We don’t always wait 24 hours until dinner is ready, but when we do, it is because of Oxtail Soup. The recipe is adapted from Chin Chin (thank you Mitch & Lauren for introducing this into our bellies). If you happen to be spending a rainy day indoors, tackle this rich recipe. It’s not the usual Clean Sink fare, as it takes quite a bit of ingredients and time, but it’s well worth the wait. It’s rich, creamy, salty, spicy, sweet, sour, and topped with crunchy fresh herbs.
The Components (a lot of them, deep breath in…)
2 pounds oxtail or other bone-in stew meat
1 cup kecap manis, or sweet soy (or just mix equal parts soy and brown sugar with a few chunks of ginger and a chili in a saucepan and simmer until reduced by half)
Marinate the oxtail in the above overnight. Wipe off excess sauce and sear on high heat to brown the meat before adding to the below Braising Liquid.
The Braising Liquid
3 cans coconut milk
3 stalks of lemongrass
2 large pieces of galangal (if you can’t find this ginger-like tuber, sub in ginger)
4 spicy chilies (scud or Serrano work well here)
½ cup fish sauce (plus more to taste)
½ palm sugar
½ red onion
4 cloves garlic
10 small dried chilies, roasted and crushed
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
Combine the above in a large pot and simmer for 1 hour. Before adding marinated oxtail.
The Chili Jam
5 thai chilies
4 yellow wax peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
1 stalk lemongrass (pale part only)
1 thumb size piece of ginger
3 cloves garlic
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
¼ cup fish sauce
Blend peppers, onion, lemongrass, ginger and garlic into a paste. Pan fry in oil until fragrant, then add sugar and caramelize. Add tamarind and fish sauce. You’ll add this in at the end along with the chicken stock, lime juice, and fish sauce to taste.
4 Cups Chicken Stock (you may use less, depending on how thick you want your soup)
The Herb Mix
2 Shallots, sliced thin and fried in oil until crispy
Handful of roasted, chopped peanuts
1 small bunch thai basil leaves
1 small bunch mint leaves
1 small bunch cilantro leaves
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
Mix the about together with lime juice and use to top dish. Serve extra alongside soup.
Lime juice, to taste
Extra Fish Sauce, to taste
1 packet cheong fun noodles (optional)
Add the marinated and browned oxtail to the braising liquid, cover, and simmer for 5-6 hours, or until meat falls off the bone. Remove the meat and strain/discard the rest of the solids in the braising liquid. Take the meat off the bones and return to the liquid. Return the liquid/meat to a simmer. Add to the pot ½ cup of the chili jam and 4 cups of chicken stock (or less – depending on how thick you want your soup). Add more fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Add noodles if you’re going that route. Top with herb mix.