Daily Cooking Quest

Soto Betawi - Jakarta Beef Soup

Authentic and easy soto betawi (Jakarta beef soup) recipe you can make at home that will remind you of the real deal you find in Jakarta.

Soto (traditional Indonesian soup) is widely enjoyed throughout Indonesia, and every region has its own specialty soto. In Jakarta, the de facto soto is soto betawi, where it can be found everywhere, from side street food carts, hole-in-a-wall places, food courts in malls, upscale restaurants, all the way to five-star hotels. Each place will have their own way of preparing soto betawi, with a highly guarded blend of secret spices, and each with fierce die-hard fans touting theirs has got be the one offering the most original and most delicious soto betawi.

Soto Betawi - Jakarta Beef Soup

Preparing soto betawi at home

Living half-way across the globe means I need to find an excellent soto betawi recipe that can satisfy me and my hubby love for this soup. After so many recipes, I have finally found it. Whenever we visit our family in Indonesia, our first meals are often a complete set of soto betawi. While in the United States, I rely on this recipe to satisfy our soto betawi craving. If you grow up in Jakarta, or if you have tried this particular soto during your visit to Indonesia, do give this soto betawi recipe a try.

Soto Betawi - Jakarta Beef Soup

5.0 from 2 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Total Time: 3 hours

Serves: 8 to 12



  1. Boil together beef shank, beef tripe, lemongrass, bay leaves, milk, and spice paste over medium high heat in a soup pot. Once it reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and continue cooking until the meat and tripe are tender, about 2 hours.
  2. Remove the meat and tripe from the pot to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces, about 1/2 inch cubes.
  3. Return the pieces of meat and tripe into the pot, add water, coconut milk, salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, discard the lemongrass and bay leaves.
  5. Serve the soup (soto) in soup bowls. Garnish each bowl with tomato and fried potato cubes, and top with sliced scallions, shallot flakes, and emping. Let each person add as much lime juice and sweet soy sauce to their soup. The soup (soto) is traditionally eaten with steamed white rice and a side of acar.


  • Ronald G Lau says:

    Anita, Drawn to your web site in search of the 'health tonic' soups that my Grandmother always insisted we drink a bowl of before dinner. We were back at her house for dinner on all of the Chinese Buddhist Calendar feast days. It is great to preserve the centrality of the food experience and sense that formed the invisible core of your early family life, which so many of us appreciate retrospectively. Will try my hand at the Chinese Herbal Soup. If you have other variations on this recipe or other soups served as 'health tonics' why not a section of your blog devoted to medicinal foods. It seems that my Grandmother prepared a bitter soup from dried dandelion roots or leaves (tuu gung ung' which was prescribed for general health. There was another that in Cantonese sounded like 'gaw gee tong' which was good for improving the health and sight of the eyes etc. Will also try my hand at Soto Betawi described above. Best, Ron

  • Anindya says:

    Ummmm... what happen to the spice paste??

    • Anita says:

      Hi Anindya, in the 1st step, the spice paste is cooked together with beef, lemongrass, bay leaf, and milk. :)

  • Feny says:

    Anita, thank you for recipe! I have tried this one, it was as good as the original one in Indo. This surely satisfied my craving of Soto Betawi while living in Oz.

    • Anita says:

      You are welcome Feny :)

  • Seth Ochieng says:

    I fell in love with this dish in Jakarta, sadly I only got to eat it on my last evening in Indonesia. I was sitting at Oh La La Cafe at Jakarta Theatre and asked the waitress to surprise me.....bless her. Mow I can't get the taste of this dish off my mind. Thanks for the recipe Anita, I'm gonna struggle making it....hopefully it will be as delicious.

    • Anita says:

      Hi Seth, that is such a sweet story to go with the dish :) I hope the recipe will be as delicious as the soto Betawi you have in Jakarta.

  • Paul says:

    So I cannot eat tripe or other offal, nor can my wife. Is there a suggestion for substitutes for the tripe? Thanks in advance!

    • Anita says:

      Yes, just substitute with the same amount of beef :)

  • Ruthie says:

    I've tried 4 of your recipes since I found your blog, and the food has turned out perfect each time. This Soto Betawi is divine. So many layers of flavor, yet so simple to make. My husband (raised in Jakarta, a picky eater, and doesn't give compliments freely) absolutely loved it! Please keep your recipes coming. I am using your recipes EXCLUSIVELY now when cooking Indonesian foods. Your recipe blog is a godsend for a Jakarta-born Indonesian raised in the USA, who unfortunately gets too confused trying to follow a recipe written in Bahasa. Haha. Thank you, Anita!

    • Anita says:

      You are very welcome Ruthie. You lovely comment makes me so happy :)

  • Jelena says:

    When boiled, the beef released this foamy gloopy stuff that stuck to everything. What am I doing wrong? Also, the boiled milk turned to looking thin like broth. Is that normal?

    • Anita says:

      Hi Jelena, beef (or any meat) typically releases some scum when boiled. If you want a super clear stock, you can give the meat a quick blanch in a boiling pot of water first for about 5 minutes. I will call this step 0. Then you can proceed with the rest of the recipe. And, yes, the milk will be thin since it is mixed with the stock.

  • Jelena says:

    First of all, I love your website. Please keep it up! I do have a question though. When I boil beef, it creates this weird foamy, gloopy stuff. Usually I’m able to strain it off the top of the water. Unfortunately because there was already other stuff in the mix for this recipe, the foam stuff just stuck to everything. So sad after so much work. What am I doing wrong?

    • Anita says:

      Thanks for the compliment Jelena. Hm... we will be scooping the beef (and tripe) up at the end of step 2 to cut into bite sizes. You can then strain the stock first to remove all the scum (weird foamy, gloopy stuff) so hopefully you get a clear stock for step 3 onward. There will be lemongrass and other leaves in the strainer, and since we want them in the stock too, just wash them under running water to clean them from the scum, and place them in the strained stock. I hope this helps.

  • Vony says:

    Hi Anita I feel so grateful to find your blog, it's very helpful and very easy to follow, thanks for this recipe I tried to make soto betawi today and it's amazing! I

    • Anita says:

      Yay, I'm very happy to hear that Vony. And thank you for trying out my recipes. :)

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