Beef soto

Beef soto

Leanne Kitchen

This dish belongs to a whole family of soups found throughout Indonesia, called soto, and there are many variations. Based on a light, spiced broth, which in some versions is enriched with coconut milk, soto can be made using beef, tripe, tendons, pork, chicken and even water buffalo. This version is a meal in a bowl, complete with potato-based fritters and the unctuous shin meat.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 lemongrass stems, bruised and tied in a knot
8 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
6 chinese celery stalks
6 slices fresh galangal
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1/2 nutmeg, cracked
1.5kg whole, boneless beef shins, trimmed
100ml kecap manis
3 litres Chicken stock
or 3 litres Beef stock


Quantity Ingredient
3 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
6 large red asian shallots, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander

Beef and potato fritters

Quantity Ingredient
600g all-purpose potatoes, peeled and chopped
300g minced beef
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon caster sugar
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
250g mung bean sprouts
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
coriander leaves
Fried shallots
sambal oelek


  1. For the paste, combine all the ingredients in a small food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the paste in the oil, stirring, for 3–4 minutes. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, onion, celery, galangal, cinnamon stick, star anise and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the meat, kecap manis and enough stock to cover the shins. Slowly bring to a simmer, skimming any impurities that rise to the surface. Partially cover the pan and cook over low heat for 2 1⁄2 hours or until the shin meat is very tender, adding a little extra water if necessary to keep the beef covered.
  3. For the beef and potato fritters, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well then mash. Add the minced beef, egg, sugar, spring onion, nutmeg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir to combine well. Form the mixture into 24 flat discs about 5 cm across.
  4. In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the fritters in the oil, in batches, until golden on both sides. Transfer to paper towel to drain any excess oil.
  5. Remove the shins from the soup, then strain the stock, discarding the solids. Return the stock to the pan, skimming any impurities from the surface, then bring to a simmer. Thinly slice the beef.
  6. Divide the meat between serving bowls, ladle over the stock and add a few fritters. Add the mung bean sprouts and tomato wedges and serve with the coriander and fried shallots scattered over, and the sambal oelek on the side.
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