Oxtail Soup, Sop Buntut

Indonesian Oxtail Soup, Sop Buntut

Mr. KC loves Sop Buntut, Indonesian oxtail soup. When he traveled to Indonesia, he would start every meal with oxtail soup. Back home, he would talk about this wonderful soup and express a wish to have some.

I don’t know why I balked at making oxtail soup. After all, I could find a recipe easily in one of my cookery books or online. I think it was the fear of not meeting his expectations. Too stressful. I didn’t want to watch anxiously while he tasted it and wait anxiously for his verdict. I didn’t want to hear, “good, but not quite like …”

For years, I used Mad Cow Disease as the excuse for not eating oxtails. Too dangerous. The prions, you know. Can’t take the chance.

Then I relented and bought a package of oxtails. Mr. KC was so keen he googled and found the recipe for me . He even printed the recipe and asked if I had all the ingredients.

This is a big first for him. He doesn’t take any interest in cooking. So I made the soup, more or less, according to the recipe. He was very pleased.

I didn’t ask for his verdict. After all, comparisons are so odious, aren’t they? He had Sop Buntut every day until he finished the potful of soup so it must have been quite good.


A knob of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a cleaver
2 lbs of oxtail, chopped
3 cloves
2 whole nutmegs
6 cups of cold water
Vegetable oil
One large leek, bottom white part only, thickly sliced
One large carrot, peeled and cut into cubes
2 tomatoes, chopped into cubes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2-3 stalks of Chinese celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: Crispy fried shallots and 2-3 stalks of Chinese celery with leaves, coarsely chopped


  1. Put the ginger and water in a soup pot. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the oxtail and scald uncovered for 3 minutes.
  3. Drain, discard the water and ginger.
  4. Wash the oxtail in cold water to remove the bits of scum.
  5. Scrub the pot clean, and add the oxtail, cloves and nutmeg.
  6. Add the cold water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer, for about an hour and a half, until the meat is tender.
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the leek and carrot. Stir-fry over medium heat until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Add the leek, carrot, potatoes, tomatoes, salt and pepper to the soup.
  9. Bring the soup back to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
  10. Serve in individual serving bowls garnished with Chinese celery and crispy fried shallots

Sop Buntut is not the thick, oxtail soup usually eaten in the winter time in North America. The Indonesian version is light and spicy and very delicious.

I have been won over! I have overcome my fear of Sop Buntut and will make it again. Do try it. I’m sure you’ll love it too!

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