If you like spicy food, you will love Trinchado! This dish is made with tender strips of beef in a thick tomato and onion based sauce and spiced up with garlic, peri-peri and red wine. It is a popular dish in many South African restaurants, and now you can make Trinchado at home using my easy recipe.
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What is Trinchado?
Trinchado is a spicy beef stew, and is a very popular dish in Portuguese restaurants in South Africa. It is made from tender strips of beef cooked in a tomato and onion based sauce, flavoured with peri-peri, garlic and red wine. Served as a starter, Trinchado is normally just accompanied by a crusty Portuguese roll. Served as a main meal, it would normally be served with a dish of french fries or a bowl of rice.
The main flavouring is of course the peri-peri chilli (or African birdseye chilli). This is grown in Mozambique and the rest of southern Africa. These peppers are extremely hot. They rank at 175,000 units on the Scoville scale, which is used to measure the heat of chillies. This puts the peri-peri chilli in the same league as the habanero pepper which ranks at between 100,000 and 350,000 units.. If you are interested in reading about how the heat of peppers is measured, you can find more information in this article on the Scoville scale.
It is said that trinchado was brought to South Africa by Portuguese settlers who migrated into South Africa from neighbouring Mozambique and Angola. The word trinchado is a Portuguese word meaning carved or cut up, hence the small strips of beef in the stew.
Originally, trinchado was served as a bar snack in Mozambique, and the sauce normally contained whatever meat was leftover from the main meals in the restaurant. Nowadays, trinchado is normally made with either beef or chicken, and occasionally with fish.
Make beef Trinchado 2 ways
There are two ways of making beef Trinchado, and it depends on which cut of beef you are using as to which method you use.
- Use stewing beef, and slow-cook the beef in the tomato and onion sauce for up to 2 hours until it is fall-apart tender.
- Use a good cut of steak, cut against the grain into thin slices. Then flash fry the beef until it is just cooked and add it to the sauce 5 minutes before you are ready to serve.
I much prefer the second method as it is so quick and easy, and takes next to no time. The second method is the recipe I am sharing today.
To get the authentic Trinchado flavour, I use Nando’s peri-peri sauce, which is made from the bird’s eye chilli, and is now sold in most countries worldwide. If you can’t get hold of a bottle of Nandos you can substitute this with any finely chopped hot chilli, or even with dried chilli flakes. If you would like to make my copycat homemade Nando’s sauce you can get the recipe from this post for peri-peri chicken.
How to make easy Beef Trinchado
You can find the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making easy beef trinchado on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
You will need a large frying pan with a lid, and a sharp knife for slicing the steak.
To make my quick and easy trinchado you will need between 100 and 150 grams (4 to 5 ounces) of finely sliced beef steak per person, depending on appetite. Use a good quality steak, which does not need a long cooking time, like rump, sirloin, porterhouse or ribeye.
For making the sauce you will need onions and tomatoes and of course a bottle of Nando’s peri-peri sauce. In addition, you will need garlic, beef stock, balsamic vinegar and red wine. When deciding on which wine to use, use a wine you would normally drink – cooking won’t improve the flavour of bad wine. My philosophy on this is – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.
Slice the steak into thin slices, cut across the grain, then marinate the pieces in a mixture of Worcestershire sauce and cornflour (cornstarch) for at least 30 minutes. This will help to tenderise the beef even further.
Remove the meat from the marinade (reserving any remaining marinade to add to the sauce). Fry the steak in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a hot frying pan until it is nicely browned and cooked through (image 1 above). If you are using a good quality steak, this step won’t take long. Don’t overcrowd the pan either, cook in batches. You want the steak to fry and sear nicely, not boil in its own juices.
Once all the steak has been browned, set aside and turn your attention to the sauce.
Make the sauce
Cut the onions and tomatoes into approximately 1″ pieces and mince the garlic finely. You can use ready minced garlic from a jar if you don’t have fresh garlic. Fry the onions gently, in the same pan as the meat was browned in, until they turn translucent. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if there isn’t sufficient left in the pan after browning the meat. Then add the tomatoes and garlic, cover with a lid and allow to sweat gently until the tomatoes have softened. This will take about 5 minutes (image 2 above).
