01/22/2016 05:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Oxtail Soup with Butternut Squash and Winter Melon


I have just had a baby girl and I am breastfeeding. When my mother comes to visit, she prepares this very quick one pot wonder of magic which she claims what makes good milk and that women all over Vietnam are eating this to promote healthy nutrition for mother and baby. It is delicious whether you are breastfeeding or not! Daddy loves it too.

Serves 2

330g large oxtail chunks, ask butcher to slice into 1 inch thick
1.2 litres water
200g butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1 inch square chunks
200g winter melon, peeled, cut into 1 inch slices (or courgette, marrow, green papaya, lotus)
salt and pepper to season
2tbs premium quality fish sauce
coriander to garnish (optional)


To gain a clean and clear broth, clean the oxtail pieces by boiling it for 5 minutes, then drain and clean the oxtail pieces under running water.

Clean the saucepan and fill with 1.2 litres of water and bring to the boil. Add the oxtail and a good pinch of salt and cook on a medium simmer for half an hour with a lid on.

Prepare the vegetables, add the squash and winter melon to the oxtail broth and season with fish sauce and cook for a further 20 - 30 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of coriander, black pepper and enjoy with a crusty baguette - with or without plenty of butter.

TIP: you can make much more by doubling up. It's great to have over a couple of days. I've suggested a combination of butternut squash and winter melon but it could be a combination of this with marrow, parsnips, carrots, courgettes, lotus. You can see what you have going in the fridge. Cook softer vegetables for less time towards the end.

Use any herb you fancy.