“Must have soup” pretty much sums up this unofficial food tradition in my family. We have various kinds of soup year round, usually having the broth base of either oxtail or pork spare ribs, with whatever seasonal vegetables we can get our hands on (e.g. daikon, winter melon, corn, etc.). Once in a while chicken soup is also on the menu, usually providing the base for soup noodles.
This oxtail soup is made with one pound of oxtail. The bones are first dropped into a pot of boiling water so all the marrow and blood can be cleaned out— this first boil is then dumped out and all the bones should be rinsed before starting a new pot of water. This step is essential to making soups with beef and pork bones so that you will not end up having the gamey taste with all the marrowy/bloody mess floating atop. Once you bring the new pot of water to a boil, leave it to simmer for at least 3 hours. 4 tomatoes and 2 medium yellow onions are then added for texture and flavors. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
This soup makes a good stand-alone appetizer or can be the base for some rice noodles. One of the easiest yet most satisfying dishes any time of the year.