Pressure Cooker Oxtail Soup [recipe]

Serves 2-3 people


  • 1.5 pounds oxtail (I did get hormone-free pieces from Gus’s)
  • 1 thumb ginger, crushed
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 onion (you could probably use half, but I thought I might as well throw the whole thing in)
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 orange peel
  • Fish sauce
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 tbsp Hawaiian salt
  • Optional - dry sherry, which my family adds to almost everything and I like to think helps break down the bones

For garnish

  • Fresh grated ginger
  • Thinly sliced green onion
  • Shoyu
  • Salt, to taste


Par boil the oxtail for 10 minutes to remove the excess fat (if you want to skip this step you can, but you will have to skim the fat later on, which can be kind of annoying, especially for the detail-oriented). While the oxtails are boiling, you can brown the onion and  toast the cinnamon and star anise in the bottom of your Instant Pot on saute mode, if you want; it’s supposed to release the flavors a bit more, but if I am looking to cut corners (which is frequent for rushed weeknights and lazy weekends, basically meaning, yes, all the time), I will skip the step and not notice much difference.

Add the oxtails, peeled and smashed ginger, onion, cinnamon, star anise, and water to your pressure cooker. Cook for at least 60 minutes (I did 180 minutes this weekend) on high pressure. You can manually release, but I like to wait 20 minutes so that you don’t lose too much water.

Open the pressure cooker and set the cooker to saute mode and bring the broth to a boil. Add fish sauce to taste. Add one tablespoon Hawaiian salt (I like to season it very lightly while cooking and then leave salt on the table for everyone to season their own broth to taste, galbi tang style). Add cilantro, one green onion, tomato, and mustard greens. Boil until the mustard greens are tender.

Garnish with a heavy dousing of cilantro and green onions and a small dash of grated onion. Pour a small dish of soy sauce (ideally salty Japanese shoyu, like Kikkomann) to dip your oxtail. Serve with a shallow dish of salt, so everyone can add as much as they like.

Usually in Hawaii, oxtail soup is served with a bowl of white rice. However, you, can also use pho rice noodles (like they often do at Vietnamese restaurants), ramen noodles, or even wide, ribbon-like knife-cut noodles (like I did the other night).

Bon appetit.