Indonesian Beef Balls Soup or Bakso Sapi

Beef balls soup or bakso sapi is Indonesia’s most popular street food after soto, sate and siomay. It can be easily found all across the country, from travelling food carts, street vendor tents to restaurants. It is Indonesian meatball made from finely ground meat with small quantity of spices, salt and tapioca flour. This dish took root from the kitchen of Chinese ethnic in Indonesia. The term bakso, comes from bak-so in hokkien, which is a Chinese dialect. Bak means meat (minced/meat paste), while So means to form balls. There are various types of bakso, such as: fish, chicken, pork and beef. But beef balls soup or bakso sapi is the most popular and sold.

ready Indonesian beef balls soup
ready bakso

Sometimes we are worry about the hygine or even ingredients of the food when we eat outside, especially street food. Some of us might have heard about some chemical substances used in meatballs productions, so it has nice and crunchy texture. Beside that, the MSG used is also a big concern for many people. Therefore, by posting this recipe I hope it could help whoever wants to try to make their own and to enjoy this dish with the loved ones without any worries.

ingredients for beef balls or bakso sapi
beef balls ingredients
finely ground beef with spices and tapioca flour
finely ground beef

Bakso or beef balls ingredients:

  • 500 g beef brisket or shank (minced)
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder or baking soda
  • 1 tbsp fried chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp fried shallots
  • 4 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 l water for boiling

How to make bakso beef balls:

  • Cut beef brisket or shank to very small pieces or mince.
  • Prepare 2 liters of water in a big cooking pot and bring it to boil
  • Put ice cubes and minced beef into blender or food processor and blend it for a few seconds.
  • Add all the ingredients above except egg white and tapioca flour. Blend it to form fine paste. (Do not force when using blender. When it get stucked, switch off and stir it with a spoon to loosen it up, then continue. Otherwise you will break your blender).
  • Add tapioca flour and egg white (add a few more ice cubes if needed, for the meat to stay fresh from this process). Blend until it forms very fine paste.
  • Place the meat paste in a bowl. Prepare a glass of water and a clean table spoon.
  • Grab some beef paste in one hand, fist your hand with force so the meat paste will pop out between thumb and index finger. You can play with it and redo this. When the meat paste comes out in the form of nice round ball (as the picture below), take a spoon with the other (clean) hand and dip with water, then spoon the meat ball into the boiling water. Continue until finish.
  • While forming beef balls, pay attention to the beef balls in the pot that are boiling. If the beefballs have floated for a few minutes, take it out and soak in a container with ice and water. Place beef balls in cold temperature or freeze.

Ingredients for soup/stock for bakso:

  • 2 l water (use water from boiling beef balls and add more to have 2 liters)
  • 1 or 2 beef bone marrow
  • 2 cm ginger
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp salt (adjust as desired)
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • sliced beef tripes (optional)
  • sliced beef tenderloin/eye round (optional)

Additional ingredients:

  • flat rice noodles
  • mung bean sprouts
  • fried chopped garlic/shallots
  • chopped spring onions

How to make bakso (beef balls) noodle soups:

(for 5 servings)

  • In the pot with water from boiling beef balls, add some more water to get about 2 liters in total. Add beef bone marrow, ginger and bay leaves and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Add salt and ground pepper (add beef tripes if you like) and let it cook over medium heat for 15 minutes (cook longer if added beef tripes, until the texture is not chewy). Try soup, add more salt or sugar if needed.
  • In a medium pot, fill water until half of the pot and bring it to boil. Add dry flat rice noodles and a teaspoon of vegetable oil, then cook until it is soft, then drain the water.
  • For serving, place some rice noodles and washed bean sprouts in bowls.
  • Add beef balls and sliced beef into the boiling soup, cook for 5 minutes or until beef balls are floating. (Don’t use all beef balls if there are too many, you can freeze some of it).
  • Get a few beef balls, meat and tripes out from soup and transfer to the bowls with noodles, then pour the soup into the bowls. Add fried garlic/shallots and chopped spring onions.
Indonesian beef balls noodle soup
Indonesian bakso is ready to be served

Happy cooking and eating!

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