How to Make Rawon: The Indonesian Black Beef Soup

Hello, Good News! Welcome to another article where we share with you the best recipes from around the world. Today, we are going to introduce you to a delicious dish from Indonesia called rawon. Rawon is a rich and hearty beef soup that has a distinctive black color and a deep nutty flavor. It is one of the most popular dishes in East Java, where it originated, but it can also be found in other regions of Indonesia with some variations.

In this article, we will show you how to make rawon at home using authentic ingredients and methods. We will also explain the history and culture behind this dish, as well as some tips and tricks to make it even better. Whether you are looking for a new way to enjoy beef soup, or you want to try something exotic and flavorful, rawon is the perfect recipe for you. So, let’s get started!

What is Rawon?

Rawon is a traditional Indonesian beef soup that is characterized by its rich, dark color. The color comes from one of its main ingredients: keluak nut. Keluak, also known as pucung or kluwak, is a type of nut that grows on the kepayang tree in Southeast Asia. The nuts are highly poisonous in their raw state, but they become safe to eat after they have been fermented for several months. The fermentation process gives the nuts a black color and a complex flavor that is similar to truffles or coffee.

Keluak nuts are used to make a spice paste that is the base of rawon soup. The paste also contains other spices and herbs, such as garlic, shallots, galangal, turmeric, candlenut, lemongrass, coriander, and chili. The paste is fried in oil until fragrant, then beef chunks are added and seared. Water, salt, pepper, sugar, tamarind paste, and kaffir lime leaves are added to make the broth. The soup is simmered until the beef is tender and the broth is thick and flavorful.

How to Serve Rawon

Rawon is typically served with steamed rice (nasi) and various toppings and condiments. Some of the common toppings are fried shallots (bawang goreng), boiled eggs (telur rebus), bean sprouts (tauge), shrimp crackers (kerupuk udang), and sambal (spicy chili sauce). Sambal can be made with different ingredients, such as shrimp paste (terasi), tomatoes (tomat), or anchovies (teri). Sambal adds a spicy kick to the soup and enhances its flavor.

Rawon can be eaten as a main course or as a snack. It is especially popular as a breakfast dish or a late-night meal. Rawon is often sold by street vendors or in small eateries called warung. Rawon can also be found in restaurants or hotels that serve Indonesian cuisine. Rawon is considered a comfort food that warms the body and soul.

The History and Culture of Rawon

Rawon is believed to have originated in Surabaya, the capital city of East Java province. Surabaya is located on the northeastern coast of Java island, facing the Madura Strait. Surabaya is known for its rich history and culture, as well as its diverse culinary scene. Surabaya has been influenced by various ethnic groups and cultures over time, such as Javanese, Madurese, Chinese, Arab, Indian, Dutch, and British.

Rawon reflects the multicultural heritage of Surabaya. The use of keluak nuts shows the influence of the indigenous people of Java island, who have been using them for centuries. The use of spices and herbs shows the influence of Indian and Arab traders who brought them to Indonesia through the spice trade. The use of beef shows the influence of Madurese people who migrated from Madura island to Surabaya and brought their cattle-raising tradition.

Rawon is not only a dish but also a symbol of identity and pride for Surabayan people. Rawon is often served during special occasions or celebrations, such as weddings or birthdays. Rawon is also associated with hospitality and generosity. Offering rawon to guests is a way of showing respect and friendship.

How to Make Rawon at Home

Making rawon at home may seem daunting at first, but it is actually quite simple and rewarding. You just need to prepare the ingredients and follow the steps below. You can also adjust the recipe according to your taste and preference.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of beef chuck or beef shank, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste, diluted in 1 tablespoon of water
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 stalks of green onions, chopped

Rawon Spice Paste

  • 4 keluak nuts, soaked in hot water for at least 4 hours, then cracked open and scraped out the flesh
  • 7 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 candlenuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 centimeters of galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 2 centimeters of turmeric, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
  • 1 red chili, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder

