Put the coconut milk and water in a wok or large pan over medium to high flame and bring to a boil. Add the garlic, shallot, galangal, turmeric, chile, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, cumin, ginger, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and lemongrass and bring to a boil again. Add the beef. After about 5 minutes, turn the flame down to a simmer. Add the sugar and salt. Cook, stirring every 5 minutes, until the coconut milk turns oily, separates and rises to the top (this is the sign that it's done), about 2 hours.
Indonesian bay leaves are known as daun salam. Do NOT use regular bay leaves, they're totally different. It's best to leave out if you cannot find Indonesian bay leaves.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.