Just wondering why the first cook of meat is boiled and drained (wouldn’t you want to keep that? is there a flavor reason for throwing out the water?) also, why cut the fat off? Isn’t the fat cook flavor? Ox tail is expensive in these parts, so I don’t want to mess it up, but I want to keep all the fat!!
Hi Aliina, when you parboil raw meat, as is called for in this recipe, you releasing things into the water that would otherwise cloud your stock. When you cook the meat for a longer period of time in the next step, the resulting stock is clear, and has a much cleaner taste.
As for cutting off the excess fat, I agree fat is flavor! That said, there is so much fat in oxtails, including marbled throughout the meat, you don’t need the excess. The oxtails will have plenty of flavor as it is.
Thank you so much for your receipe. I use it all the time I make oxtail soup. However, our town was out of raw peanuts for some reason. I was going to substitute roasted, unsalted peanuts as suggested in your receipe, but my friend told me that it will get very soft. She’s a really good cook so I just took her advice. She said to substitute raw blanched peanuts instead. You can find it in the Oriental section of the market. Thank you again.
I make this every new years for my kids ! I doubled it last year and it wasn’t enough! Gonna quadruple it this year! My boys use ladles for spoons! Wish me luck!
Great recipe…just add shiitake mushrooms to take it over the top!
When is the ideal time to add the shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitakes cook rather quickly, so I would add them in step 5, a few minutes before the mustard greens.
I greatly appreciate your prompt response! Thank you, Elise! It’s on the stove now as I type this. Excited for when it’s ready to eat!
This is a Chinese recipe in origin, although there are many different regional variations I’m sure in China. We are Cantonese from Taishan and this is how our family cooked it, minus the cilantro garnish and prefering black eyed peas to peanuts. The peanuts do not contribute taste, its used like a bean and very nutritious.
The key ingredients are ginger and dried tangerine peel (need very little), then garnished with green onions, —cilantro is a nice touch, but the kids hate it. I will sometimes drop in a couple of red dates and a couple of dried shiitakes and a can of chicken broth. We like more meaty flavor so we use less liquid.
We dip the meat in soy sauce before biting in and eat the soup with rice…..got some on the stove right now. It’s 10F outside now and I just shoveled the snow. Can’t wait till dinner :)
Ox Tail Soup/stew…My late mom, always made oxtail stew..I was born & raised on Maui..and this was , to us, a way of life..Your recipe is wonderful and uses just about everything we would use..Huge Mahalo for sharing this with all of us!! I shall make some this weekend.
If I can master this dish, It’ll always feel like home! I’ve always loved oxtail soup. For a more “local kine” experience, add saimin noodles to the soup… so good… Thanks for the recipe!
I have made oxtail soup for years. Learned from my grandmother who was german. We used it to make a beefy soup with barely. The oxtail meat taste much sweeter to me. We browned them in a stockpot, then added onion, celery, salt, pepper and a bay leaf. Let it simmer for 3 hours and then drained it. Then a can of diced tomatoes was added along with partially cooked barley. Home made bread topped it off! So warming on a cold winter day!!!
Oh I forgot that we had boned the oxtail for the meat in the soup
I love oxtail. Usually I make the Indonesian oxtail soup and enjoy it with green chilies sambal & rice. Now, I have the recipe of the Hawaiian version. Thank you!
PS: I do like the Caribbean oxtail stew as well but never make it by myself.
Thanks Elise – I will try your recipe for oxtail next time, for a more spicy result. Even if I keep the other ingredients simple for slow cooking oxtail or lamb shanks or brisket of beef, I try to include a long strip of citrus zest straight from the fruitbowl – it just cuts through the fat and heightens the flavour development, I find. I have just included this tip in my first ever paid blogpost as a copywriter (just recovering from long term illness). Slow cooking is so simple, and perfect right now here in the UK as the snow has arrived, but many people have lost the skill of using cheap but tasty cuts of meat for slow and delicious recipes. Great blog. Always great recipes.Thanks! Helen
Wow, thanks for the recipe! I grew up on Oahu and I always wondered how to make the popular oxtail soup at restaurants like Zippy’s and Kapiolani Coffee Shop. This recipe is pretty close in flavor to the restaurant versions minus the pepper flakes, although I’ll use less salt next time. I didn’t add any peanuts because I always thought it was pointless, they’re so soft and their flavor is masked by the broth and everything else going on. This oxtail soup was great with shiitake mushrooms and bok choy (my family cannot handle any mustard/spicy type greens ^_^).
