Neil Perry's braised sour oxtail

Neil Perry
Neil Perry's braised sour oxtail
Neil Perry's braised sour oxtail  Photo: William Meppem

This is a perfect winter braise to serve with a bowl of steaming rice or noodles. I love the sour fruitiness the tamarind brings to the dish. You can substitute any braising cut of beef such as shin, brisket or chuck; lamb shoulder works well with these flavours, too. I also like to change the vegetables and have used pumpkin or yam, or chopped green beans, on occasion.



6 long red chillies, seeded

6 green bird's-eye chillies, chopped

sea salt

5 red eschalots (french shallot), chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp fresh turmeric, chopped, or 1 tsp ground turmeric

5 kaffir lime leaves, sliced

2 hearts of lemongrass, crushed

4cm piece galangal, chopped


1kg oxtail, trimmed of fat

2 cups tamarind purée

8 cups fresh chicken stock

6 tbsp palm sugar

5 tbsp fish sauce

100g potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 red eschalots (french shallot), finely sliced and fried until golden

3 tbsp coriander leaves


1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies and salt to a rough paste. Add eschalots, garlic and turmeric and continue to pound, then add lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal and pound to a fine paste.

2. Put the oxtail into a large pot and add the spice paste, tamarind purée, chicken stock, palm sugar and fish sauce. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. After 2 hours, add the potatoes and tomatoes and simmer for a further hour. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

3. To serve, transfer oxtail to a bowl, ladle the sauce over and sprinkle with fried eschalots and coriander leaves.