Sunday, May 15, 2011

Soto sapi (turmeric beef soup)

I can`t believe this is happening. I haven`t blogged (and shared any food with you) for 2 weeks straight? No, this is unforgivable. I have a presentation to do tomorrow (to make my Monday perfect of course), but this post just can`t wait. In fact, I`ve been delaying to write about it since last month and I don`t even know why!
So, this soup is an Indonesian style beef soup with a quite strong accent of turmeric. As much as I wanted to call it "spicy beef soup", I think calling it yellow soup can somehow describe it better, as it literally is yellow and NOT spicy. Really, this soup is not spicy at all, unless you add sambal to it, which what Indonesian usually does. 
You can serve this with rice or vermicelli. I used Japanese vermicelli called "soumen". Like other noodle, soumen is usually bland. But,  the soumen I always buy have sesame oil and dashi in it and they make great extra flavors.

Alright, back to the soto. Cube the beef and boil. In a pressure cooker, please. But if you don`t have it, just regular pot will do fine, although it will take much longer time (and patience) to make the beef tender. That`s okay too, you can watch TV or do some blogging while waiting anyway.

Pressure cooker or regular pot, make sure to skim off the scam to make a cleaner soup. It`s almost impossible to get rid the scam completely with a (1 dollar) skimmer, though.
If you use a regular pot, keep boiling on a medium heat until you get the beef texture right. If it`s  tender enough for you, turn off the heat, and set it aside.

If you are using a pressure cooker like I did, close the lid after the skimming. With the lid on and locked, I cooked it for 30 or 40 minutes. The beef turned out beautifully tender despite the stiff square look.Set it aside and let`s continue with the spice.

Here`s what I used: garlic, onion, ginger, lemon grass, and turmeric powder...

..also salam leaves (Asian bay leaves) and kaffir lime leaves. Keep stirring the spice and you`ll notice how the turmeric will give a distinct fragrance to the spice mixture aside from the gorgeous yellowness.

Pour in the beef stock you made to the spice. Or you can do the other way of course, if it`s more practical for you. In that case, rinse the pan once the spice was in with the soup to make sure you don`t leave any good stuff there.
Stir the soup with spice in and adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Sugar? Well, a pinch of it won`t hurt. When it tastes alright, drink it. 
Or not. Set it aside, please. We need some self control here.

If you are serving the soto with rice, then you can skip this step. But if you choose vermicelli, boil them according to the instruction on the pack. Mine only needs 2 minutes in boiling water. 

Beautiful. Rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
If you serve the vermicelly right away, then you won`t have any problem. But if you will eat it later,  place the soumen in a bowl of (cold) water to avoid clumping.

Place the soumen in an individual bowl.

Add washed raw bean sprouts.

And pour over the beef soup. How much? As much as you like, dear. You deserve it.

Garnish with some greenie (spring onion, parsley, celery, etc) and fried onion, spritz in lemon juice (or kalamansi for the originality), and drizzle kecap manis over. If you`re more into the spicy version, get sambal too. I recommend a non-sweet sambal as the kecap manis is already sweet.
And if you want some more festivity (and calories), add boiled eggs too.

And by the way, you can also use chicken instead of beef with the same spice to make this soto. Just boil the chicken, remove the bones (if any), and shred before serving it.
Have a nice Sunday!

Beef stock
Beef, cubed

Spice paste
Salam leaves
Kaffir lime leaves

Salt and pepper

Vermicelli or soumen, boiled
Bean sprouts
Spring onion
Lemon juice
Kecap manis


  1. YUMMY!!!!!! I liked how you used Somen instead of vermicelli. Very creative and nice way to use Somen for non-Japanese food! This looks delish! By the way I have a same sieve which I just bought in Daiso (in San Francisco). ;-) I missed your post! I should be following you via email so I get notification. ;-)

  2. Ohisashiburi desu! Once I tried somen, I never go back to vermicelli again for any dishes. That`s how much I like somen :)) You have Daiso there?? And yes, I got the sieve from Daiso too :DD

  3. I haven't had soto for a while...!! You make me miss Indo food ;)! Glad that I'll visit Jakarta this summer, I look forward to stuffing myself like crazy there ;). My favourite types of soto are actually soto betawi and soto kambing - the really unhealthy versions, hahahaa...;).

  4. Soto kambing! I miss it too! Enjoy your vacation and go crazy with the food! :DDD