Grandma Lee’s Java Soto

Grandma Lee’s Java Soto

A beef soup seasoned with herbs & spices



  • 1 thumb size knob galangal (lengkuas)
  • 2 stalks lemon grass (serai)
  • 1.25 kg beef shin
  • 4.5 L water
  • 6 salam leaves (daun salam)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut)
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 3 leeks
  • 2 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Indonesian sweet dark soy sauce (kecap manis)


  • 2 thumb size knobs ginger (halia)
  • 10 shallots (bawang merah)
  • 6 cloves garlic (bawang putih)
  • 1 tbsp coriander (ketumbar) powder
  • 2 tsp pepper

Chilli sauce:

  • 1/2 jar Cilicuka Super Hot (100% cili padi) for the traditional version; Cilicuka Extra Hot (20% cili padi) for a less hot version; Cilicuka Original (100% regular chilli, no cili padi) for the least hot version.
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce


  • 600 g bean sprouts
  • 4 sprigs coriander (Chinese parsley)
  • 40 shallots (bawang merah)


  1. Peel and bruise the galangal and lemon grass (use white portion only) for the stock.
  2. To prepare the rempah, peel and roughly chop the ginger, shallots and garlic. Coarsely pound/blend together, adding the coriander powder and pepper last.
  3. To prepare the chilli sauce, add the light soy sauce to the Cilicuka. Place in a small serving dish.
  4. To prepare the garnish, blanch the bean sprouts (remove the caps and roots, if necessary) and finely slice the coriander. Peel the shallots and finely slice.


  1. In a large pot, place beef in cold water then bring to the boil.
  2. Skim off the impurities that surface then add the ingredients for the stock. Simmer for 30-40 min.
  3. Heat a wok over a high flame until it smokes. Add the oil.
  4. Lower the flame then stir-fry the finely sliced shallots for the garnish until golden brown. Remove and drain.
  5. Over a high flame, stir-fry the rempah then add it to the stock.
  6. Stir in the salt and Indonesian sweet dark soy sauce.
  7. Simmer until the meat is tender then remove the meat and slice. Strain the stock.
  8. To serve, arrange some the sliced meat and beans sprouts in individual serving bowls.
  9. Fill with soup, then garnish with fried shallots and coriander.
  10. Serve the chilli sauce on the side.
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