Chinese cuisine
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Plain Stewed Oxtail Soup

Plain Stewed Oxtail Soup
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– qing dun niu wei tang

This wonderful winter soup is a speciality of Chongqing. A whole oxtails is simmered gently for many hours, until it is beautifully tender, the fat melty and delicious. The tail is served in a bowl of clarified stock, with a dip of red, spicy, salty relish on the side. It’s perfect for a soothing, refreshing end to a Sichuanese meal.

Recipe
PRE TIME: 4 hr 30 min
COOKING TIME: 0
TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 30 min
5 SERVING
Ingredients:
  • 2 lb Large oxtail or thick chunks of oxtail
  • 0.5 tsp Sichuan peppercorn
  • 4 slice Fresh ginger, peeled
  • 0.25 cup Sesame oil
  • 2 oz Pixian bean paste
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro
Directions:
Step 1
Step 1
1
Remove any remnants of skin from the oxtail. Use a sharp knife to cut through to the centre of the tail at each joint, all the way round, taking care not to actually sever the joints. You should end up with a series of rings of flesh which are still attached to the central line of bone. Leave the tail to soak for 20 minutes in cold water to remove some of the bloody juices. Then discard the soaking water and rinse the tail.
Step 2
Step 2
2
Bring 6 cups (1.5 litres) of water to the boil in a large pan. Add the oxtail and bring to the boil over a high flame. Add the Sichuan peppercorn and ginger slices. When the water has boiled, use a perforated spoon to skim off as much as possible of the scum which gathers on the surface. Drain the oxtail.
Step 3
Step 3
3
Strain the soup through a piece of muslin fabric in a sieve or colander to remove the ginger, pepper and any remaining scum.
Step 4
Step 4
4
Return the soup to the pot. Add the oxtail and continue to simmer until it is beautifully tender. The meat should be stewed until it is really tender and comes away easily from the bone - 4 hours will do it.
Step 5
Step 5
5
In a saucepan with heated oil, add the Pixian chilli bean paste and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until it smells delicious and the oil has turned red. Tip into a small bowl. When the paste has cooled down, add chopped cilantro.
Step 6
Step 6
6
When you are ready to eat, transfer the oxtail to a big china bowl. Season the soup lightly with salt to taste, and then pour it over the tail. Serve the soup with the relish. If you want to be really Sichuanese, let everyone pluck pieces of meat from the tail with their chopsticks and dip them into the relish. They can then drink the soup from their bowls. Otherwise, you can divide the tail and the soup and serve it individually.
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