Toppings and Condiments

  • Steamed rice (nasi)
  • Fried shallots (bawang goreng)
  • Boiled eggs (telur rebus)
  • Bean sprouts (tauge)
  • Shrimp crackers (kerupuk udang)
  • Sambal terasi or sambal oelek (spicy chili sauce with shrimp paste or without)

Instructions

  1. In a blender or a food processor, blend all the ingredients for the rawon spice paste until smooth. You may need to add some water to help the blending process.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil and fry the rawon spice paste for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and slightly browned.
  3. Add the beef pieces and sear them on all sides, coating them with the spice paste.
  4. Add the water, salt, pepper, kaffir lime leaves, tamarind paste, and sugar. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour, or until the beef is tender and the broth is thickened.
  5. Add the chopped green onions and stir well.
  6. Serve the rawon soup over steamed rice and garnish with your desired toppings and condiments. Enjoy!

A Table Breakdown of Rawon Ingredients and Benefits

To help you understand more about rawon and its ingredients, we have prepared a table that shows the nutritional value and health benefits of each ingredient. The table also shows the recommended daily intake (RDI) of each nutrient based on a 2000-calorie diet. Note that the values are approximate and may vary depending on the source and quality of the ingredients.

| Ingredient | Nutritional Value per 100 grams | Health Benefits |
|————|———————————|—————–|
| Beef chuck | 217 calories, 15 grams of fat (6 grams of saturated fat), 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 67 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 22 grams of protein | Beef is a good source of protein, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, niacin, and phosphorus. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues. Iron helps transport oxygen in the blood and prevent anemia. Zinc supports the immune system and wound healing. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage. Vitamin B12 helps maintain nerve function and red blood cell production. Niacin helps convert food into energy and regulate cholesterol levels. Phosphorus helps form strong bones and teeth. |
| Keluak nut | 557 calories, 52 grams of fat (17 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein | Keluak nut is a unique ingredient that gives rawon its black color and nutty flavor. Keluak nut contains various phytochemicals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, anticholesterolmic properties. Keluak nut also contains essential fatty acids that help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Fiber helps promote digestion and prevent constipation. |
| Shallot | 72 calories, 0 gramsof fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 12 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein | Shallot is a type of onion that has a mild and sweet flavor. Shallot contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, manganese, and flavonoids. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and fight infections. Vitamin B6 helps regulate mood and sleep. Folate helps prevent birth defects and support DNA synthesis. Manganese helps activate enzymes and metabolize carbohydrates and amino acids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that protect cells from damage and inflammation. |
| Garlic | 149 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 17 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 6 grams of protein | Garlic is a widely used herb that has a pungent and spicy flavor. Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. Garlic also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, and other phytochemicals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, anticholesterolmic properties. Garlic helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve blood circulation and immunity, prevent colds and infections, and detoxify the body. |
| Candlenut | 718 calories, 76 grams of fat (30 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 2 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 15 grams of protein | Candlenut is a type of nut that is commonly used in Indonesian cuisine to thicken sauces and add flavor. Candlenut contains essential fatty acids that help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Candlenut also contains vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and aging. Magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve function and blood sugar levels. Phosphorus helps form strong bones and teeth. Potassium helps balance fluids and electrolytes in the body. Calcium helps maintain bone health and muscle contraction. Iron helps transport oxygen in the blood and prevent anemia. Zinc supports the immune system and wound healing. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage. |
| Galangal | 71 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 6 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of protein | Galangal is a type of ginger that has a sharper and more citrusy flavor. Galangal contains gingerol, a compound that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, and anticancer properties. Galangal also contains vitamin C, iron, sodium, and other phytochemicals that have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. Galangal helps relieve nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and stomach pain. Galangal also helps boost the immune system and fight infections. |
| Turmeric | 354 calories, 10 grams of fat (3 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 38 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 21 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein | Turmeric is a spice that has a bright yellow color and a warm and earthy flavor. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, anticholesterolmic properties. Turmeric also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, manganese, and other phytochemicals that have various health benefits. Turmeric helps reduce inflammation and pain in the joints and muscles. Turmeric also helps improve blood circulation and prevent blood clots. Turmeric also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Turmeric also helps protect the liver and brain from damage and degeneration. |
| Lemongrass | 99 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 6 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein | Lemongrass is a herb that has a lemony and refreshing flavor. Lemongrass contains citral, a compound that has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. Lemongrass also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and other phytochemicals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, antihypertensive properties. Lemongrass helps relieve headaches, fever, colds, coughs, sore throat, and congestion. Lemongrass also helps relax the muscles and nerves and reduce stress and anxiety. |
| Red chili | 40 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 9 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein | Red chili is a spice that has a hot and spicy flavor. Red chili contains capsaicin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, and anticancer properties. Red chili also contains vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, and other phytochemicals that have antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. Red chili helps stimulate metabolism and burn calories. Red chili also helps clear nasal congestion and relieve pain and itching. |
| Coriander powder | 298 calories, 18 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 42 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein | Coriander powder is a spice that has a mild and sweet flavor. Coriander powder is made from the dried seeds of the coriander plant. Coriander powder contains linalool, a compound that has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. Coriander powder also contains vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, manganese, and other phytochemicals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, antihypertensive properties. Coriander powder helps improve digestion and prevent gas and bloating. Coriander powder also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. |
| Cumin powder | 375 calories, 22 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 168 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 18 grams of protein | Cumin powder is a spice that has a warm and earthy flavor. Cumin powder is made from the dried seeds of the cumin plant. Cumin powder contains cuminaldehyde, a compound that has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties. Cumin powder also contains iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other phytochemicals that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, antihypertensive properties. Cumin powder helps improve digestion and prevent gas and bloating. Cumin powder also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. |

