Indonesian Night with Gado-Gado and out of this world Sop Buntut!

Indonesian Night with Gado-Gado and out of this world Sop Buntut!

One great advantage of living in the Philippines would be its proximity to nearby Asian countries. Where food is concerned, that translates to being exposed to a number of Asian cuisines I didn’t get to experience much while living in the States. In keeping with tradition, the weekly themed dinner at my friends apartment was a few nights ago and they decided it would be Indonesian food.I have yet to travel to Indonesia, but, my good friends recently returned from a quick trip to Jakarta, and had some fantastic recipes, as well as a few ingredients to create a feast that made it feel like I had come along with them.


I don’t know much about Indonesian cuisine, but I am now a huge fan. Working with a from scratch recipe, and combining a few additional ingredients that other recipes suggested, we created one the the best meals I’ve had in a long time. I arrived several hours early to help the host prepare a traditional Indonesian mixed vegetable salad called Gado-Gado and one of the best soups ever, Sop Buntut.

Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup)

Soup Buntut Recipe (Oxtail Soup): Ingredients:

  • 4-6 quarts water
  • 4 lb (2 kg) oxtail, rinsed
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2-3 large pieces ginger, peeled and smashed
  • 16 whole star anise pods
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly ground coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 Red Onions
  • 4 Tablespoons Fried Shallots
  • 4 green onions (scallions), roughly chopped


    1. Bring the water to a vigorous boil in a large pot. Carefully lower the oxtail pieces into the boiling water and simmer over medium high heat for 30 minutes. Skim the foam off the top occasionally.
    2. Add all the spices except for the fried shallots and scallions. Stir well. Simmer for another 1 to 1 1/2 hour until the meat is extremely tender and falling off the bones.
    3. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with chopped green onions and Fried Shallots. Serve hot with coconut rice.

Nasi Uduk Recipe (Coconut Rice with Lemongrass):

  • 2 cups rice
  • ½ a cup thick coconut milk
  • 2½ cup water
  • lemongrass, knotted
  • Pinch of Salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a pot and cook like traditional rice until ready.
  2. Let rest for 10 minutes before opening the lid.
  3. Remove the lemongrass, and stir gently.

IMG_7501 Gado-Gado is a large mixed salad of many different Indonesian fresh and blanched vegetables, tofu, and nuts. The version we created was a bit different, so here is the recipe. This salad is super simple, the prep time is what makes it a lengthy process because of all the different ingredients. Gado-Gado Recipe: Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb.  very small potatoes, boiled and halved
  • 8 oz. firm tofu, drained, and cut into ½”-thick triangles and fried
  • 6 oz. fresh spinach, blanched
  • 6 oz. french green beans, blanched
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, blanched
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into any shape you like, and blanched until slightly soft
  • 1/2 a head of green cabbage, core removed and cut into 2 inch pieces, then blanched
  • 1  cucumber, sliced
  • Indonesian shrimp chips “kropok“, fried (can be harder to find, but totally worth it)
  • Indonesian bitter nut chips “emping”, fried (my friend brought these from the Jakarta trip)
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and cut in half


  1. Fry the tofu and shrimp chips first and allow to cool on a paper towel to drain.
  2. Boil a large pot of water with a pinch of salt added.
  3. Prepare an ice bath.
  4. Using a strainer or colander blanch the fresh ingredients until the point of softness while still remaining crisp. This usually takes 15-20 second. The colors will become vibrant.
  5. Immediately after blanching, shock the hot vegetables in an ice water bath, then drain.
  6. Arrange all the prepared ingredients into your salad bowl.
  7. Garnish with the boiled eggs and shrimp chips.
  8. Serve with a peanut dressing, or satay. Recipe below.

Satay (peanut) Salad Dressing Recipe: Ingredients:

  • 2 cups roasted peanuts
  • 2 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated palm sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 hot chilli, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of palm or rice vinegar
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  1. Cook peanuts until golden, around 10 minutes over medium heat and let cool.
  2. Transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse until finely ground.
  3. Using a piece of aluminum foil, wrap the shrimp paste and cook in a pan, until toasted. No more than four minutes.
  4. Let cool and transfer to the food processor/blender.
  5. Add sugar, garlic, and chilli into the processor or blender and blitz into a paste.
  6. Place the paste into the skillet and add coconut milk. Cook on medium heat while stirring constantly, until the fats begins to separate, no more than 8 minutes.
  7. Stir in the vinegar, salt, and add around  ½ cup water to desired thickness is reached. Simmer until sauce is thickened or around 2–3 minutes.
A few of the ingredients for the nights dinner
The fried shallots and scallions. We really could have used ten times the shallots.
Fried tofu, fried shrimp chips “kropok”, and a very tasty Indonesian bitter nut chip called “emping” that my friend brought from their trip.

IMG_7499   IMG_7488

The flavours and aromas of this spice infused  soup are amazing

Another successful dinner for the books! My favourite dish had to be the Sop Buntut. The longer it cooks, the better. The oxtail becomes more and more tender, and the broth more rich with its fat . I highly suggest you try to cook this yourselves. Please ask me any questions you have in the comments below. 🙂

Thanks for Replying!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s