A Deliciously Tasty Hawaiian Oxtail Soup Recipe

Oxtail Soup is crafted from the tails of any beef animal – not just oxen. There are many variations of this delicious soup, although many believe it was first made in London by immigrants.

Other versions can be found in the Chinese, Korean, Creole, and Indonesian cultures. There is also a particular variation that comes from the exotic islands in the Pacific – the state of Hawaii.

Many families in Hawaii make their version of oxtail soup at home. However, there are some terrific variations of oxtail soup on the menu of many famous restaurants and not-so-famous local hangouts.

Try this recipe first, and then, when visiting the island state, compare it to other local oxtail soup versions.

How to Make a Deliciously Tasty Hawaiian Oxtail Soup Recipe

The Hawaiian culture’s version of oxtail soup is deliciously nourishing. Tender oxtails are slow-cooked in a savory broth with a spice base that includes ginger, star anise, and bay leaves.

  • Preparation Time – 10 – 30 minutes.
  • Cooking Time – 90 – 100 minutes.
  • Total Prep & Cook Time – 2 hours & 10 minutes.
  • Serves – 5 to 6.

The List of Ingredients For the Hawaiian Oxtail Soup Recipe

This soup might be unusual for some, but it is also soothing and nourishing. Its savory ginger clear broth is loaded with tender and meaty oxtail pieces. The broth is complex, with flavor notes created by bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and dried tangerine peels.

The Oxtail Soup Ingredients

  • 4 – 5 Pounds of Oxtails.
  • 1 Whole Onion – Peeled.
  • Pro-tip- If you have extra time, roast the peeled, whole onion. Cook it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until it browns. Then add the roasted onion to the soup. This extra step creates an extra sweetness and depth of flavor.
  • 3 Slices of Ginger – Smashed.
    Pro-tip- Ginger is not only delicious, but it is also a helpful, warming digestive aid. So, add as much (or as little) ginger for your taste – just remember it can be pungent and robust. There are two ways of using ginger in this Hawaiian oxtail soup recipe.
    • The traditional way is to add large but smashed slices of ginger at the beginning of cooking – which is removed prior to serving.
    • A more modern version is to add peeled and julienned ginger further along in the cooking process; however, this ginger is left in the soup to be eaten.
  • 6 Bay Leaves.
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks.
  • 6 Whole Star Anise.
  • 3 Dried Tangerine Peels (Chen Pi) – which can be found at any Chinese specialty supermarket.
  • 12 – 16 Cups of Water and/or Chicken Broth.
  • 3 Carrots or Daikon (optional) – Cut these vegetables into 1-inch pieces so they cook evenly and at the same time.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce (Nuoc Nam).
  • Hawaiian Sea Salt, to Taste.

Serving Ingredients/Suggestions

Consider topping this oxtail soup with these delicious options –

  • 1 Bunch of Chinese Parsley.
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions.
  • 1 – 2-Inch Knob of Ginger – Julienned.
  • 3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce.

Cooking Instructions Hawaiian Oxtail Soup

This recipe is easiest to master if you divide the cooking directions into three distinct processes.

Preparing the Oxtail

  • Trim the excess fat off each oxtail. Throw away the fat and get ready to cook the rest.
  • Parboil the oxtail by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Then add the trimmed oxtail and bring the soup back to boil.
  • Cook for an additional minute, which allows the fat/scum to rise to the top.
  • Put a large colander in the sink and pour out the water through the colander.
  • Let the cooked oxtails cool for a minute.
  • When you can pick up the oxtail without burning your hands, quickly rinse/clean each oxtail under running water.

Making the Soup

  • Return the oxtails to the same large pot they had been cooked in.
  • Add the water and/or chicken broth. Make sure you add enough liquid to cover the oxtails with at least 1 inch of water. Note that this typically takes approximately 16 cups of liquid, although the weight of the oxtails and pot size will determine the exact amount. Add more or less liquid as you see fit.
  • Add the onion, star anise, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, and dried tangerine peels.
  • Bring these spice ingredients and the soup base to a boil.
  • Cook the oxtail soup on low for about sixty minutes or until the oxtails are tender. A good test is to use a fork and try to poke a hole in the meat. If it pierces easily, the meat is cooked.
  • Scoop off as much of the oil that has coagulated at the top of the soup.
  • Add the carrots (and optional daikon).
  • Cook for an additional one-half hour.
  • Season with fish sauce and Hawaiian sea salt.
  • Taste and serve hot.

Serving the Soup

  • Ladle the oxtail soup – give each serving 3 to 5 pieces of oxtail.
  • Top With Chopped Chinese Parsley & Green Onions.
  • Serve With a Bowl of Rice & Small Side Dish of Julienned Ginger & Soy Sauce (For Dipping The Oxtails).

For a bit of local flair, consider adding dried shitake mushrooms and raw peanuts.


How to Store this Hawaiian Oxtail Soup?

The Hawaiian version of oxtail soup keeps well in the refrigerator. Most people choose to use the leftovers to serve a ready-made lunch or dinner over the next few days. But note that Hawaiian oxtail soup does not freeze well. However, raw oxtails can be frozen until you are ready to make your next pot of oxtail soup.

How Can I Make the Dipping Sauce for this Hawaiian Oxtail Soup?

This sauce, which adds a burst of flavor, is for dipping the oxtail meat. Dip the smaller pieces into the sauce, although it may be easier to spoon the dipping sauce over the larger oxtail pieces.

The dipping sauce is a great accompaniment, even though it is just a little dish of soy sauce and julienned ginger. Note that each dinner or lunch guest gets their own dipping dish, so each has complete control of the amount of soy and ginger.

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