Hot and fragrant Soto Betawi

Dapoer Aisah: Soto Betawi Recipe

By: Aisah Wolfard

Hot and fragrant Soto Betawi

Hot and fragrant Soto Betawi

The perfect cure against the cold is soto betawi, a hot bowl of beef soup to warm you up! Soto in Indonesian means a filled soup. It comes in many shapes and forms, for example Soto Ayam (chicken soup) and Soto Madura (soup from the island of Madura).

The soup that we’ll make today is called Betawi, referring to  Batavia or, as the capital is known now: Jakarta. The Betawi are the original inhabitants of Jakarta and surroundings and have their own culture, language and cuisine. Indonesian style Soto Betawi will probably not be that appetizing to foreigners because it includes beef offals. So in this foreigner friendly version, we will only use the meat. Smell the herbs and spices, free yourself from a runny nose and savor this Soto Betawi!

Soto Betawi Recipe


2 liters of water

1 kg beef (diced)

2 bay leaves

1 stalk of lemongrass (lightly crushed)

1/2 block of coconut puree (santan), or 500 ml thick coconut milk

1 tamarind (put in a bowl with lukewarm water, discard the seed)

For the spice paste:

3 tsp cooking oil

1 teaspoon coriander

1 / 2 teaspoon cumin

8 cloves of walnut

3 red chillis (seeded )

8 shallots

4 cloves garlic

3 cm turmeric finger

3 cm ginger

3 cm galangal

1 teaspoon brown sugar

beef stock powder to taste

(Blend the spices above)

2 tomatoes (cut into 8)

2 big potatoes (cut into 8 and fried)

Melindjo crackers

How to cook Soto Betawi

1. Boil the beef until tender in water that just covers the beef (time needed depends on the cut of beef).

2. Add some oil in a pan and saute the spice paste until fragrant.

3. Add the bay leaves and lemon grass, stir well. Pour into the beef stew. Add the rest of the water.

4. Add the toasted coconut, starfruit and tamarind. Add coconut milk or santan.

5. Cook on low fire until ready and sauce thickens. Add tomatoes and potatoes cook for 1 minute, remove and serve hot.

Serving suggestion:

Put white rice on a plate, pour soto betawi in a bowl with some melindjo crackers. Enjoy!

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