Jakarta Beef Ribs Soup

Origin: Jakarta


  • kg spare beef ribs
  • 3 pc salam leaves or bay leaves
  • 3 pc kaffir-lime leaves
  • 1 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, bruished
  • 2 cm fresh galangale, bruised
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 l water
  • 750 ml thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp, soak with 3 tbsp hot water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil to sautee the paste

Spice for the paste

  • 5 pc large red chillies, de-seeded, chopped
  • 8 pc shallots, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cm ginger
  • 3 cm fresh turmeric or 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 5 pc candlenuts, roughly chopped or crashed
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed or 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp brown/palm sugar
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste


  • 2 pc tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • spring onion, thinly slice
  • 1 pc lime, cut into wedges
  • Indonesian sweet soya sauce / kecap manis
  • sambal oelek (if you like it spicy)

Jakarta Beef Ribs Soup

Jakarta has proudly 3 variants of soto/soup dishes, namely "Soto Mi", Soto Betawi and Soto Tangkar. Both Soto Betawi and Soto Tangkar are strongly influenced by Indian culinary culture with the presence of distinctive aromatic spices such as cinnamon, coriander and cumin. On the contrary Soto Mi is a clear soup, contains of noodles, fried springrolls, spiced with garlic and pepper, represent more of the Chinese culinary influence.
These 3 dishes are clear evidence of assimilation between indonesian and foreign culinary influence which've been brought & invented hundred years back throughout the archipelago. Generally occurs in coastal areas where're used to be center of trade as well as cultural exchanges.
Tips: If you're using blender or food processor instead of mortar and pestle to make spice paste, you will probably need to add some liquid to help the blending process. Therefore there are important methods to be noted to get the optimum result.
1st: If the spice paste should be sauteed first in a hot oil (ex: this recipe) then you should add little amount of OIL into the food proccesor.
2nd: If the spice paste will be simmered in either water, coconut milk or broth then adding the specified liquid or a small amount of water is recommended. But please do not apply it vice versa, otherwise you could absolutely ruin the taste 😉
Have a nice try and hopefully this recipe will enrich your soup recipes collection 🙂


  • Tips: Remove/discard the excessive fat from the ribs if any and do not use the broth afterward because it's oily and smelly which may spoil the appearance and taste of the soup. Used instead ready beef's stock or mix 1 liter/2 pints warm water with 4 tsp beef broth powder.
  • If you use normal saucepan: Bring 2 liter water in a deep saucepan to boil, add the beef ribs, cover the pan and cook over medium heat until tender & almost cooked. (approx.45 minutes)
  • If you use press-cooked cooker: Cook the ribs with 1.5 liter cold water for 30 minutes since the cooker begins to sizzle. Discard the broth and keep aside.
  • Prepare all ingredients for the paste, peel-off and cut in smaller pieces if necessary.
  • Put all spices for the paste in a blender or food processor.
  • If necessary add a little bit oil to help the blending process.
  • Blend the spices into a smooth paste.
  • Prepare the other herbs/spices which're not to be blended/pounded: bay leaves, kaffir-lime leaves, galangal & cinnamon stick.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan/wok, sautee the paste together with the above mentioned herbs/spices.
  • Stir all the time until the paste done & well cooked (to obtain the best taste). The paste is done when the texture becomes scrambled & the colour changes from yellow into orange. (It takes approx. 5 minutes).
  • Transfer the paste into the deep saucepan and stir to mix.
  • Bring over medium heat to boil.
  • Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice and bring to boil. Stir occationally to prevent the coconut milk from separating.
  • Simmer over low-medium heat for about 30-45 minutes until the beef ribs are tender and the spices being absorbed perfectly.
  • Adjust the taste, add salt or sugar if necessary.
  • Prepare all the ingredients for the garnish. The soup should be kept pipping hot.
  • Serving Method: Put about 2 beef ribs in a deep serving plate. Garnish with tomato, spring onions and then pour in the hot broth. Press a lemon slice over the soup.
  • Last but not least pour a little bit kecap manis on the top. Serve hot with rice. Add sambal oelek if you like it spicy.
Keyword beef soup, indonesian beef soup recipe, jakarta beef ribs soup

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