Add the beef stock, red wine, balsamic vinegar, Nando’s sauce (or finely minced chilli), 1 teaspoon of sugar and any remaining marinade. Replace the lid and simmer for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes have completely broken down and all the flavours have combined together (image 3 above).
Now taste for seasoning and adjust where necessary. If you find the sauce is not spicy enough, add more Nandos. If it seems a little bland, then add salt.
This next step depends on how much the sauce has thickened. If the sauce seems a little runny, mix a tablespoon of cornflour/cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water, and drizzle slowly into the simmering sauce. Stir until the mixture thickens. You may not need all the cornflour mixture. The sauce should not be watery, but it should not be too thick either. I would say it should have the consistency of thick soup.
Add the meat back to the sauce. and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes (image 4 above).
Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices, and a dish of french fries or white rice.
Your questions answered
Yes, this dish can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow it to cool and pack into a suitable freezer container.
To use – allow to defrost in the fridge or if you are in a hurry you can defrost it in the microwave.
Once defrosted, tip into a saucepan and reheat gently until piping hot.
To make a larger quantity you should allow between 100 and 150 grams (4 to 5 ounces) of sliced beef per person. With the exception of the chilli and garlic, you can double the quantities for the sauce. For the chilli and garlic, you should increase the quantities to your own taste.
You can substitute the following ingredients:
Worcestershire sauce – substitute with soy sauce
Nando’s peri–peri sauce – substitute with finely minced bird’s eye chilli or dried chilli flakes.
Beef stock – if you don’t have any fresh beef stock you can make your own stock using one beef stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water.
Red wine – substitute with the equivalent quantity of beef stock.
Fresh garlic – substitute with minced garlic from a jar.
Balsamic vinegar – substitute with lemon juice.
Yes, you can make this dish up to 3 days in advance. Just store in a covered dish in the refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove until piping hot.
If you would like to make this recipe as a stew, rather than frying the beef, here is what you should do.
Follow the recipe to marinate the beef, then make the sauce up to the point where the tomatoes have been added and softened.
Add the stock wine and spices and then add the meat, cover with a lid and simmer for 1 and a half to two hours until the meat is tender.
Top up with extra beef stock if it seems to be drying out.
Thicken with cornflour and water once the meat is cooked,
Taste for seasoning and heat – you may find you need to add extra peri-peri sauce, especially if you have added extra liquid.
Don’t forget to check out my handy Cookery Conversion Calculator if you want to convert any of your recipe measurements from grams to cups, ounces, tablespoons or millilitres and vice versa. You can also use the calculator for converting oven temperatures between Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Gas marks.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read all about it in this post on baking at high altitudes.
Pin for later
If you would like to make beef Trinchdo, why not pin this recipe to your Pinterest board so you can make it later. Just click the image below.
Quick and easy beef trinchado recipe
Quick and easy beef trinchado
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- Bowl for marinade
Steak and marinade
- 18 ounces (500g) beef steak (porterhouse, rump, sirloin, rib-eye)
- 4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornflour / cornstarch
- 2 large onions
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic minced (or use from a jar)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
- ⅓ cup (50g) Nando's hot peri-peri sauce (or more to taste)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon cornflour / cornstarch mixed in 2 tablespoons water (for thickening)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the steak against the grain into thin slices – approximately ½cm or ¼" thickness.
- Mix the worcestershire sauce and cornflour until there are no lumps and add the steak. Mix to combine and then leave for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the steak from the marinade and fry in 2 tablespoons olive oil over a high heat until the steak is cooked. Cook in batches so you don't overload the pan. This should take no more than 3 minutes per batch.
- Remove the cooked steak from the pan and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes and onions into 1" (2cm) dice. Mince the garlic cloves finely.
- Fry the onions gently in the same pan as the meat until they become translucent. Add more oil if necessary.
- Add the tomatoes and garlic, cover with a lid and allow to sweat gently until the tomatoes have softened. Approximately 5 minutes.
- Add beef stock, red wine, balsamic vinegar, Nando's sauce and sugar. Replace the lid on the pan and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes have completely broken down.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- If the sauce is not thickened sufficiently make a slurry with 1 tablespoon cornflour and 2 tablespoons water and stir into the simmering sauce until it thickens. You may not need all the cornflour mix.
- Add the browned the meat to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve with crusty bread and a dish of french fries or white rice.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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