Sop Buntut - Indonesia's Famous Oxtail Soup Recipe

Sop Buntut – Indonesia’s Famous Oxtail Soup Recipe

Sop Buntut - Indonesia's Famous Oxtail Soup Recipe

The title says it all. It is a soup with Oxtail as its main ingredient. Although many believed that oxtail soup was invented in London in the seventeenth century but this Indonesian version of oxtail soup is popular as ever. It is a healthy and hearty soup loved by many people. The oxtail is usually fried or barbecued and combined with a soup base. Very tasty and yummy.

Sop buntut is a clear soup, the oxtail simmered in broth with carrots and potatoes, and with a salty and lightly peppery broth with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon to remove any gamey taste. Just like other Indonesian soups, you eat sop buntut accompanied by a plate of rice and condiment it with fresh chopped chilies and kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce).

Sop Buntut – Indonesian Oxtail Soup Recipe

Cuisine: Indonesian
Yields: 8 servings
Calories: 340 calories
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total: 4 hours
Keywords: beef, rice


  • 1 kilogram (2 lb) oxtail (Indonesian: buntut sapi)
  • 2 1/2 liter (10 cup) water
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick (Indonesian: kayu manis)
  • 5 cloves (Indonesian: cengkeh)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (Indonesian: bubuk pala)
  • 250 gram (1/2 lb) carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 250 gram (1/2 lb) potato, peeled and cut into 8 wedges per potato
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 100 gram (3.5 oz) shallots (for spice paste)
  • 5 cloves garlic (for spice paste)
  • 1 inch ginger (for spice paste)
  • 1/2 large onion (150 gram/5 oz) (for spice paste)
  • 1 tomato, cut into small slices (for garnish)
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced (for garnish)
  • 2 Chinese celery thinly sliced (for garnish)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (for garnish)
  • deep-fried shallot flakes (for garnish)
  • 4 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (for chili sauce)
  • 4 bird-eye chilies seeded and thinly sliced (for chili sauce)

How to Cook

  1. Boil oxtails and water in a soup pot, then simmer until the meat is tender. This usually takes about 2 hours. If you have a pressure cooker, you can reduce the cooking time considerably to a mere 30 minutes. Remove oxtails from the stock and set aside. Strain the stock to get a clear broth. Return the broth and oxtails back to the pot.
  2. In a frying pan, heat oil and sauté spice paste, cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg until fragrant. About 5 minutes. Add this to the pot with broth and oxtails.
  3. Bring the oxtail and broth back to a boil. Add carrot and potato and season with salt, sugar, and ground white pepper. Reduce heat and cook until carrot and potato are cooked and tender, but still quite firm. About 20 minutes. Adjust salt and sugar as needed.
  4. Turn off heat, serve the soup with slices of tomato, scallion, and Chinese celery. Sprinkle the soup with some deep-fried shallot flakes. The soup is best eaten when still piping hot with a bowl of steamed white rice accompanied with the chili sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.

How do I serve sop buntut?

I usually serve sop buntut in individual soup bowls, with all the garnish, accompaniments, and the chili sauce laid out on the dining table. That way, everyone gets to customize their soup with their favorite garnishes. The soup is almost always served with steamed white rice.

Storing and reheating the soup

This soup tastes great days or even weeks after you cook it. If you plan to finish your soup within 1 week, store the leftover in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge.

If you make like a really big batch, you can store the leftover in an airtight freezer-safe container, and freeze the soup.

To reheat, you can place the soup (simply chilled or completely frozen) in a soup pot and heat on medium until the soup boils. It will taste exactly like the day you make it.

Another sop buntut varation with grilled oxtail

Lately there seems to be numerous places offering sop buntut bakar (grilled oxtail soup). These places claimed that they grilled the oxtail first, presumably with some spices, and made the soup from the grilled oxtail.

If you own a grill, you can give it a try. I wouldn’t be surprised if the taste is indeed superior to the traditional one, after all, it is no secret that broth made from grilled meat should be better than un-grilled one, right?

You can replicate the famous sop buntut bakar at home like these:

  1. Cook the soup following the above recipe.
  2. Right before serving, heat up your grill and grill the oxtails so the fat crisp up.
  3. Then return the grilled oxtails to the soup and serve as usual.