Beef & Lamb Foods Recipe

Soto Madura (Indonesian Aromatic Beef Soup)

Soto Madura with Watercress

Soto Madura with Watercress. Rich and fragrant beef broth brightened with turmeric and herbs, it’s a recipe that brings people together. Traditionally this Soto consists of broth, meat, rice vermicelli, hard-boiled egg, shredded cabbage and/or mung bean sprouts, but this time I replace the cabbage and mung bean with watercress.

Soto is a traditional Indonesian soup and there are heaps of different Soto in Indonesia. This aromatic herbal broth differs from one region to another and some sotos are named based on their region. Soto ingredients and spices also varied but mainly its consist of meat, vegetable and broth. The meats that are most commonly used are beef and chicken.

Soto Madura is a yellowish soup either made with beef or chicken. Normally this type of soup served with a plate of white rice on a side.  At first, soto may look like regular soup but a touch of herbs and spices make this soup so rich and flavourful.

Fresh turmeric brightened and give yellowish colour to the broth and the soaked rice thicken it slightly. And for perfect finishing touch sprinkle some chopped celery, green onion, fried shallot, sambal and drizzle some lemon juice before you eat. You can serve the rice on a side plate or add it to the bowl and combine it with other ingredients.

Soto Madura with Watercress


Soto Madura (Indonesian Aromatic Beef Soup)


  • 1 kg beef
  • 3 cm galangal,
  • 3 lemongrass,
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves

Spice Paste 

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 7 shallots
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3 candlenuts
  • 2 cm ginger, peeled
  • 3 cm turmeric, roasted and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon rice, soak for 15 minutes then drain
  • salt and sugar to taste


  • 100g watercress
  • 150g rice vermicelli
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • sambal or chilli sauce


  1. Place the beef in a large pot with galangal, 1 lemongrass, 2 lime leaves and cover with 3 litres of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam, lower the heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the beef is tender, about 45 minutes, skimming regularly to make a clear broth. Turn off the heat, remove beef from the broth and set aside. Strain and reserve the stock.
  2. Meanwhile, combine peppercorns, coriander seeds and candlenuts in a food processor. Pulse until ground. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric and soaked rice and pulse to a thick paste. Add a little oil if needed.
  3. Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add spice paste, remaining galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Add spice paste and beef to the stock, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste. Turn off the heat, remove beef and cut into bite-size pieces.
  4. Meanwhile, cook watercress in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Cook rice vermicelli according to the package instruction, set aside.
  5. To serve, add rice vermicelli, watercress and beef to the bowl. Ladle some soup on top and sprinkle with green onion, celery leaves and fried shallots. Serve with white rice and sambal.

Soto Madura with Watercress




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