Bife koygua is a beef stew from Paraguay made with beef steak, onion, tomato, and spices. The dish is an example of a typical meat stew made in the landlocked South American country, with a cuisine heavy in maize, manioc, meat, vegetables, and fruit. Bife koygua is a simple dish that takes 30 minutes or less to make and is packed full of the bold, vibrant flavors of Paraguay.
Paraguay is one of the only countries in South America that does not boast an ocean coastline, and for that reason, the proteins of choice is meat or fresh water fish like catfish (surubi). The foundational food of Paraguayan cuisine is corn, or maize, and it is used to make tortillas, soups, pastes, and other starchy foodstuffs. Cassava, or mandioca, is also a popular starch, as well as an array of potato varieties. Dairy is also a staple food category, with milks and cheeses served at most meals. Fruits like oranges and berries are popular, which are often made into desserts or marmalades like the sour orange specialty kosereva.
Beef is a huge part of Paraguayan cuisine and culture, as many cattle are raised throughout the country. Grilled assorted meats, called asados, are a favorite dish and are typically served with sides of corn and cassava. Meat and fish stews are popular in Paraguay, and bife koygua is a great example of a meat and vegetable stew eaten throughout the country.
Bife koygua is a simple meat stew that is ready in under thirty minutes. Chopped onions are first softened in a large pot or pan, and then the beefsteaks are placed on top and seasoned with oregano, salt, and pepper. The steaks are topped with sliced tomatoes and the dish is covered and cooked for fifteen minutes, then two eggs are cracked into the released water and cooked another three minutes. The stew is then served with the runny eggs and is perfect with a glass of South American red wine.
The word koygua in bife koygua has an interesting origin. Koygua loosely translates to “hidden” or “shy”, similar to how a young child may be shy and hide behind its parents legs around strangers. The word “koygua” is used as an adjective to describe the beef steak in this recipe, meaning it is a steak hidden behind the eggs. A shy steak indeed!
Steak and eggs are a popular food combination throughout the world, and it also shows up in Portuguese cuisine, as in bitoque – a grilled steak topped with a sunny egg that is often served with rice, fries, and a small side salad. A double hit of protein for a super flavorful, hearty meal.
Beef stews like bife koygua and puchero (another beef stew popular in Paraguay) are not only popular in Paraguay, they are also eaten in cuisines throughout the world. The French have the popular beef bourguignon, a beef stew prepared with red wine and fragrant herbs. The Irish have a beef and potato stew, cholent is a Jewish beef stew favorite, and Tunisia has the beef and spinach stew known as pkaila. And don’t forget the Hungarian goulash, a beef and vegetable stew typically served over noodles or mashed potatoes that is also popular throughout Central Europe.
Bife koygua is a delicious dish on its own, but can be paired with other traditional dishes to make a Paraguayan meal. Start your Paraguayan meal off right with an appetizer of pastel mandi’o, or empanadas. Pair your beef stew with tortilla paraguaya, a typical omelette made with scallions. And finish off your meal with the preserved sour orange marmalade, kosereva, which is often served with cheese. An epic Paraguayan spread!
We hope you enjoy this traditional bife koygua recipe from Paraguay!
- 4 beef steaks
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions , grated
- 1 cube vegetable broth , crumbled
- 4 tomatoes , peeled and sliced
- 4 eggs
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- Pound the steaks with a meat mallet. Reserve at room temperature.
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions for a few minutes.
- Add the steaks and the bouillon cube.
- Place the slices of tomatoes over the meat. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with oregano.
- Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.
- Uncover and gently stir to mix the flavors.
- Break the eggs one by one all over the surface.
- Cover again and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley.