Fall-off-the-bone tender oxtail meat cooked in aromatic spices and served with wide rice noodles (ho fun) will brighten up the gloomiest of winter.
I think almost every summer I tell my husband that I like raising kids here in Minnesota until of course now it’s November and it’s freaking cold out there, I change my mind every winter! EVERY WINTER! you hear me? The sky is pitch black by 5 pm and that’s a bad news for someone like me who depends 99.9% on natural light for photography. So now, needless to say, we spent most of the time indoor and dreaming about soup and stew A LOT!
It used to take 4-6 hours to cook oxtail on slow cooker for me. I didn’t have a pressure cooker before. I used my slow cooker a lot, which now I have retired because of Instant Pot.
Is Instant Pot really that INSTANT?
Yes and No. It took about 15 minutes for Instant Pot to pressurize (sometimes may take longer) and then 1 hour of active cooking time and about 15-20 minutes for natural release. So if you add up the total time is between 1.5-2 hours or a bit longer maybe, from the time they go into Instant Pot. So in this case, I would say the time it takes to get a fall-off-the-bone meat is much shorter than 4-6 hours in a slow cooker. And the nice thing about it is I can use the saute mode to brown the meat there and then pressure cook it in the same pot.
You can serve this with whatever noodle you prefer, but one of my favorites is wide rice noodles or known as ho fun in Cantonese or kwe tiau in Hokkien. It’s much wider than regular rice noodles. It’s smooth and my daughter is obsessed with this besides somen noodles.
The soup is amazingly flavorful! It’s a pretty clean and rich tasting broth. All I have to do is seasoned it with some salt to taste.
Pulling that meat off the bone was just that little thing in life that makes you feel extremely grateful for what you have in front of you!
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Instant Pot Oxtail Ho Fun Noodle Soup
- 3 -4 lbs of oxtails trim off some excess fat, but not all, you need some for flavor
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 3 inch knob fresh ginger peeled and slice into 1/4-inch thick
- 1 large onion peeled and halved
- 6 cups water
- Salt to taste
- About 4 x 4 cheese cloth and kitchen strings
- 3 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 lb dry ho fun / wide flat rice noodle sticks soak in warm water for 30 minutes
- 2 -3 bundles of fresh bokchoy separated and wash with water
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- Thai chili doused in soy sauce optional
- Few fresh sprigs of cilantro
Place the spices inside the cheese cloth and tie it up with kitchen string. Press the saute mode on Instant Pot. When it says hot, add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add oxtail pieces to sear, do this in batches so they sear properly. Flip to the other side to sear, about 3 minutes each side. Once all the oxtails are done searing, remove from Instant pot. In the same pot, add the spice packet and ginger. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the oxtail pieces back in along with the onion. Pour the water in. Turn off the saute mode and close the lid and press the pressure cooker button and set to high pressure. Set the time to 1 hour. Make sure steam release handle is sealed
It will take about 10 minutes or so for Instant Pot to pressurize and then your 1 hour will start after that
Preparing noodles and bok choy:
Cook the noodles in hot boiling water until it's soft. It shouldn't take long since we've soaked them, about 5 minutes or so. Drain and refresh with running water. Toss with about 1 tsp of oil
If cooking the oxtail one day before (I usually like to do this):
Once the 1 hour is up, do natural release. Let the float valve comes down on its own, which may take 20 minutes or so. Once the valve is down, open the lid. Remove from Instant Pot. Scoop up any visible scums if you spot any. The soup isn't as cloudy as I thought it would be. Discard the spice packet and cinnamon stick. Let it cool down. Leave it in Instant Pot inner pot if you don't need it to cook something else, otherwise transfer to another large container to store it. Cover and then store in the refrigerator
The next day, I can easily scoop up the fat that has solidified on top and discard. Only leave some of the fat for flavor. Then I wipe the outside of the Instant Pot clean to make sure there's no condensation from the refrigerator on the bowl. Place the inner pot back into Instant Pot. This soup is pretty concentrated, you can add 1-2 cups water, season with salt to taste and keep warm for however long you need it to before serving.
If serving on the same day you cook:
Once the 1 hour is up, do natural release. Let the float valve comes down on its own, which may take 20 minutes or so. Once the valve is down, open the lid. If too much fat in the soup, scoop up some and discard. Scoop up any visible scums if you spot any. The soup isn't as cloudy as I thought it would be. Discard the spice packet and cinnamon stick. This soup is pretty concentrated, you can add 1-2 cups water, season with salt to taste
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and then blanch the bok choy until they are soft but still have that crunch and refresh with water to preserve that bright green colors. Set aside
Assembling and serving:
Portion the ho fun noodles into an individual serving bowl. You can serve the oxtail whole or shred the meat. The meat is so soft anyway it just falls off the bone. Divide the oxtail into individual bowl. Top with some bean sprouts and steamed bok choy and then ladle the soup generously over the noodles. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and chili if using. Serve immediately
For non-instant pot method, using slow cooker:
Follow step 1 on the very top until searing the meat and sauteing the spice packet, and cinnamon. Transfer to slow cooker. Add onion and set slow cooker on low for 4 hours, 6 hours if you can if you have large pieces of oxtail. Season with salt to your taste at the end of cooking. Scoop up any visible scums. Proceed to assemble and serving above
You might also like these Instant Pot Recipes:
INSTANT POT THAI COCONUT MANGO STICKY RICE (KHAO NIAO MAMUANG)
INSTANT POT CHINESE STEAMED MATCHA SPONGE CAKE (JI DAN GAO)
CURRY CHICKEN (KARI AYAM)