Soto Betawi: Indonesian Beef Stew From Jakarta Region

Soto Betawi is a soupy dish made with beef that is originally from the Jakarta region. It uses a few spices and herbs that make it deliciously fragrant. And the soup itself has milk that makes it slightly creamy.

a bowl of beef soup with milk from Jakarta region.

Soto Betawi is a creamy and savoury beef soup that you enjoy with hot plain white rice and a spoon or two of chilli sambal. It’s heartwarming street food from Jakarta. 

What is Soto Betawi in English?

In the olden days, Jakarta used to be called Batavia/ Betawi. Hence, this beef soup that is originally from the Jakarta region is called Soto Betawi.

And if you want to translate it into English, soup is the best word to describe Soto. 

So you can freely translate Soto Betawi as Jakartan beef soup.

Indonesian beef soup from Jakarta in a round bowl with some condiment, tomatoes, spring onions and lemon in small bowls.

This beef soup uses a few spices and herbs that make it deliciously fragrant. And the soup itself has milk that makes it slightly creamy. Having said that, some people use coconut milk instead.

Whichever milk you put in this dish, promise you’ll like it anyway. Because the flavour of this simple yet heartwarming dish is just delicious.

And when you go to Jakarta, you’ll find street vendors, cafes and restaurants that sell this beef soup. It’s one of the most loved dishes that one can easily buy whenever one is craving it. 

What does it taste like?

Simply put, this Soto Betawi tastes creamy and savoury with a heartwarming flavour that makes it just delicious.

The dish has a delicate fragrance of mixed herbs and spices. It has a hint of sweetness from the milk and a tanginess from the lime juice that you squeeze into a serving. And, of course, it has the richness of beef stock from slow cooking the beef broth at the beginning. 

And if you love chillies, you enjoy this beef soup with a spoon or two of freshly made chilli sauce. Ah, just yummy. 

What you need to make Soto Betawi

Traditionally, this soup dish uses all sorts of cow innards such as tripe, lung, or intestines. But in this recipe, I only use beef meat. If that’s your personal preference, feel free to include the cow innards.

ingredients for soto betawi.

So, for this Soto Betawi recipe, you will need beef meat, onion, galangal, salam leaves, lemongrass, ground white pepper, semi-skimmed/ whole milk, spring onions, tomatoes, and lime

How to cook

It’s darn easy to cook this dish.

Firstly, I boil the beef in freshwater until it is boiling, and you can see some impurities of the meat floating on the water surface. Drain the water and rinse the beef. Then cut the meat in ½ -inch cubes.

Secondly, grind the onion into paste while you boil some water in another cooking pot. 

When the water reaches boiling point, place the onion paste, lemongrass, galangal, salam leaves, pepper and salt into the water. Leave it to cook and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. 

Thirdly, add the beef meat into the spiced boiling water and cook further at low heat with the pan lid on for at least an hour. The longer you cook the beef, the tastier the broth will become. 

So when the beef meat becomes tenderized, and the broth looks cloudy and tastes deliciously savoury, you pour the milk into it. And let it cook until the soup is boiling again. 

Storing matter

In principle, you can leave your beef Soto fully cooled down, store it in a tightly lidded food container and keep it in the freezer. It keeps well for about 6-8 weeks. Don’t forget to label it so you won’t forget.

When you need to serve it, leave it in the fridge/ refrigerator overnight to thaw. And reheat the soup until it boils well before serving. Do not refreeze the thawed food. 

And you can cook this dish a few days in advance. It keeps well in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

How do you eat Soto Betawi?

And to make the dish go even better, you sprinkle some fried onions over the soup at serving time and have some prawn crackers on the side to enjoy with the soup.

Like any soup dish in Indonesian cuisine, this Soto Betawi is best eaten with plain white rice. 

Soto Betawi the beef soup from Jakarta region in a white round bowl surrounded with condiments, lemon, tomato and spring onion in small bowls.

Other similar recipes 

If you like this Soto Betawi recipe, you may like my other soup recipes below. And don’t forget to bookmark my blog to look out for more new Soto and soup recipes coming. 

Thank you for checking out this recipe of beef soup from Jakarta. I hope you like it and want to try it. It would be great if you could share what you think about it in the comments below.

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Thank you and all the best.

a bowl of beef soup with milk from Jakarta region.
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5 from 2 votes

Soto Betawi: Indonesian Beef Stew From Jakarta Region

Soto Betawi is a soupy dish made with beef that is originally from the Jakarta region. It uses a few spices and herbs that make it deliciously fragrant. And the soup itself has milk that makes it slightly creamy.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 6 portions


  • Cooking pan with lid.
  • Wooden spoon
  • Chopper or
  • Food processor


  • 17.64 ounces beef stew meat.
  • 1 medium brown/ yellow onion.
  • ½ inch galangal bruised.
  • 2 salam leaves.
  • 2 stalks lemongrass.
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper see the note.
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt.
  • 16.91 ounces semi-skimmed milk.
  • 70.39 ounces water.
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced.
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes cut into small wedges.
  • 1-2 lime cut into small wedges.
  • 7.05 ounces fried shallots see the notes.
  • 7.05 ounces rice crackers.

For chili sauce:

  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.
  • ½ teaspoon salt or according to taste
  • 3.53 ounces red bird’s eye chillies.
  • ½ cup water.


  • Place the beef in a cooking pan and cover it with a litre of water. Boil it at medium heat until the meat has just cooked through. Take care, not to over boil. 
  • While the meat is boiling, peel and chop the onion. Then pound it into a paste. You can use either pestle and mortar or a food processor. Set aside.
  • Once the meat is cooked through, drain the water and rinse it to clear any impurities left on it. Then cut the beef into ½ inch cubes. 
  • In another pot, boil 1 litre of water. Once it reaches boiling point, add in the onion paste, galangal, salam leaves, and lemongrass. Leave it to cook more for another 2-3 minutes to infuse the herbs in the boiling water. 
  • Next, place the beef cubes into the herbed boiling water. And season it with ground pepper and salt. Let it cook at moderately low heat until the water reaches boiling point again.
  • Then pour in the milk and cook further until it boils and the beef is tender. Check the taste and adjust the salt to your liking. 
  • Serve your Soto Betawi with some tomato wedges, spring onion slices, and fried shallots. Enjoy it with a squeeze of lime and freshly made chilli sauce. And don’t forget to have your beef stew accompanied with crispy rice crackers. 

To make chilli sauce:

  • Put all the ingredients in a blender and give it a few blitzes until you get a slightly smooth mixture with a few small chilli pieces.
  • Pour the chilli mixture into a saucepan and cook it until it is boiling. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Check the taste. You want a spicy chilli sauce with enough saltiness, slightly tangy and a hint of sweetness. 


  • Ideally, you use ground white pepper. But if you don’t have it, ground black pepper will be alright. 
  • If you want, you can make your own fried shallots. But these days, you can always get the ready-made fried shallots to save time and energy. At least I do sometimes.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 610kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 1153mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g


Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.


Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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