Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jakarta Creamy Beef Soup with Coconut Milk (Soto Betawi)

Soto is an Indonesian traditional soup that mainly made with broth, meat and vegetable with a twist of spices. Some town or areas have their own version of soto. I'm from Bandung. Ours is made with clear beef broth, meat and slices of radish. Jakarta (or Betawi)  is the capital city of Indonesia, has different interpretation of soto. Coconut milk is added to the broth, which makes it so deep and rich in flavor.

A day before Christmas, my friend, Sendy, who lives 2 hours away, invited us to come for a visit. "I'll cook Soto Betawi," she said. Yaaayy! Nothing I love more than a get-together that involves comfort food from my childhood. So we stuffed our mini van with our two kids, couples pillows and blankets, few snack for on the road .. Oh! and we also took Toffee, our newest so-called bundle of joy, along with us :)

That was more than 2 weeks ago...

Then we had this massive winter storm that literally paralyzed the city we lived in, followed by below-zero temperature. I was tormented, desperate for another bowl of flavorful, soul-enriched, comfort soup. I just have to made some.

Before you scroll down to the recipe section below, here is the picture of Belinjo crackers, Kecap manis and fried shallot. You will NEED them to magically transform the soup into a perfection!

serves: 8

Ingredients A:
- 4 lbs beef shank, no bone
- 2 lbs beef tripe, preferably honeycomb type (if you are not a fan of beef tripe, you may substitute this with 1 lbs beef shank)
- water to cover
- 2 - 3 inches of cinnamon stick
- 1 nutmeg, smashed it so that it'll crack
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 6 cloves
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tomatoes
- lemon
- Kecap manis, Fried shallot and Belinjo crackers (see pictures below)

Ingredients B:
- 2 inches ginger, peeled skin, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 15 shallots, peeled
- 7 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp coriander seed, toasted (see notes)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 Tbsp oil

Clean the beef tripe by rinsing it with rubbing baking soda, let it sit 3-5 minutes then rinse with warm water. Then soak it with lemon and warm water for about 1 hour. Discard the water. Place the tripe on a soup pot, cover with cold water. Boil them with medium high heat, uncovered. Discard the water. Now the tripe are ready to cook.

Place beef shank in a large stock pot. Add water just to cover with the meat. Slowly bring to a boil. Don't be in a hurry to skim off any fat, you'll loose some flavor.

Add beef tripe, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, kaffir lime leaves, cloves and salt to the pot. Add more water, if necessary, to cover all meat and tripe. Bring to a boil one more time. Reduce the heat, simmer, covered for 1.5 hours or until the meat and tripe are tender.

Remove meat and tripe from the broth. Let it cool. Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes; the tripe into long stripes. Measure 12 cups of broth and return them to the stock pot. Add the meat and the tripe. Set it aside. If you have less than 12 cups, add water to the broth. Discard all spices and leaves.

Place all ingredients B in a food processor. Add more oil as needed to blend ingredients to a smooth paste.

Heat the oil on a deep wok, saute the paste until fragrant. Add coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the stock pot with broth and meat. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Ladle the soup into a deep bowl. Add cut tomatoes and Belinjo crackers. Sprinkle with fried shallot and lemon juice and drizzle with kecap manis .. VOILA!!

Notes: Use a wide-frying pan, heat the coriander seeds on medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove the seeds when they darken and become fragrant

I hope you have the opportunity to try Soto Betawi recipe .. and when you do, please leave a feedback!
Thank you for reading my blog. 'Til next time ...  :)

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