Your stew looks absolutely amazing! Kinda resembles Indonesian beef stew!! 😀 Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  4. Posted on: 1-2-2013

    I love Yemenite food and this beef stew sounds amazing, Beth! My husband’s host mom in Israel is from Yemen and I adore her cooking. She taught me to make zhug at home and we always have a jar in the fridge. We have a frosty morning outside right now, so I’m planning to make this stew soon. Happy 2013 to you!

  5. Posted on: 1-3-2013

    Yemenite food is new to me. I loved this preparation. What an incredible way to make such a delicious stew!

  6. Posted on: 1-6-2013

    I can’t wait to find and try some of that spice mix. Thank you for sharing…what a nice way to end my weekend (and get ready for dinner!) I hope you have a wonderful week!

  7. Posted on: 1-11-2013

    Happy New Year Beth! This is new to me but it looks and sounds amazing stew! This is my first time learning about Zhug too. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! 🙂

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