Friday, February 18, 2011

Oxtail soup

Have I told you that I-heart-beef? Well, I do. And that includes this oxtail soup. Yes, the tail. Despite how small and meatless it looks on the cow, it really makes a great soup.
So this is the deal about cooking the tails. If you want a cleaner soup (with less fat), there are 2 methods you can do:
1. Boil them, cool the soup, and keep in fridge for overnight to let the fat excess forms a hard fat layer on the surface. This will enable you to skim the fat off easily from the soup.
2. This one also comes from Holy at Beyond Kimchee. Boil the tails for a while and discard the water. Then, you can pour in new batch of water, boil the tails again, and continue cooking.
Either way, add the spices after you`re done with cleaning the soup.

I, however, want to make the whole process to be speedier. I never did either of those cleaning up process. Maybe next time I`d use Holy`s method.
If you choose method no 1, or just like what I did (aka. no fat-removal), you can start the cooking process from here. Brown them to get the caramelized bits.
I`ve heard people grill the tails to avoid frying, but I choose to pan-grill them without oil. Quicker.

Let the meaty surface gets caramelized.

And put them in a pressure cooker.

Next, saute onion, garlic, and ginger to bring out the fragrance. I love my soup to have a bit of gingery kick, but you can skip it of course.

Put the sauteed spices in the pressure cooker with the tails. Then, pour in water just enough to cook them through. Not too much, though. You can always thin out the soup later after "pressing" them.
Close the cooker`s lid and cook it for 30 mins with the heat on. Or don`t listen to me. Referring to your manual is the right thing to do.

After it`s done cooking and the pressure has been completely released out, open the lid. Check if the meat has fallen off the bones or if it can be easily pulled out with a fork. Cook it some more if you need to. There`s no such thing as overcooking the tails. They`ll just get better and better.

(Pretend you can see a picture of cooked tail in a pot)

Veggie time. Throw in carrots. Please don`t say you hate them. They`re one of the most wonderful things in the world.

I usually add potatoes, but this time I went for radish instead. Less carb was the reason. Ahem.

And one last important ingredient for the umami. Tomatoes. You`ll be happier with them in the soup.
Close the cooker`s lid and cook it again for another 5-10 mins. When the carrot and radish got tender enough, season the soup with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. No need sugar this time because the carrot and radish are good enough to balance the savoriness.Thin it out with water if you need to.

Get a bowl and ladle the soup in. Oh, you must, really really must try this soup. Devour it using spoon, fork, and your hand(s). Definitely not the most elegant table manner because oxtail soup is wild!


Oxtail pieces
Raddish (daikon)
Salt and pepper


  1. I never knew oxtail soup was so pretty! I used ox tail for the first time in my Brazilian Feijoada. The soup is something I would love to try!

  2. AH

    your pictures are beautifullll

  3. Where has your pressure cooker been all of my life? Do you have more pressure cooker recipes? This one looks FANTASTIC!

    Did you know that you can brown the meat in your pressure cooker? You do need to do it in two batches but if cleaning less is more important than speed that is an option you might not have considered.

    What a great discovery on my great recipe hunt!


    hip pressure cooking
    making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

  4. Lindsey: Thanks! It`s my first time knowing about Feiojada and it looks rich!

    Edible Art: Thanks! Your pikachu and astroboy are way cuter, by the way :)

    Elle Pee: Hi, thanks for visiting! Yes, I sometimes brown the meat or saute the spices in the cooker, but I found that doing it on a shallow regular frying pan works better for me. The cooker`s a bit too deep for me to handle.
    I do have some recipes using pressure cooker here. You can check them out at "chicken" category.
    Btw, you have such a neat blog out there! Love the explanation about the cooker :)

  5. ah... my favorite! flo hates oxtail though (he only eats lean meat), but he made his mom cook oxtail soup for me for new year's eve dinner in austria LOL

  6. Now that is something I have never tried! You made such a hearty meal with this oxtail Arudhi!

  7. Iis: Wow!! Now I wonder how the Austrian versin looks like! Must be good!

    Katerina: Hi! Hope you are feeling well already :)

  8. Lovely post, these step by step details are so helpful...and the final result is glowing and enticing. Thanks for sharing, Arudhi!

  9. I love oxtail soup! Indonesians are so good with that. Too bad I have stopped eating beef since beginning of the month. Your soup is simply beautiful and looks really, really delicious! I love mine with sambal cabai rawit with kecap manis and emping. :)

  10. Hi Arudhi, salam kenal :)! This is also how I normally make oxtail soup...just had it sometime ago too:).

  11. Jun: Thanks! But, what about the beef? Are you on beefless diet or something?

    Cooking Gallery: Hi there, salam kenal juga :) Thanks for visiting! I guess my soup lacks of kacang merah to make it an official Indonesian oxtail soup, though ;)

  12. Arudhi

    Your oxtail soup looks nice. When I make soup with oxtail, I always discard first batch of water that the meats are boiled in. Two reason. It will cut down the fat dramatically, and it will remove the impurity out of the bones. The real flavor in the oxtail is actually in the bone marrow, which can be released from the long simmering.
    I love your addition of tomatoes. It just freshens up the soup. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Hi Holy! Thanks for the input! Yes, I do notice that people usually remove the fat excess (and I should have to), which is apparently quite a big deal due to the fat amount. I`m just not that patient for that step so I skip it. But I think I should write it up in the post. Thanks!

  14. Hi Arudhi! I'm still a dummy at cooking but this step by step of yours makes it looks so easy! My hubby is Japanese and his fav. Indonesian dish is sop buntut, he'll be shocked (hopefully in a good way) if I can make this at home! Thanks to you!

  15. Hi there, thanks for visiting! Go surprise your husband with the soup. Enjoy the cooking and I hope you two like it :)