How to make Soup Buntut (Javanese Oxtail Soup)

If you’re looking to try a traditional Indonesian dish, look no further than Soup Buntut, also known as Javanese Oxtail Soup. This rich and flavorful soup is a popular comfort food in Indonesia and is perfect for a hearty meal. Made with oxtail, vegetables, and fragrant spices, this dish is a true Indonesian delight.

To make Soup Buntut, you’ll need a few key ingredients such as oxtail, carrots, potatoes, and spices like garlic, shallots, and ginger. The oxtail is the star of the dish, providing a deliciously meaty flavor and tender texture. The vegetables add freshness and vibrant colors to the soup.

To start, first, you’ll need to boil the oxtail in a large pot of water until tender. This can take a few hours, so be patient! While the oxtail is boiling, you can prepare the spices by sautéing garlic, shallots, and ginger in a separate pan. Once the oxtail is tender, add the sautéed spices to the pot along with carrots and potatoes.

  • Prepare the oxtail by boiling it in water until tender
  • Sauté garlic, shallots, and ginger in a separate pan
  • Add sautéed spices, carrots, and potatoes to the pot

Let the soup simmer for another hour or so until the flavors meld together. The oxtail should be incredibly tender and flavorful. You can serve Soup Buntut hot with a side of steamed rice or crusty bread. The soup is often garnished with fried shallots and chopped scallions for an added crunch and freshness.

Ingredients: Instructions:
Oxtail Boil oxtail until tender
Garlic Sauté garlic, shallots, and ginger
Shallots Sauté garlic, shallots, and ginger
Ginger Sauté garlic, shallots, and ginger
Carrots Add sautéed spices, carrots, and potatoes to the pot
Potatoes Add sautéed spices, carrots, and potatoes to the pot

Ingredients for Soup Buntut

In order to make a delicious and authentic Soup Buntut, you will need to gather the following ingredients:

  • Oxtail: This is the main ingredient of the soup and provides the rich and meaty flavor. Make sure to get fresh oxtail from the butcher.
  • Beef Bones: Adding beef bones to the soup will enhance the flavor and create a rich broth. You can use a combination of oxtail and beef bones to achieve a more flavorful soup.
  • Vegetables: Some of the key vegetables used in Soup Buntut include carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. These add a nice texture and color to the soup.
  • Spices and Herbs: To give the soup its signature taste, you will need garlic, shallots, bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. These ingredients provide a fragrant and aromatic touch to the soup.
  • Soy Sauce: Adding soy sauce will provide a savory and umami flavor to the soup.
  • Lime Juice: A squeeze of lime juice at the end of cooking will help balance the flavors and give a tangy kick to the soup.
  • Salt and Pepper: These basic seasonings are essential for enhancing the overall taste of the soup.

By gathering these ingredients, you will be ready to create a delicious and hearty bowl of Soup Buntut that will leave your taste buds satisfied. Make sure to follow the recipe accurately and give yourself enough time for the oxtail to cook and tenderize.



  • 2 lbs of oxtail
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot and sauté until they are fragrant and golden brown.
  3. Add the oxtail to the pot and cook until it is browned on all sides.
  4. Add enough water to cover the oxtail, then add the bruised lemongrass, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 2-3 hours, or until the oxtail is tender.
  6. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
  7. Add the chopped carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and celery to the pot and continue simmering until the vegetables are cooked.
  8. Once the soup is done, remove the oxtail and shred the meat from the bones. Set the meat aside.
  9. Discard the lemongrass and bay leaves.
  10. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  11. Return the shredded oxtail meat to the pot and stir well.
  12. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  13. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Now your delicious Soup Buntut is ready to be served! Garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro or fried shallots if desired. Enjoy this comforting and flavorful Indonesian dish!

Tips and Variations for Soup Buntut



  • Choose fresh oxtail: When making Soup Buntut, it is important to choose fresh oxtail to ensure the best flavor and tenderness. Look for cuts of oxtail that are bright in color, with no bad odors or discoloration.
  • Marinate the oxtail: Before cooking the oxtail, marinating it for at least an hour with a mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic can help enhance the flavor.
  • Skim the broth: While simmering the oxtail, it is important to regularly skim any impurities or foam that rises to the surface. This will result in a clearer and cleaner broth.
  • Add vegetables: To make the soup more nutritious and flavorful, you can add various vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and celery. These vegetables will add a hint of sweetness and provide additional texture to the soup.
  • Adjust seasoning: Taste the soup before serving and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. You can add more salt, pepper, or other seasonings such as soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce to enhance the flavor.



While Soup Buntut traditionally uses oxtail as the main ingredient, there are variations that you can try to make the soup even more interesting:

  1. Spicy Soup Buntut: If you enjoy spicy food, you can add chili peppers or chili flakes to the broth to give it a kick. The spiciness will add a new dimension of flavor to the soup.
  2. Herb-infused Soup Buntut: Experiment with adding herbs such as bay leaves, thyme, or rosemary to the broth. These herbs will impart a fragrant aroma and depth of flavor to the soup.
  3. Asian-inspired Soup Buntut: Add Asian spices and ingredients such as ginger, lemongrass, and star anise to give the soup a unique and aromatic twist.
  4. Coconut Milk-based Soup Buntut: For a creamy and rich version of Soup Buntut, you can add coconut milk to the broth. The coconut milk will add a smooth and velvety texture to the soup.

With these tips and variations, you can create a delicious and personalized version of Soup Buntut that suits your taste preferences. Explore different flavors and ingredients to make this traditional Javanese dish your own.

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