Karni Stoba (Curacaoan Beef Stew with Green Papaya)

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Karni Stoba - Beef Stew

Karni Stoba / Beef Stew

This beef stew, “Karni Stoba”, is a Curacao favorite marked by its combination of thick, tangy, spicy, fragrant and savory properties.  In very typical stew-making fashion, the pieces of beef are seasoned and then browned in oil to seal in the flavor.  The vegetables and water are then added so that the stoba can simmer, thus making the meat tender, and the flavors balanced and mellow.  Towards the end of cooking, tender potatoes and steamed green papaya chunks are added. What you end up with is a classic Dutch Caribbean home-style dish.

(Serves 4)


  • 1 lb stewing beef, chopped in 1″ cubes
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • Hot water, to cover
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb green papaya, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste


  1. Sprinkle over the meat the nutmeg, cumin, salt, and pepper; mix well to coat evenly. Add the soy sauce and stir.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides.
  3. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, tomato, and enough hot water to cover everything. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about one hour, or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  4. While the meat and veggies are simmering, boil the potato until just fork-tender. Drain and set aside. Steam the papaya pieces for about 15 minutes, or until soft.
  5. When the meat is ready, add the potato, papaya and the tomato paste, and stir. Cook for another five to ten minutes or until heated through. Serve over steamed white rice.
Adapted from Travel by Stove