javanese oxtail soup

Our honeymoon in Bali may have been close to six years ago, but I still vividly recall savouring Javanese Oxtail Soup (Sop Buntut) each morning on the balcony of our suite, overlooking the tranquil expanse of paddy fields that lay below. While my take on the soup isn’t an exact replica, it has the same deep savoury note from the tender slow-cooked meat, sweetness imparted by the vegetables and a subtle warmth from the cloves, nutmeg and white peppercorns. A final sprinkle of crispy fried shallots is an essential addition, providing both flavour and texture. This soothing clear broth is just as satisfying in the dead of winter as it is on a balmy summer day (Indonesia is in the tropics after all). Serve it on it’s own as a light meal or starter, or eat it like the Balinese do – with a bowl of steamed rice and some spicy sambal.

Javanese Oxtail Soup (Sop Buntut)
serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main

800g – 1kg (2lb) oxtail pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 thick slices of ginger, bashed
2 spring onions, whites only, bashed
1/2 whole nutmeg, cracked
1 tsp white peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
15 cloves

soup base:
2 carrots, cut into thirds
1 stalk of celery, cut into thirds
2 leeks, whites only, cut into thirds
1/2 whole nutmeg, cracked
1 tsp white peppercorns

1 carrot, finely cubed
1 stalk of celery, finely cubed
1 small potato, finely cubed
handful of celery leaves, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and finely cubed
2 spring onions, green part only, finely sliced
1 green chilli, deseeded and sliced (optional)
1 tsp light soy sauce

1-2 shallots, thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan and sizzle the ginger and spring onions. Once fragrant, add the oxtail pieces and brown on all sides. Once sealed pour over water to cover and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain the oxtail and refresh under cold water. Discard the ginger and spring onion.

Place the soup base ingredients in the stockpot and fill with 2 litres (8 cups) of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove all the vegetables and spices to leave a clear stock. Place in the oxtail, salt, clove and new nutmeg and peppercorns (you may wish to wrap the spices up in muslin for easy removal later). Bring the stock to a boil then turn down to a low, cover, then leave to gently simmer for 2-3 hours.

Once the oxtail is tender, remove from the heat and spoon off the oil on the surface. Add in the all remaining ingredients, except for the chilli, shallots and oil. Put back on the fire and continue to simmer, uncovered for 30-45 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan and fry the shallots until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Once ready to serve, remove the nutmeg and cloves, stir in the sliced green chillies (if using) and season to taste. Place some oxtail in each serving bowl and ladle over the soup. Sprinkle over the crispy shallots and serve.

~ by gourmettraveller on June 15, 2010.

7 Responses to “javanese oxtail soup”

  1. Yet, looks so light and refreshing from the look of the broth. Must definitely try one of these days!

  2. HOW AMAZING! This looks so yummy and refreshing, quite unlike any oxtail soup I’ve had before. This is certainly a winner. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Looks like a wonderful soup:)

  4. The soup looks so light and delicious. What a wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Lovely. Although oxtail is such a rib-sticking cut of meat usually, it looks light and summery here.

  6. My favourite soup that is similar to this one is the Malay Sup Ekor or the goat/ mutton version – Sup Kambing. It’s warming an spicy, total comfort food.

  7. yummy.. i’m a indonesian citizen. so, you like indonesian food. i’m new in here.. thank for loving indonesian food.

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