Hawaiian Oxtail Soup

Oxtails make sudden appearances at grocery stores when I least expect them too. I made a trip to Whole Foods once in search of oxtails and thinking that Ahhh surely Whole Foods has them and came home with nothing except maybe with a tinge of disappointment. Lo and behold, the next day during a trip to our local Jewel store for another purpose altogether, there were oxtails displayed at the meat section. Of course I grabbed them right away even if it meant that they had to stay in our freezer for awhile before I got a chance to cook them since making oxtail soup does take awhile. It's not the preparation that takes time but rather the simmering which takes hours which isn't necessarily a bad thing actually since that is perfect opportunity to work on other things while the pot is sitting on the stove.

Unlike other rich and hearty oxtail stews that I've come to know, this Hawaiian oxtail soup comes in a clear light broth. Despite the broth being clear and seemingly light, the aromatic flavors are present and intensified from several hours of simmering. The meat becomes so tender it readily falls off the bone. It's welcoming when you need a non-heavy yet fulfilling dish. We ate it with steaming white rice and a side of sliced chili peppers.

Adapted from Simply Recipes:

2 - 2 1/2 lbs oxtails
1 strip dried orange peel
2 star anise
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
Salt to taste
1/2 cup shelled, skinned, and raw peanuts (or roasted unsalted peanuts)
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
Bunch of fresh mustard greens, chopped

Cilantro, chopped
Scallions, chopped

1. In a large pot, fill with water until just covering the oxtails and bring to boil. Parboil for 30 minutes. Drain water from the pot and rinse oxtails in cold water. Trim excess fat from oxtails.

2. Return the oxtails to the pot and fill water until the oxtails are fully covered with water by about an inch. Add orange peel, star anise, ginger slices, white peppercorns, and salt. You can always add more salt later to taste. Cover the pot and when water comes to boil, bring it down to a simmer for one hour. Add the peanuts and continue to simmer for 2-3 hours  until meat is tender.

3. Skim off the fat from the soup. If you plan on letting the soup sit overnight in the fridge (which I highly recommend as it will intensify the flavors), turn off the heat at this point and wait to skim off the fat until the next morning as the fat will solidify thereby making it easier to remove the fat.

4. Bring the soup to a simmer and add in the chopped mustard greens. Cook for several minutes until the mustard greens are tender.

5. Dish out into bowls and top with a handful of chopped cilantro and scallions.


  1. Err, is it supposed to have so little liquid?

  2. Hi Yuhui!

    We had lots of broth in the pot that we later drank up during the meal. Happy CNY :)