Bakso or what others call Baso is an Indonesian meatball soup dish usually served with noodles (egg or rice vermicelli), salted vegetables, tofu, Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts and fried shallots. A popular dish that can be found all across Indonesia from street vendors, food stalls and even posh restaurants.
Bakso is unlike your traditional meatballs where it is made with minced meat, while there are versions that uses that the most common ones are made with beef paste and tapioca flour giving it a different consistency and texture which resembles a tough squid ball, firm and dense.
The name bakso originated came from the Hokkien word called bak-so (肉酥, Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bah-so·), which means “fluffy meat” or “minced meat”. From the name itself we already know its origin, from the Chinese well not. While the name is purely Hokkien, the dish is a mixture of culinary influences where the Dutch, Indonesians and Chinese played a part in the creation of this dish. The soup and the noodles definitely is Chinese, the meatballs are from the Dutch mixed with the spiced of the Indonesians.
There are many versions of this, where it is named differently based on the ingredient of the meatball or how it’s cooked. I will not list all of them as there are many but today we will be making the most common one. It is a delicious dish, in fact it is one of President Obama’s favourite dish, it simple to make as long as you have the right soup stock it wont take long to prepare them.
- 2 kg beef leg bones
- 500 g beef tendons
- ⅓ cup fried garlic
- 2 large red onion, quartered
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 tbsp sugar
- thumb sized ginger, peeled
- 1 cinnamon stick
- juice of 1 lime
- fish sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a large soup pot add the beef leg bones and tendons, fill it with water just enough to cover everyting then bring to a boil and simmer in medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Drain the pot, rinse the bones, tendons and the pot thoroughly removing all of the scum.
- Place back the bones and tendons together with all of the soup ingredients in the pot, fill it up with water until it completely covers everything. Bring to a boil and simmer in low heat for 3 hours.
- Using a sieve, separate the stock from the solids. Place the reserved stock in a large container then place in the refridgerartor overnight.
- Remove the container from the refrigerator, the fats should have solidified on top. Remove but 10% of the fat then place the soup in a pot together with the meatballs. Bring it to a boil then simmer in low heat until meatballs are cooked.
- Prepare your rice vermicelli according to packet instructions.
- Place noodles in a bowl together with fried tofu and spring onions. Pour hot soup into the bowl together with some meatballs. Top it with fried shallots then serve it with lime juice and spring onions.