Sop Buntut is one of those favorite Indonesian dishes of mine, which I have never tried to cook before. Now that I have this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to to try cooking Indonesian dishes. I lived for a very short time in Jakarta years ago and experienced real culture shock soon as I stepped out of the plane. Even if I was in still in Asia, things were so vastly different from the Philippines. The sights, the smells, the food….ohhh the food.
Several countries, have their own version of an oxtail dish. Most of them are heavy, rich stews. I’ve tried the South African Oxtail Potjie which my mother learned from a friend. The Italians have several versions. Then of course, there’s the Philippine Kare-kare, another rich stew with vegetables and a ground, toasted rice and peanut sauce. Sop Buntut is different in many ways, it’s a soup and not a stew for one thing. And it has aromatic spices like nutmeg and cloves that gives it different layers of flavor.
Years have passed since I last had this dish, years that stretch to more than a decade, truth be told. The last time I was in Indonesia, the internet had not taken off and I never got myself an Indonesian cookbook, hence the years passed and I never tried cooking anything Indonesian. I got this recipe off an Indonesian woman’s website and I hope to try the other recipes she has there. The recipes are in Bahasa Indonesia so I had to wrack my brains to translate the recipe. For some strange reason, I was still familiar with the Indonesian ingredients and cooking terms. I think I got it right, the tastes and smells of my dinner brought me back to Jakarta.
Start by boiling about 1.3 lbs. cut-up oxtail with a couple slivers of ginger root, salt and about 5 black peppercorns in enough water to cover the meat. I pressure cooked my oxtail for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat after the cooker was ready. Transfer everything to a bowl. At this point, you can refrigerate the meat and broth, then easily take out the hardened fat that will settle on top.
Using the same pot, saute 2 cloves of crushed garlic in a tablespoon of margarine till almost golden. Add 1 chopped onion and cook till translucent. Return oxtail and broth to the pan. Add a teaspoon each of nutmeg and cloves, about a quart of water, quartered red potatoes (leave skin on) and sliced carrots. Allow to simmer until potatoes are tender. Throw in some sliced celery with leaves, a diced tomato and chopped green onions and bring it back to a boil. Adjust seasonings.
Turn off heat immediately so your celery is still crunchy and the tomatoes still discernible. Serve in bowls and top with crisp-fried onions.