Oriental Style Oxtail – Subtle It’s Not

If you are looking for elegance, look somewhere else. If you are looking for subtlety pass by, my friend.  This dish is not such a preparation, it’s like being hit in the face with the all ingredients from an Oriental grocery store, all at once. Don’t get me wrong, it is delicious and you won’t regret making it. Just be prepared for a flavour explosion in your face.

Now, if you are still with me, you can either read on or take a look at the little video I prepared earlier.


  • 1 oxtail, cut into thick pieces
  • A large tin of water chestnuts
  • 500 ml good beef stock
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 large piece of ginger root
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 3-4 pieces of star anise
  • A few black peppercorns
  • 1 red chilli
  • Teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Flour for dusting
  • Oil for frying
  • Green end of spring onions to serve
  • Rice to accompany

It’s a pretty comprehensive flavour list.


Dust the beef with seasoned flour. Add a little oil to a casserole dish and brown the beef on all sides. While this is doing, chop the onions into nice chunky pieces. When the beef is browned, remove and reserve.

A nice pile of chunky oxtail betting browned.

Add in the onions and sweat them down over a medium heat, adding a little water if needed. While the onions are cooking, cut the ginger into thin slices, slice the chilli lengthways and peel the bulb of garlic. When the onions are near translucent, add in the dry ingredients (bar the beef and water chestnuts) and stir to combine and to get the flavours releasing. When there is a heady aroma in the kitchen, add the stock, the soy sauces and black vinegar. Bring this to a simmer. Then add the beef. Bring this back to a simmer and transfer to the oven. Cook it covered at 170ºC/340ºF for four hours or so. At the halfway stage, take it out of the oven and skim the excess fat from the surface.

At this point, Add the water chestnuts. Stir them in. Return this to the oven. You will know that the cooking time is completed when the meat is not quite falling off the bones when poked with a fork. Remove the beef and the chestnuts from the cooking liquid. Strain the liquid and remove any further unwanted fat. Return the sauce to the casserole. Add back the beef and chestnuts. Simmer this without a lid until the sauce thickens nicely. Use some cornflour in water to help it along if needed.

Serve this to hungry diners over some nice Thai fragrant rice, not forgetting to sprinkle with some chopped spring onion greens. This really packs a flavour punch. It is an intense umami slap in the chops. Go for it!

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Latest comments
  • Yet another cow part I have trouble buying… I do love the taste of oxtail, and it would stand up very well to this delectable full-frontal flavour assault. I’m pretty sure I’d be wanting something fresh, raw and crisp on the side, too…

      • The Australian meat industry revolves around export; there is no way a population our size could consume the volume of beef we produce. As a comparatively recent import into Australia myself, I find Aussies very selective about what part of the beast they’ll eat, and offal isn’t tremendously popular compared with how much it’s eaten in Europe, for example. A lot of our offal is apparently exported to countries who appreciate it more! There are fewer and fewer businesses who receive entire beasts to break down and can therefore offer you brains, cheeks, tongue, sweetbreads, calves liver, kidney, heart, tripe and oxtail. (You can keep beef liver and kidneys; too strong). Many independent butchers are seeking to add value over supermarkets by offering their own range of ‘smallgoods’: smoked hams, sausages, bacon, jerky and Continental-style salamis and chorizos. These are the places you’re likely to find offal, but they are not in every community.

          • Yes, it’s causing some stress. However, Malaysia and Indonesia and the Middle East also like our beef, especially as we are set up to make live deliveries. I wish we had a couple more specialist butchers; there are two, one a long way off and the other heinously expensive but fabulous. At least I can get rabbit…

  • By the way, this one came through to my Reader, unlike the previous Wagyu post… Did you launch this one through the phone app or on your laptop?

  • My mouth was watering just from reading the text. Add in watching the video and I’m wiping drool off my laptop — this looks SO delicious!!! Especially enjoy hearing your voice. 🙂

    I’ve never cooked with oxtail, although I have enjoyed eating it in restaurants. Any suggestions for what to look for when buying and how to properly clean/prep would be greatly appreciated.

  • Oh this is great, Conor ! I so love oxtail and in my part of Australia have no trouble buying it from any of my supermarkets or my favourite butcher. Don’t remember when I last bought water4 chestnuts . . . no problem there either! Love the video but am being difficult again: methinks the final plating is most elegant and stylish and I cannot wait to try . . . best . . .

  • It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

  • Awesome Connor, I’ve had some oxtail in the freezer a long time that I’d wondered what to do with. I’ll be making your flavourful recipe for sure. Cheers, Karen

  • Yum! That looks so good, I’m salivating from across the Irish Sea. xx

      • It’s been a complete muck-up from beginning to … well, we can’t call it the end because we’re not there yet. I find the laissez-faire attitude of the UK government very worrying, tbh. We’re still locked down and enjoying the first fruits (or rather veg) from the garden. We’re lucky that we have a garden, keeps us relatively sane. Take care yourself, my best to you and your family. Lxxx

  • Stunning dish. I’ve always been a big fan of oxtail stew, however I’v got to say, this is in a different league. ‘Had to use carrots instead of chestnuts – which are hard to find in Fanad – but then the tails only cost e2.50 each up here. Keep cookin’ Conor.

  • this sounds very tasty and hearty Conor. I’m surprised that kate (above) said it’s hard to get here. I think it’s probably because you mainly find it in winter, so not on the shelves much in other seasons. keep well and safe.

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