Home-Style Oxtail Stew

Lawrence Chu

Chef Chu’s - Los Altos, CA

“Gung Gung, my father-in-law, missed the richly flavored comfort food he grew up eating in China, so we would cook this special dish in his honor,” says Lawrence Chu. “If you enjoy homemade pot roast or stew, this will surely become your favorite, too. The oxtails become soft and succulent after being braised slowly, and the sauce is perfect over rice or noodles.”


  • 3 pounds beef oxtails
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Three to four 2-inch-long ginger knobs, crushed
  • 2 green onions, cut in half
  • 1 celery stalk, including leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 medium onion, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 10 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons chile paste
  • 16 trimmed and peeled pearl onions
  • 16 peeled baby carrots
  • 16 cherry tomatoes


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the oxtails and boil for 15 minutes. Remove and drain. Discard the water.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven. Add the ginger, green onions, and celery and sauté for 1 minute. Add the onions and star anise; stir-fry until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 6 cups of the water, along with the ketchup, soy sauce, and chile paste. Bring to a boil and add the oxtails. (There should be enough liquid to cover the oxtails. If not, add a little water.) Cover and briskly simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, stirring occasionally to keep the meat submerged. Continue adding a cup of water every half hour for 2 1/2 hours. Check oxtails to see if they are almost tender: the meat should be easily penetrated with a fork or chopstick, but remain on the bone.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan. Add the pearl onions and sauté until the outsides are lightly browned on the tops and bottoms, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and sauté for another minute. Transfer the onions and carrots to the oxtails and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until onions and carrots are tender and the sauce has reduced slightly. Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. The tomatoes should remain intact and not burst.

Ladle the stew over cooked rice in serving bowls.


6 to 8 servings