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Braised oxtail

“Braised oxtail is very popular in Brazil,” says Burgess. “It’s a dish that’s deep in flavour, and fresh at the same time.”

By Luke Burgess & Deborah Blank
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 8
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Braised oxtail
"Braised oxtail, or rabada, is very popular in Brazil," says Luke Burgess. "It's a dish that's deep in flavour, and fresh at the same time. The watercress adds bite and the tamarind acidity." 


  • 140 ml olive oil
  • 3 kg oxtail pieces
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 bunch Asian celery (see note), finely diced
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 200 ml tamarind liquid (see note)
  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp white peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • Watercress sprigs, to serve


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180C. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large casserole over low heat, add oxtail in batches and brown well all over (3-4 minutes), then transfer to a plate. Add remaining oil to casserole along with onion, garlic, celery, tomato, tamarind liquid, thyme, bay leaves and spices, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low again and simmer for 5 minutes. Return oxtail to pan, season to taste, cover and braise in oven until tender but still on the bone (2-2¼ hours). Check seasoning and serve scattered with watercress.


For tamarind liquid, dissolve 1 tsp tamarind purée in 90ml hot water. Asian celery is available from Asian greengrocers. If it's unavailable, substitute the stalks of the heart of regular celery.