Asian style ox tail Soup with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper (gluten free)

Asian style ox tail soup with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper

When I attended university in the late 80s, I had the good fortune of studying alongside with a diverse group of Asian kids, many became my friends for life. They exposed me to a large range of comfort food from all over Asian, such as Malaysian hawker dishes and Indonesian desserts.

One of my favorite dishes I learned from my friends was the aromatic Indonesian ox tail soup – a scrumptious bone broth with vegetables, spiced with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Its flavors were enhanced by fried shallots and fresh herbs.  I often crave for it on rainy days. Unfortunately, we don’t have an Indonesian restaurant nearby.  So I have to cook my own.

We can use a pressure cooker for this soup (40 minutes) or a stock pot (slow cook for 5 hours). I like using the stock pot as I can make a huge pot to enjoy over a few days.

I love having this hot soup with some warm rice – really satisfying.

Asian style ox tail Soup with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper (gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:


  • Approximately  1.5kg oxtail
  • 1 stalk of celery, white part, sliced
  • 2 medium size onions, diced
  • 2-3 medium size potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp of fried shallot
  • 2-3 stalks of fresh green shallot (scallion), white part only
  • 10-20g of fresh coriander

To add to the soup later:

  • 2 small tomato, cut to 4-8 pieces each
  • 2-3 cup of common cabbage, sliced
  • green shallot / scallion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce for seasoning (use a gluten free soy sauce for a GF option)
  • salt and white pepper to taste


  • Bring the oxtails to boil in a large pot of water for 5 minutes; drain and discard the water; wash the oxtails briefly under running water to clean.
  • Return the oxtails to the large pot, put in all the remaining ingredients (except for soy sauce and ‘ingredients to add to the soup later’). Top with water to cover all ingredients, plus 1-2 inches extra water. Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low, simmer for about 5 hours or until the oxtails are tender.  We don’t want to over cook the oxtail – ideally the meat and bone are still intact.
  • Filter the soup using a sieve to remove all small bits, put aside the oxtails;
  • Return the soup to a clean pot, bring to a slow boil, add tomato and cabbage and cook briefly; season with soy sauce, salt and white pepper.
  • To serve, spoon some soup in a bowl, add 1 or 2 oxtails, a few pieces of tomato and some cabbage; garnish with sliced green shallot.
  • Serve hot with a bowl of boiled rice.
Ingredients : Asian oxtail soup
Ingredients : Asian oxtail soup


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