In celebration of Jakarta’s – Indonesia’s capital city – 493rd Birthday, our sister magazine NOW! Jakarta has put together a list of the all time best ‘Betawi’ cuisine. In this week’s Cook & Mix we share with you one of the all-time classics from the capital, Soto Betawi.

Betawi is the term given to the people of Jakarta, derived from the old Dutch colonial name for the city, Batavia. Like many Asian megacities, Jakarta’s streets are filled with life, mainly surrounding informal stalls and eateries serving up both the city’s and nation’s cuisine.

So, whether or not you’ve been to the churning streets of Jakarta, you can taste a bit of the capital by cooking this dish!

Soto Betawi

Soto Betawi is a coconut milk soup filled with beef and offals or other beef organs that have a unique savoury taste sensation. The name Soto Betawi was first popularized by Lie Boen Po, the first soto seller to use the term soto Betawi which was sold at Taman Hiburan Rakyat Lokasari or Prinsen Park. The word of soto itself is an absorption from Hokkian language, chau to (cooking beef innards). The use of curries and spices is characteristic of Indian culture. Other ingredients and seasonings, such as tomatoes, celery and potatoes including those processed into perkedel (potatoes cake) reflect the adoption from Europe culture. While fried onions as topping and crackers is the influence of Java culinary.

Serves 5

• Coconut milk from one coconut or fresh milk (cooked until boiling)
• 500 grams beef shanks and 200 grams beef entrails
(If you don’t like entrails, just use different cuts of beef, but it’s important to have some fatty parts for flavour)
• 300 grams potatoes, boiled and cut into small pieces

Seasonings and spices: 

½ tsp pepper
1 tsp coriander 
½ tsp cumin
5 garlic
5 onion
6 candlenut
5 lemongrass
kaffir lime leaf
3 bay leaves

Side dish:
• Perkedel, made from ½ kgs potatoes (boiled, peel the skin) smoothed and mixed with 3 garlics, 3 onions, two chopped-celery stems, salt and one egg. Shape it into round shapes and fry by dipping it in the egg first.
• Leek
• Crackers or emping
• Fried shallots
• Sambal


• Briefly boil beef and offals in cold water until the dirt comes out. Then dispose of the dirty water and change with new cold water, boil again the beef until it is tender, then remove and cut it into small square shapes and fry them.
• Stir fry seasonings and the other spices until the smell of fragrant appears and add coconut milk and a glass of water, stirring stew to evenly spice.
• Once the sauce is boiled reduce heat
• Put in a small bowl, beef, boiled potatoes, tomatoes, leek, fried shallots, and the sauce
• Serve with white rice, lime, perkedel, emping and sambal

Edward Speirs

Edward Speirs

Edward, or Eddy as he prefers to be called, is the Managing Editor of NOW! Bali and host of the NOW! Bali Podcast. He enjoys photography, rural travel and loves that his work introduces him to people from all walks of life.