Malaysian Oxtail Soup

Braised Beef Shin
June 3, 2007
Honey Lemon Chicken Wings
August 10, 2007

Last night, was one night to remember, dinner at one of ‘Kuala Lumpur’s well-sought-after’ home bakers’ home. Food was deliciously wonderful and company was ex-ordinarily interesting. All guests were from very different walks of life with something in common ‘the love of FOOD’.

A lovely bunch of interesting new friends have just evolved right in front of my eyes and not to forget those I have met earlier this year. Last night was for keeps!

I have my eyes on beef recently, and soupy stuff seems to appeal real well. Got myself some fresh oxtail and here goes my local oxtail soup recipe.


3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
600 gm oxtail (cleaned, fats cut off, chopped into bite-size pieces)
3 medium size potatoes (peeled, whole)
2 small carrots (peeled, cut into chunks)
2 stalks of celery (cut into chunks)

Spices to be grounded into paste

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 cm ginger

1 tsp powdered coriander
1 tsp powdered cumin
1 tsp powdered fennel

  • Whole spices
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black peppercorns

3 Tbsp tomato paste
1.5 litre filtered hot water
sea salt
a small bunch of coriander leaves (chopped roughly)


  1. Heat a pan, drizzle with oil and brown the oxtail. Drain and set aside.
  2. Saute the spice paste, whole spices and spice powder until fragrant and add in tomato paste. Add a few Tbsp of water to stir the paste.
  3. Transfer the paste into a soup pot, add oxtail and filtered water and bring to boil.
  4. Turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour then add in the vegetables and continue to simmer for another hour or until oxtail is tender.
  5. Add sea salt to taste and garnish with coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot.

Note : For a stronger spice soup, add 2 more cardamoms, 5 more cloves and an additional star anise to the soup. Soup can also be garnished with crispy fried shallots and chopped chili padi.


  1. Uncle Pauly says:

    Your recipe for Malaysian Oxtail Soup Is there a substitute for cardamom. It is very hard to find, and there seem to be different kinds of cardamom – which one to use? Where can I find it. I went to H Mart and when I called they said they had it, when I went there no one knew what cardamom was. If they do not know who does?

    • Audrey Cooks says:

      Uncle Pauly, cardamom is a popular spice in asian and middle eastern cooking. It has a distinct sharp smell. Wherever you live, my best advice is to find an Indian shop that sells spices, you will surely find cardamom. If you can’t, just omit it. Should still taste good 🙂 Happy cooking.

  2. keen f says:

    An excellent recipe! Especially easy to cook as well (provided you already have the ingredients pre-hand, of course). Let me just add, however, that I think 2 hours for cooking oxtail is a bit short – I generally cook oxtail overnight in a “thermos” pot; that way the meat is literally melting off the bones (yum!). I also added twice the amount of pepper, 2 tsp of salt and boiled the soup until the total volume was about 750mls – the intense flavour which resulted was very similar to what I used to eat back home in Malaysia (sup ekor kambing); well, ok, back home it was generally less peppery but that’s just the way I like it.

    Two thumbs up!

  3. Fred Gan says:

    Hi Audrey
    Thanks for putting up your Malaysian Oxtail Soup recipe. I must confess I haven’t tried it as yet but I’m pretty sure I will soon. Actually, I have been scouring the web for an oxtail soup recipe that is typical of the Victoria Station or The Ship genre. They call theirs ‘Indonesian style’ but the Indonesian styled recipes that I encounter online are quite watery or clear. The Victoria Station/The Ship type is brothy, peppery, viscous and quite spicy. From the image of the recipe you provided it would appear that yours is somewhere in between the clear and the thick type. Which is very interesting and why I must give it a go soon. I wonder if you have any input on how to make the soup thick and gravy-like. Thanks. Fred from Adelaide, South Australia.

  4. Jules says:

    Tried your recipe last night – it was amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. This really brings back memories of my childhood. Just wondering if you’ve tried this with adding some tumeric?

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