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Indonesia is a treasure trove of diverse and flavorful dishes, and one such gem is Rawon. This traditional Indonesian beef soup is a culinary delight that hails from the island of Java. Known for its deep, dark color and aromatic blend of herbs and spices, Rawon is a dish that mesmerizes both the eyes and the taste buds. In this blog post, we will take you on a journey through the origins of Rawon, explore its unique flavors, and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to prepare this savory delight in your own kitchen. So, let’s immerse ourselves in the rich Indonesian culinary heritage and unravel the secrets of making Rawon!

Rawon is a traditional Indonesian black beef soup that is not only flavorful but also rich in cultural history. It hails from the island of Java, Indonesia, and is considered one of the country’s national dishes. Rawon is renowned for its distinctive dark color, which is achieved by using a key ingredient called “kluwek” or “keluak” (black nut).

The origins of rawon can be traced back to Java, where it was originally a dish prepared by the Javanese royal courts. Over time, it became a beloved and widely enjoyed dish throughout Indonesia. Rawon is often served on special occasions and celebrations, making it an integral part of Indonesian culinary heritage.

This hearty soup features tender pieces of beef, aromatic herbs and spices, and the unique kluwek paste. It is typically served with rice and a side of bean sprouts, lime wedges, and sambal (spicy chili paste). Rawon’s complex flavors, combining earthy, spicy, and tangy elements, make it a favorite among those who appreciate Indonesian cuisine.


Rawon is a traditional Indonesian beef soup that showcases the richness of the country's culinary heritage. What sets Rawon apart is its distinctive black color, which comes from the use of keluak, a black nut indigenous to Indonesia. The soup is made by simmering tender beef in a flavorful broth enriched with a variety of herbs and spices. The deep, earthy flavors of keluak, combined with the aromatic ingredients, create a harmony of taste that is both comforting and satisfying. Served with a side of steamed rice and a variety of condiments, Rawon is a complete and hearty meal that embodies the essence of Indonesian cuisine.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 2 hrs Rest Time 30 mins Total Time 3 hrs Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 6 Calories: 272.65 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepare the Keluak Paste:

  1. Soak the keluak nuts in water for 2-3 days, changing the water daily. This will soften the nuts and remove the toxins.

  2. After soaking, peel the nuts and grind them into a smooth paste using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Set aside.

Prepare the Spice Paste:

  1. In a mortar and pestle, grind the shallots, garlic, candlenuts or macadamia nuts, red chilies, galangal, ginger, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns into a smooth paste.

  2. If using shrimp paste, add it to the spice paste and mix well. (Omit the shrimp paste for a vegetarian version)

Brown the Beef:

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the beef chunks and brown them on all sides. This will add depth of flavor to the soup.

Add the Spice Paste and Aromatics:

  1. Lower the heat to medium and add the spice paste to the pot with the beef.

  2. Stir well to coat the beef with the spices.

  3. Add the bruised lemongrass stalks, kaffir lime leaves, and turmeric leaf (if using) to the pot.

Simmer the Beef:

  1. Pour the beef broth or water into the pot with the beef and spices.

  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer.

Prepare the Tamarind Paste:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the tamarind paste with a cup of hot water.

  2. Stir well to dissolve the tamarind paste.

Add Tamarind and Palm Sugar:

  1. Pour the tamarind mixture into the pot with the beef and spices.

  2. Add the palm sugar or brown sugar and salt to the pot.

  3. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

Cook Until Beef is Tender:

  1. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the flavors have melded together.

Add Coconut Milk (Optional):

  1. If using coconut milk, add it to the pot in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

  2. Stir well to incorporate the coconut milk into the soup.

Prepare the Condiments:

  1. While the soup is simmering, prepare the condiments for serving. Boil the bean sprouts and peel the boiled eggs.

Adjust Seasoning:

  1. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and tamarind paste if needed. The soup should have a perfect balance of savory, tangy, and slightly sweet flavors.

Serve the Rawon:

  1. To serve, place a scoop of cooked rice in a serving bowl.

  2. Ladle the hot Rawon soup over the rice.

  3. Garnish with boiled eggs, bean sprouts, fried shallots, and a lime wedge.

  4. Enjoy your flavorful and aromatic Rawon!

Nutrition Facts

Servings 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 272.65kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10.92g17%
Saturated Fat 2.28g12%
Cholesterol 54.01mg19%
Sodium 2462.1mg103%
Potassium 693.76mg20%
Total Carbohydrate 16.76g6%
Dietary Fiber 3.1g13%
Sugars 8.19g
Protein 29.04g59%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • Adjust the spiciness: You can adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or fewer chilies to the spice paste. If you prefer a milder soup, remove the seeds and membranes from the chilies before grinding them into the paste.
  • Vegetarian version: To make a vegetarian version of Rawon, simply omit the beef and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth. You can also add tofu or tempeh for added protein.
  • Using pre-ground spices: If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use pre-ground spices to make the spice paste. However, grinding fresh spices will give the soup a more robust flavor.
  • Customize the toppings: While bean sprouts, boiled eggs, fried shallots, and lime wedges are traditional toppings, you can also add other ingredients such as sliced green onions, shredded cabbage, or sliced tomatoes for added freshness and texture.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Rawon is traditionally served with a side of steamed white rice, but you can also enjoy it with rice cakes (ketupat) or rice noodles (bihun).
  • Pair the soup with a side of sambal, a spicy chili condiment, for those who enjoy an extra kick of heat.
Allergen Information:

Rawon's allergen information can vary depending on specific recipes and variations. Here are some common allergens to be aware of:

  • Shellfish: Some rawon recipes may include shrimp paste (terasi) or other shellfish-based ingredients. Check the recipe or ask about the ingredients to ensure it's shellfish-free if you have allergies.

  • Gluten: Rawon is traditionally gluten-free, but if you plan to use commercial soy sauce, double-check the label for gluten content if you have gluten sensitivity.

  • Nuts: While kluwek itself is not a nut allergen, it's crucial to check if any nuts or nut-based ingredients are used in the garnishes or accompaniments.

  • Soy: Soy sauce is a common ingredient in Indonesian cuisine, including rawon. If you have soy allergies, consider using a soy sauce alternative or ensuring that the soy sauce used is gluten-free and soy-free if necessary.

Wine or Drink Pairing:

Pairing beverages with rawon can enhance your dining experience by complementing the dish's flavors. Here are some drink options to consider:

  • Es Teh Manis: This is sweet iced tea, a popular beverage in Indonesia, and its sweetness can contrast nicely with the savory flavors of rawon.

  • Fresh Coconut Water: A refreshing and hydrating choice that complements the spiciness of rawon.

  • Tamarind Juice (Jus Asam): Tamarind's tartness pairs well with the richness of rawon, and it's a traditional Indonesian beverage.

  • Light Beer: A light, crisp beer can be a good choice to balance the bold flavors of rawon.

  • Sparkling Water: If you prefer a non-alcoholic option, sparkling water with a squeeze of lime can refresh your palate between bites.

Storage and Leftovers:

Rawon is best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, here's how to store them:

  • Refrigeration: Store leftover rawon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Be sure to allow it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

  • Freezing: Rawon can also be frozen for longer storage. Freeze it in portion-sized containers or resealable bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.

Keywords: Rawon, Indonesian beef soup, black nut soup, Javanese cuisine, traditional Indonesian recipe.

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