Oxtails…oh oxtails. Need me to say more about them ? This cut is very well-loved in our house, and perhaps your house too and that’s why you are looking at this recipe 🙂 If you’ve never tried it before, I really want to say that you are missing out but again, I’m highly bias here because I just love it too much. To be able to enjoy the richness and sublime flavor of oxtail though, you gotta slowly cook it for hours until the meat is tender and literally almost falls off the bone. Believe me, it’s worth the wait.
I remember 6 years ago when I cooked oxtails for the first time (this blog didn’t exist yet), I swear to God I didn’t know I need to cook the oxtails for hours and hours until the meat almost falls off the bones. NO! I cooked it for one hour and served it to the husband and he could hardly pull the meat off the bones! COULD NOT!! I thought this guy must be joking and I tried and I just burst out laughing at this stupidity!!!! Who would be this dumb to boil oxtail for 1 hour! ME…and me! But, at least I’ve never repeated that error anymore.
This slow-cooked oxtail noodle soup is sort of a fusion between a Vietnamese pho and Japanese oxtail ramen I had when we were in Oahu, Hawaii few years ago. I didn’t use all the spices used for making pho broth, but I do like to have charred onions in my broth. It just gives that amazing flavor. Adding sake to the broth also gives it another depth of flavor.
Please weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.
- 1 large onion - peeled and halved
- Cooking oil
- 2 lbs oxtails - 4 to 8 pieces
- 6 cups water
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp sake
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz dried rice noodles or any noodles you like - I used flat rice noodles
- 2 Tbsp thinly sliced jalapeno rounds
- 2 scallions - both white and green parts, thinly sliced on an angle
- 4 sprigs cilantro
- Fried shallots crisp - optional
- Fresh basil leaves - optional
To do the day before:
- Brush the cut side of onion with some oil. Char the onion on stove top until they get a nice dark spots (but not burnt). Set aside
- Combine the oxtais and water in a small saucepan and place over high heat. Bring the water just to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat, drain the water, and rinse the oxtails and pot well. Make sure you DO rinse your pot too, sorry, can't be lazy here!
- Return the oxtails to the pot and add water until it covers the oxtails. Add in onions. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the liquid until the meat falls off the bone, about 5 hours. While cooking, add more water, if necessary, to keep the oxtails fully submerged
- When the meat has finished cooking, removed the oxtails from the pot. Strain the stock into another clean pot. Place the oxtails pieces back into the pot. Cover and put into refrigerator
The next day:
- Skim the whitish fat layer off the top of the broth. Heat the broth on stove again and then add the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, sake, pinch of salt and pepper. Have a taste and adjust to your liking. It should be savory with tinge of sweetness
- When ready to serve, bring the broth to a rolling boil. Portion the noodles our into individual serving bowl. Place 1 to 2 oxtail pieces. Generously ladle the hot broth over the noodles. Garnish with chopped scallions, fried shallots crisp (if using), cilantro leaves, jalapeno slices and fresh herbs like basil if you like
This dish isn’t complicated to make but you need to have the patience to wait for the oxtails to cook. But it’s not like you need to stand next to the pot for 5 hours waiting 🙂 Just enjoy the smell before you get to dig in