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    Tamarind- and Lemon Grass-Braised Oxtail with Mint and Coriander Salad

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    Tamarind- and Lemon Grass-Braised Oxtail with Mint and Coriander Salad

    Oxtail is the king of slow cooking, its thick bone producing loads of flavour and a gelatinous texture. It's best soaked in cold water for an hour, then brought to the boil in a pan of fresh water, simmered for 10 minutes and skimmed of any impurities. It needs a minimum of 3 hours cooking, but it's well worth it. This recipe is from Asia, where, unlike in the fastidious UK, people actually prefer meat that sits close to the bone. The herby salad is more than just a garnish: it offsets the sweet depth of the meat with a sour and fragrant taste.

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus 1 hour soaking
    • Cooking time: 195 minutes
    • Total time: 4 hours and 40 minutes, including soaking time 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 40 minutes

    Serves: 6


    • Oxtail
    • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
    • 1kg oxtail, trimmed of fat, cut into lengths
    • 2 lemon grass stems, halved
    • 5 cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
    • 1 x 100g jar tamarind
    • 100ml sake
    • 1 litre chicken stock
    • 4 tbsp honey
    • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 6 tbsp fish sauce
    • Salad
    • 15g coriander leaves
    • 10g mint leaves
    • 12 salad onions, sliced
    • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
    • 2 tbsp fish sauce
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • Spice paste
    • ½ red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1 tsp ground turmeric
    • 1 tbsp kaffir lime leaves, shredded
    • 4 red chillies, roughly chopped and deseeded


    1. Place all the ingredients for the spice paste into a food processor and blend until smooth.
    2. Prepare the oxtail by soaking and blanching it as detailed above, to remove any impurities. Heat the oil over a high flame in a casserole, dry the oxtail thoroughly and add it to the pot. Cook until golden on both sides - about 10 minutes - and add the spice paste. Give it a good stir to coat, then turn the heat to low to make sure the paste doesn't burn. Cook for 1 minute, then add the lemon grass, ginger, tamarind, sake, stock, honey and fish sauce and bring to the boil. Tuck a circle of greaseproof paper over the meat inside the pan, cover with a lid and simmer over the lowest heat for 3 hours. The liquid should be gently bubbling, not boiling. After 2 hours of cooking, add the sweet potatoes and cook for a further hour with the oxtail.
    3. Just before serving, mix the coriander and mint leaves with the onion, chilli, fish sauce and lime.
    4. Remove the casserole from the oven, lift out the oxtail with a slotted spoon and put it on a plate, covered with greaseproof paper to keep warm. Skim off the fat, bring the juices to the boil and reduce for 10 minutes till thick. Season then serve with the juices and the herb salad.

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