FAQs About Rawon

What does rawon taste like?

Rawon has a rich and complex taste that is hard to describe. It has a deep nutty flavor from the keluak nuts, a spicy kick from the chili and other spices, a sour tang from the tamarind paste, and a citrusy aroma from the kaffir lime leaves. The beef is tender and juicy, and the broth is thick and satisfying. Rawon is a dish that you have to try for yourself to appreciate its unique flavor.

Where can I buy keluak nuts?

Keluak nuts are not widely available in most countries outside Southeast Asia. You may be able to find them in some Asian grocery stores or online shops that specialize in Indonesian ingredients. However, they may be expensive or hard to get. If you cannot find keluak nuts, you can substitute them with black beans or black sesame seeds. They will not give the same flavor as keluak nuts, but they will give a similar color and texture to the rawon spice paste.

How can I make rawon vegan or vegetarian?

If you want to make rawon vegan or vegetarian, you can replace the beef with tofu or tempeh. Tofu and tempeh are soy-based products that are high in protein and low in fat. They can absorb the flavor of the rawon spice paste and broth well. You can also add more vegetables to the soup, such as carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, or spinach. You can also omit the boiled eggs and shrimp crackers from the toppings.

How can I store and reheat rawon?

If you have leftover rawon, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat rawon, you can microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl for a few minutes or heat it on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You may need to add some water to thin out the broth if it has thickened too much.

What are some other dishes that go well with rawon?

Rawon is a filling and satisfying dish on its own, but you can also pair it with some other dishes to make a complete meal. Some of the dishes that go well with rawon are:

  • Sayur lodeh: A vegetable stew made with coconut milk, chayote squash, green beans, eggplant, tofu, tempeh, and spices.
  • Gado-gado: A salad made with boiled vegetables, tofu, tempeh, boiled eggs, and peanut sauce.
  • Soto ayam: A chicken soup made with turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and other spices.
  • Nasi goreng: Fried rice with eggs, chicken, shrimp, vegetables, and soy sauce.

Conclusion

Rawon is a delicious and nutritious dish that you can make at home with some simple ingredients and steps. Rawon is a great way to enjoy beef soup with a unique flavor and color. Rawon is also a dish that represents the rich and diverse culture of Indonesia. We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about rawon. If you want to read more articles like this, please check out our website for more recipes and tips. Thank you for reading and happy cooking!