Hi Elise, Just made your oxtail soup recipe today, and it was amazing! Reminded me of my favorite bowl at the Forty Niner Restaurant in Aiea. Thanks for the great recipe! Mahalo!
Just made the Oxtail Soup tonite, and it was delicious~! The flavor was very Asian and as a Chinese I just love the star anise taste….I sure will try lemongrass as suggested by another poster for another flavor….
The benefit of dried citrus peel is mostly in the storage. The assumption is that you’ll save the peel of any citrus you eat the flesh of and when it dries it becomes shelf stable and can be kept for later use. That’s why I find jars of citrus peel so odd. Dried spices I understand, I’m no green thumb and it’d be silly to buy herbs just to dry them but for citrus peel all you need to do is not throw them away or let them mold.
Thanks Elise for such a great recipe! We made it twice now!
Made it and loved it. I used fresh orange zest and kale as that was what I had and it worked out just fine.
My dreams came true this holiday, and I finally got a dutch oven. The first recipe that I tried in it was this one, and it made my house smell so mmm mmm goooooood.
For the dried orange peel, we used “guo pei” which is dried orange/citrus peel that you can buy at Chinese grocery stores. We added a couple whole cloves to the initial broth (per my sister’s suggestion to make it more Chinese-y). And at the end, we added in roughly chopped daikon (in addition to the greens).
I can’t wait to make it again!
I want to try this, but how would one make it in the crockpot/slow cooker? Just throw it all in after parboiling and removing excess fat? Thanks!
Yes, I think that’s how I would do it if using a slow cooker. ~Elise
Mm, I love oxtail soup. This is similar to the version my Indonesian grandma used to make. It’s great with a dash of vinegar at the end as well.
Thanks for the recipe, Elise. I made this, starting yesterday, and ate it today. I am not sure what I did wrong or if I was expecting something different, but it just wasn’t as flavorful as I thought it would be. I also thought the oxtails were difficult to work with – I’m a pretty experienced home cook but apparently not with oxtail. I am definitely interested in ordering this next time I’m in HI to see how the locals do it.The oxtails did make a nice gelatinous broth, which would be a great base for other soups.I was able to make the dried orange peel pretty easily – just thinly peeled some navel oranges, set my toaster oven on 200 convection. They were ready in about 30 minutes.
Hi Shannon, you may need to add more salt. Also this soup isn’t nearly as strongly flavored as traditional oxtail stew. Much of the flavor is going to come from the add-ins like the the ginger and star anise. ~Elise
Mmmm, being from Hawaii I grew up on oxtail soup. It was one of my favorite menu items at Zippy’s (kind of a Hawaiian Dennys but better) and I crave it when the weather turns cold here in Washington. Thanks for sharing this I’ll definitely give it a try!
I love this! Especially how you titled it ‘Hawaiian’ Ox Tail Soup. I was born and raised in Hawaii and this is one of my grandmothers favorites. She is Hawaiian Filipino and like most of the local dishes you never know where they came from, lol Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino it’s all yummy. One of my favorite dishes is pastele and that’s A Traditional Puerto Rican Dish.
I will definitely be a nice surprise to make this for my grandmother.
I realize that a lot of people like to lump all Asians together and typically can’t tell them apart, nor their food. But actually, this is a Chinese dish in origin, guy choy (a type of mustard green), red dates, dried orange peels (which is actually tangerines, not oranges, not ever), the use of peanuts as legumes, the combination of fresh “Chinese” parsley, ginger and green onions are Chinese flavours.
This is a family dish eaten at home and never at restaurants except in Hawaii…at least I can confirm this in North America. I’m not Hawaiian, but I’ve been eating this for almost 50 years, I had this when my grandmother made this, then my father-in-law when I married, and outside of the references to “Hawaiian oxtail” I’ve not seen one published recipe for this dish. But a lot of food of Hawaii is about soul food, and I am certain this dish is brought by the Chinese migrant workers of the sugar plantations, and oxtail was considered cheap organ meat, not like the expensive meat used to feed the haole.
My mother always saved the tangerine peels and dried them for use in soups such as this. I believe the chinese oranges are more like tangerines than the oranges here in the USA. Like the lemons, the chinese lemons are more like meyer lemons than the regular lemons we are used to.
