Black Beef Soup

Origin: East Java
Source: My Grandmother


  • 500 g beef, brisket or silverside, diced
  • 2 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, bruished
  • 2 cm galangale, bruished
  • 5 pc kaffir-lime leaves
  • 2 pc spring onions, chopped
  • pepper (to taste)
  • palm sugar (to taste)
  • salt
  • 2 l water

Spice for the paste

  • 10 pc asian shallots or french shallots, chopped
  • 3 gloves garlic, choppe
  • 5 pc candlenuts, roughly chopped or crashed
  • 5 pc fresh keluak or 10 gr dried keluak block
  • 2 cm ginger, chopped
  • 1 cm lesser galangale (fresh or dried rhizome)
  • 1 cm fresh turmeric or 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp tamarind
  • ½ tsp roasted shrimp paste/ terasi (optional)


  • beansprouts
  • fried shallots
  • shrimp cracker / kerupuk udang
  • sambal terasi

Black Beef Soup

Rawon is a special dish which originated from East Java Province but now has become a well known dish across the country. This unique soup is part of 30 Indonesian Culinary Icons list.
What makes this dish so special & unique is it's BLACK colour!! Yes it is really black , as if the soup has been made with asphalt 😉 And this black colour comes from Keluak, the special & most important ingredient which gives it's character!! Without Keluak, Rawon is not Rawon ha hah..
What about the taste?'s so completely delicious!! But honestly many people in the west (that also includes my husband) are pretty skeptical to see it's strange "exotic" appearance. Not so appetizing, he said ;-(
So I should convince him many times that the black colour comes from Keluak not from anything else. So how do I convince you?? Well all I can say is you never know until you've tried 😉


  • Put all ingredients for the paste in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. (If necessery add a little bit oil to help the blending process).
  • Boil 2 litres of water in a deep saucepan. *) Once it's boiled adjust the heat into medium, add the beef meat and cook until well cooked. (If necessary skim off and discard the fat that floats to the water surface).
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a fryingpan. (Don't add oil if already added in a blender).
  • Stir fry the paste, lemon grass, galangale & kaffir-lime leaf. Stirring all the time until the paste well cooked & fragrant.
  • Transfer the paste to the deep saucepan where the meat has been boiled. Add the pepper, palm sugar and salt. Adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  • When the meat is already well cooked add the chopped spring onion.
  • Prepare the soup in an individual serving dish, garnish with beansprouts & fried onions.
  • Serve with kerupuk udang/shrimp crackers and "Sambal Rawon" (if preffered). Many Indonesians like to have their Rawon with hard boiled of salted duck egg for a condiment.


  • *) Add in the meat into boiled water then cook on the medium heat to preserve it's best taste.
  • Rawon tastes best at the following day after cooking.
Keyword beef soup, black beef soup, Indonesian

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