Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.
I have always been more of a coffee drinker, like the majority of Italians (and when I say coffee, I mean espresso!), but I have started to appreciate tea more and more since meeting my husband.  So I now often have a nice hot “cuppa” in the afternoon.  That said, I had never even thought of cooking something savoury with it!  So, when I saw this month’s challenge I was very fascinated with the idea.  I immediately decided on this stew because I knew my family would like it… who doesn’t like a warm and comforting beef stew?  And this had all the right flavours that made it sound like a great dish: spices (cinnamon), tanginess (orange peel, ginger and vinegar), sweetness (sweet potatoes and honey) and then Rooibos Tea.  Rooibos tea is an herbal infusion from South Africa.  It is honey-flavored and light colored.  The great thing about it is that it is also caffeine-free and it tastes delicious, which makes it great for the whole family.  You can drink it like normal tea (either with milk or with a hint of lemon), but after using it for this dish I think it goes great with orange, cinnamon and honey and it would be great as a cold and refreshing beverage for the summer!  Enjoy!


Recipe Source: Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry and the Daring Cooks.

Ingredients (Servings: 4-6)
1¼ pounds (600 gm) brisket or stewing beef (I used chuck steak), trimmed and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (18 gm) (⅔ oz) flour
1 tablespoon (15 m) oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
2 onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (8 gm) tomato concentrate
5 Rooibos tea* bags (or 2 tablespoons loose tea leaves)
1 quart (1 litre) just-boiled water
5 tablespoons (75 ml) red wine vinegar
4 strips unwaxed orange peel, pith removed (the peel of about half an orange)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 inches (5 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (I used ¾ tbsp ginger paste)
4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (I used ¾ of a very big sweet potato)
¾ cup (175 ml) mild honey (optional) (I used ¼ cup)
Cilantro (coriander) leaves, to garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste

* Rooibos tea can be substituted in this recipe by black tea, or try another dark herbal tea such as one containing licorice.

Season the beef with pepper and coat in the flour.  Heat the oil in a large stock pot and then brown the beef on all sides.

Add the onions and celery.  Put on a tight fitting lid and let them soften for ten minutes.

Add the garlic and tomato concentrate and cook for one minute.

Meanwhile, place the tea bags in a heatproof pitcher and pour the hot boiled water over them.  Allow to steep for four minutes.

Then remove the tea bags (or strain out the tea leaves) and pour the tea into the stock pot.  Add the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and ginger.

Lower the heat and cover.  Let the stew simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the beef is tender.

Add the sweet potatoes, honey (if using), and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

Serve with some steamed rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

To see all my fellow Daring Cooks posts… click here!

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  1. says

    Woe, you rocked this challenge, Manu!!! Gorgeous photos…and as I sit here drinking my morning tea, I’m wondering why I’ve never used it in any dishes…great idea here.

  2. says

    This is not the first time I have heard of rooibos tea, although I have never had it. I am however very intrigued by cooking with tea, I can imagine what an extra layer that would add to a dish. This is a wonderful recipe. Brava Manu!

  3. says

    Manu, the meat looks like it melts in the mouth – what an amazing dish. Ever since I went to South Africa, I’m a Rooibos fan, too. I love how you can add a dash of milk to it and pass it off as normal tea without the caffeine and have all the healthy benefits to it as well as a great taste. I’ve used it in macarons but never thought about savoury. LOVE IT! This recipe is for keeps.

  4. says

    How interesting! I’ve never had tea-braised beef, and I just got to try rooibos tea for the first time on Saturday. :) This sounds like a really interesting recipe, and the pictures are simply gorgeous!

  5. says

    I went to South Africa this summer and was introduced to Rooibos tea for the first time. I fell in love with it, I love the vanilla undertones. This is my first month doing daring cooks, I really enjoyed it! Buzzed ya too!

  6. says

    I am a tea drinker, but I’m not a fan of Rooibos tea. Not enough of a kick, in fact – no kick and a little too flowery for me. Of course I found that out after buying a box. Pretty ingenious using this tea with beef – I can see that. Love the addition of the orange,cinnamon, ginger and then the sweet potatoes! I think you out did yourself with creativity on this one. WOW! Now I know how to use that Rooibos tea in the pantry. :)

  7. says

    Manu, you made the most beautiful dish I have seen in this challenge. I remember seeing it on the forum and thinking…wow! that looks so good!
    I really wanted to try it but couldn’t find the Rooibos tea anywhere.Ironically I found it yesterday so I will be trying this soon

  8. says

    What a gorgeous looking dish Manu! The color of this dish is simply amazing. It’s so beautiful and I guess it’s probably from the tea. I’ve seen a couple of dishes using tea on other blogs and I’m truly impressed by everyone’s creation!

  9. says

    Gorgeous dish with really vibrant colours!

    I’m glad to see that you’re using tea in your dish. I think it’s something that still a very new concept for most people, but I can see it becoming more popular. Why use water when you can use tea rich in anti-oxidants? :)

    Rooibos works well in vanilla flavoured desserts too – just saying. Maybe something to inspire you!

  10. says

    Wow! This is gorgeous. I love rooibos tea, I love stews, what a great way to cook. I have eaten stews that are made in tea in restaurants before but I have never made it myself. It’s great that you have explained the technique and details of how to do so. Love to make that soon. Just one hint from a tea drinker like me: please use loose leaf teas and not the tea bags. Tea bags are just the left overs. You’ll see how much better they taste and the aroma is totally different too.
    Thanks for sharing this gorgeous recipe and your wonderful pictures. It makes me very hungry.:-)

  11. says

    Wow Manu, this beef with tea sounds so interesting…although I learned that in Chinese cuisine they smoke with tea leaves…anyway, I am sure that must taste as good as it look. Beautiful plate.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week and thanks for this delicious dish :-)

  12. says

    Che bei colori Manu, e che aspetto invitante, me ne mangerei un bel po’ proprio adesso… unica riserva: una volta ho provato il rooibos ma ricordo che mi aveva un po’ deluso… ora mi viene il dubbio che fosse di cattiva qualità o troppo vecchio perché mi fido molto del tuo gusto… si merita un’altra chance allora :) Baci

  13. says

    As you know, no beef for me, but I wanted to leave a comment anyway… 1) because your photo is stunning! and 2) because it is SUPER creative to braise meat in tea! 😀

  14. Lina says

    Hey there,

    I think you forgot to put in the part where you put honey into the pot :)

    Awesome recipe by the way, my stew is boiling away right now :)


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