Recipe: Korean Oxtail Soup

Rainy season, or shall we say, delayed rainy season, started in Lisbon. I was told that we usually have the rains from November to March, but this year, somehow, we saw days with glorious blue skies. Well, as with everything, there’s always a catch….Now 95% of Portugal are in severe drought, we prayed for much needed rain, and we got it!

Problem with living on the highest hill in Lisbon is that you have to go down only to climb up the other seven hills – A fantastic workout on a sunny day. Whereas in the rain, those sleek calçadas easily turn into man-made peril. I know better not to venture out.

I love Galbitang – Korean short-rib soup. But the short ribs I acquired both in Portugal and Ireland were much fattier than the ones from the States, which made the soup oily and less desirable. I went to a friend’s house for Chinese New Year celebration about a month ago, he made a milky Korean rice cake soup using oxtails that I liked very much. He referred me to Maangchi’s website, from which I found out that she also has an oxtail soup recipe and decided to give it a try.

This recipe is adapted from Maangchi’s Oxtail Soup.


  • 1 oxtail, chopped
  • 1 daikon radish, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • water
  • scallions, chopped


  1. Rinse the oxtail thoroughly to remove any residuals from the surface.
  2. Soak the tails in a large pot – cover with enough water to completely submerge the tails – overnight. Change the water several times untill the water turns relatively clear.
  3. Blanch the tails – by adding the pre-soaked tails into a large pot of boiling water – over medium high heat for 12 minutes. The volume of the water should be 1.5X of the oxtail. The impurities will foam and float to the surface of the water. When done, carefully remove the oxtail without picking up the impurities.
  4. If needed, wash any impurities off the tails.
  5. Add the tails, radish and minced garlic and 2X the water or more in a large clean pot, cook over medium high until boiling.
  6. Lower the heat to medium low, cover and let it simmer for an hour. Remove the radish and set aside.
  7. Simmer the oxtail for another hour untill the meat are tender and almost fall off the bones.
  8. Let the soup cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The fat will gather on top of the gelatinous broth. Scoop out the fat layer and discard.
  9. When ready to consume, boil the soup in high heat. Slice the radish in bite size, add to the boiling broth. Cook together for 5 minutes.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped scallions.


This is a versatile soup, you can add any ingredents of preference – I’ve tried with tofu/frozen tofu/spinach/Korean sweet potato glass noodles (pre-soaking required). Just remember to add the uncooked ingredients to the broth first (without the meat and radish) and let them cook through before adding the meat and/or radish back in.

Bom Apetite!

PS: While I had the time, I also baked a Persian Love Cake, which turned out to be divine. I will post the recipe in the next Recipe section of this blog.

12 thoughts on “Recipe: Korean Oxtail Soup

  1. Mm, I can imagine that galbitang must be very comforting: I can imagine them being a perfect dish for the cold winter! Also found it hard to make it, but based on your recipe, it actually sounds quite simple, with not a whole lot of ingredients. Looks delicious– bon appétit!

    Liked by 1 person

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