Good suggestion on the tangerine peels, as they have much less bitter pith than our standard navel oranges. Thanks! ~Elise
My Cantonese grandmother often made oxtail soup for the family. She removed the oxtails and served the broth first, then we’d dip the meat in a little soy sauce and eat it with rice.
You can find dried orange peel pretty easily if you have an Asian supermarket near you. It’s usually in the snack and candy aisle.
Thanks so much for this recipe! Honolulu is my hometown, although I’ve never made oxtail soup until your post. I made it tonight and it was delicious- perfect for our blustery, Hawaiian winter weather tonight. I’ll be making this again and again.
We love oxtail stew in our family. Our Asian supermarket has whole oxtails in the display case. I choose one and the butcher saws it up for me. If there is an Asian market near you, go check it out. :-)
I believe it has Chinese origins and as you know Hawaii is a melting pot of Asian and Polynesian cuisine. It is not something you’d find at a tourist spot but the local “coffee shops” usually offer it.
This sounds very tasty. We also have a soup called cosido.We use the oxtail & beef shank, the difference is we mix it with squash,carrots,celery, corn onions,& cilantro it’s also very tasty. It’s traditional in Mexico.
Yes, in the islands everyone has their favorite restaurant when it comes to Oxtail soup – my father-in-law would only eat it at LikeLike Drive in. My cousin who is a retired Honolulu Fireman (and we all know how good the firemen cook) makes the best Oxtail Soup you can imagine. In addition to browning the oxtail in a pan first, he adds to the soup: shiitake mushroom and other mushrooms, dried red date, shredded bamboo shoots, fresh sliced lotus root, baby corn….and of course the raw peanuts, star anise and orange peel. The large amount of ginger is crucial! He also adds oyster sauce and a couple shots of whiskey to the broth.He sets out many garnishes – mustard cabbage, sliced par boiled baby bok choy, cilantro, extra ginger, green onion….It is a party in your mouth!! And if you’re ever in Vegas – the California Hotel downtown has an upstairs restaurant that serves the best Oxtail Soup outside of Hawaii!
Great ideas, thanks Kate! ~Elise
I love oxtail soup. I’ve never tried Orange peel nor peanuts with it. Very interesting. I typically serve mine over noodles (like Pho). I will have to try this version (perhaps this weekend as it’s COLD in so. Cal) minus the peanuts. Delish! Thanks for sharing.
We dont have mustard greens here in South africa. What could I use instead?
Try arugula, also known as rocket. ~Elise
Would this recipe work without the peanuts? I’m allergic to them and am always looking for recipes to try.
Yes, you could easily make the soup without the peanuts. ~Elise
Oxtails are regularly stocked at the Publix stores here in the south. I’ve been wanted to try them, thanks for the great recipe!
These ono grinds fo broke da mouth!
I have eaten this tasty soup all of my life. Thanks so much for the recipe! I have always gone to Tip Top Bakery in Lihue for my oxtail soup fix but now… now, I can make it in my mainland home (in my freezing kitchen in San Francisco).
This sounds delicious! I’ll be making this over the weekend. The peanuts make me think of a Filipino dish called Kare Kare. I used to beg my mom to make it whenever I’d come home to visit. Any fan of ox tail soups/stews should check it out!
I grew up in Hawaii and oxtail soup is definitely and island favorite. I love to add peanuts as a garnish as well. Thanks for the recipe.
Have you looked at the carnicerias for oxtails? They’ve usually got beautiful meat, and at a decent price. i can always find oxtails there when I need a fix.
the blissful baker:
This reminds me of my mom’s oxtail soup as well. Of course, hers uses lemongrass rather than orange peel. :)
Hi Elise, I often use dried orange peel. It is terrific in tomato recipes like ratatouille or chicken casseroles with tomato bases .
To get a good supply peel an orange with a potato peeler to get thin strips. Place in oven , low heat , fan bake setting for about 30 mins or until slightly crisp. Do keep an eye on it as it can burn . I usually store it in a sealed plastic container in the freezer .Love your site here in New Zealand
Thanks for the tip! ~Elise
mmm this is such a unique dish, and what an great combination of flavors! this reminds me of the korean version of oxtail soup that my mom makes all the time.it’s super simple – just oxtails, onion, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper. it’s delicious!
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