This is my version of Indonesian sop buntot, a deeply comforting oxtail and vegetable soup. Rich in collagen and filled with complex flavors, I always serve this with steamed rice and extra sliced tomatoes, fish sauce, shallot flakes (or French-fried onions), and lime wedges on the side.


Recipe Summary

45 mins
5 hrs 30 mins
6 hrs 15 mins


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine shallots, 2 onion quarters, ginger, and garlic in a food processor; pulse into a paste.

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cook and stir cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shallot paste and fry until fragrant and slightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add oxtails; cook and stir until browned, about 5 minutes.

  • Stir remaining onion quarters, celery, and 2 carrots into the pot. Pour in enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until oxtail is tender, about 5 hours.

  • Stir potatoes, 3 carrots, salt, and black pepper into the pot. Increase heat and simmer soup until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Add sugar and fish sauce; stir well to combine.

  • Ladle soup into large serving bowls; top with tomato wedges and French-fried onions.


Instead of using a food processor, you can make the shallot paste with a mortar and pestle or mince everything finely.

Substitute vegetable oil for the canola oil if desired.

You can cook the spices and shallot paste in a small saucepan, then place everything in a slow cooker, cover with water, and cook for the same amount of time.

Nutrition Facts

520 calories; protein 38.2g; carbohydrates 34.6g; fat 25.9g; cholesterol 124.8mg; sodium 1217mg. Full Nutrition