Trinidadian Stewed Oxtail with Lentils

Growing up with a Dad who is Chinese-Trinidadian and a Mom who is Filipina, our meals were always flavourful, ecclectic, and "different" from the food my friends grew up eating. We were having "fusion" dishes long before the term became popular! Now that I've married a beef farmer, I need to find different ways to cook with beef! My husband and our 4 year old daughter love their fruit, veg, legumes, grains and MEAT. I have no problems getting them to try new and different foods. This Trinidadian Oxtail dish is adapted from my Dad's recipe. I made a few changes and also added red lentils (because I love them so much)!

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Oxtail 1 lb
Masoor dal (red lentils) 1 cup
Onion, chopped 1 large
Garlic, chopped 4 cloves
Potato, diced 2 large
Brown sugar 2 Tbsp
Black pepper 1/2 tsp
Oregano 1 tsp
Thyme 1 tsp
Soy sauce 1/2 cup
Oil (for cooking) 3 Tbsp
Water enough to cover meat
Prepare those lentils
  1. You don't have to soak lentils like you do beans or chickpeas. They cook rather quickly. Just put them in a bowl of water to wash them. Set aside for later.

Brown that Oxtail
  1. In a heavy Dutch Oven or pressure cooker, heat cooking oil. Add brown sugar to oil and heat over medium heat until golden. 

  2. Add chopped onion and garlic. Add oxtail and stir. Make sure to coat oxtail evenly in caramelized sugar.

  3. Add black pepper, oregano, and thyme. Make sure to stir and not let the sugar burn.

Make the Stew
  1. Let oxtail cook in its own juices for 10 minutes in Dutch oven. 

  2. Add soy sauce and enough water to cover the meat. 

  3. Cook in covered Dutch oven for 20 minutes.

  4. Add diced potato and lentils. The water will have evaporated as the meat cooked down. Add more water (just enough to cover mixture again). Cook for 20 more minutes or until oxtail is tender. The cooked potato and lentils will thicken up the stew.


  1. This dish is traditionally served with steamed rice. If you'd like to garnish, you can add some chopped parsley. Serve with a salad or eat it as it is (with rice).

by Chef Christine

© 2013 Canadian Lentils