Grindz of the Day: Home-Cooked Oxtail Soup

I haven’t been feeling good (healthwise) this past week, hence my absence posting anything here the last few days. Under this condition, Mom’s timing couldn’t have been better, as she just made a big pot of Oxtail Soup the other day, giving me some (actually quite a bit!) to take home to hopefully help nurse me back to wellness.

The oxtail soup recipe she follows and swears by is from the fantastic ‘Best of the Best Hawaii Recipes’ cookbook by Jean Watanabe Hee. There’s tons of onolicious-sounding local style dishes in that cookbook that I want to try make in the future, and will share with you as time permits.

While for copyright reasons, I can’t divulge the recipe to this Oxtail Soup in its entirety, I will say it’s so EASY to make, only requiring bouillon cubes, star anise, peanuts, ginger, oxtails and water. So easy, yet da’ buggah so ono! I’ll even go as far as saying better than the one I had at Asahi Grill (Kapiolani Coffee Shop).

This particular bowl I heated up has just 2 MASSIVE oxtails in it…

Yet that’s plenty beef for me. I like to fill the rest of the volume remaining in the bowl of oxtail soup broth with plenty of Kai Choy (mustard cabbage), (Sumida Farms) Watercress and Chinese Parsley. No scade, choke ’em. I don’t cook them down either. I prefer them crispy-green and fresh.

Here’ you can see how tender the oxtails meat is, just falling off the bone…

If there’s one thing undeniable is the unique character oxtails impart to this classic soup thanks to all that cartilage and marrow in and around the oxtail (steer) bone, which you can see in that photo above. It gives, the broth this deep, rich, slightly gelatinous and silky texture, having an almost medicinal quality to it. Especially when it’s piping hot.

Packing even more punch to this dish is when you dip the oxtail meat and veggies in the shoyu and grated ginger sauce…

I tell you, broke da’ mout.

Then what I like to do when I finish all the oxtails, is add plenty more watercress and chinese parsley to the remaining broth, for a refreshing and extra healthy, semi-vegetarian, quasi-oxtail soup…

Hmmm, yes, so refreshing and light, yet still rich and savory at the same time. I really love the peppery snap the watercress adds, rounding it out with the pungent character of the fresh sprigs of Cilantro leaves. Both of which really compliment the pieces of loose strands of beef remaining in there. The star anise adds an interesting licorice-like element to the broth’s flavor profile, yet not so much where it’s overpowering. Actually, I’d imagine this dish could easily be converted into and pass for as Pho if those types of ingredients were put into it.

In fact, I was given a tip to try Pho Bistro near Makaloa street, where they’re said to make a damned delicious Pho/Oxtail Soup dish. Will keep ya’ posted when I make it there.

Here’s another bowl of oxtail soup mom prepared the night I visited her…

You can see plenty Kai Choy (green mustard cabbage) in this one. She also put noodles in hers. Also notice the peanuts, which are cooked from raw in the soup. Good stuff.

Ah, mom’s/Jean Hee’s home-cooked Oxtail Soup hit da’ spot! I’m feeling better already.

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10 thoughts on “Grindz of the Day: Home-Cooked Oxtail Soup

  1. Making me hungry. Do you have a good recipe for oxtail stew? Should I just follow a good beef stew recipe and sub oxtails?

  2. Pomai, because my husband is Northern Chinese and Chinese Muslim I make it with tomato and carrots and celerys and ginger. Parley and green onion also when serving. Something with homemade Chinese style noodles or Chinese flat bread called nann. Dipping Sauce is soy sause and rice vinegar hot sauce and lot of garlic.

  3. Pomai, When I was in Asia like Beijing and Taiwan they served oxtail soup with tomato and other vegtables with cilantro and green onion. Yes it Chinese Muslim style not bad. They ask me noodle or bread with it. The Cantonese one is oxtails with peanuts ,cilantro which also not bad too.

    One thing for sure they loved McD ,KFC Mister Donut and Pizza Hut always packed there.

  4. mr_me, thanks for the tip. I’ll keep that in mind next time I make something from a cookbook. I’m pretty good at rewording and rephrasing. Even good at “doctoring” recipes. He he.

    Michael, with that said, the Oxtail Soup style most popular in the islands is definitely the Cantonese style, not the tomato-based Chinese Muslim style.

    As for fast food chains in China, we can thank McDonald’s in Beijing for the Taro Pie.

    Albany Jane, oh yes, I put PLENTY of Cilantro in my soup. Good for the blood and digestive system.

    Betty, see my reply to Michael. As for Naan, that flat bread is also a staple throughout the middle east. I’ll have to try that vinegar, hot sauce and garlic soy dipping sauce you mentioned. Sounds like it would work very well with this soup.

    Kobi206, mom has a killer Oxtail Stew recipe. I’ll get it for you a little later and post it here. Keep checking back.

    Kat, I’m feeling much better. Mahalo for the kind wishes. 🙂

    Nate, this must be the one…

    http://archives.starbulletin.com/96/10/02/features/story1.html

    Whoah, das’ plenty ingrediments fo’ buy. Too much. You really should try the one from Jean Hee’s cookbook. As said before, all you need is a couple different bouillon cubes, ginger, star anise, raw peanuts, oxtails and watah, and das’ it! I tell you, going broke’ yo’ mout’, guaranz ballbaranz!

  5. Jocelyn, sorry, I accidentally deleted your comment while doing some admin stuff, but did read what you said. I imagine you have your own favorite recipe, as I haven’t posted the one from the recipe book here. Knorr brand beef and chicken bouillon cubes is da’ trick!

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