Soup Kambing (Lamb Rib Soup)


Soup kambing is a thin spicy lamb or mutton soup, usually served with crusty cubes of bread and a good dash of white pepper and soya sauce. It is also very difficult to photograph and posed a real challenge for my mobile phone camera. For a photographer’s daughter, I take terrible pictures. I’m lucky my dad doesn’t follow my blog. Otherwise I would be disowned!

Anyway ignore the image above and trust me with this recipe. Soup Kambing does require quite a bit of prep work and has a long list of ingredients. Nut it is so worth the effort and once you get started, the recipe will make sense and the steps will flow easily. The slow cooker also does most of the work. I served my soup kambing with home made bread and I wouldn’t recommend serving it with rice. You really do need good crusty bread to soak up the goodness. Ingredients and method listed below – take a deeeeep breath before proceeding. May the force be with you.

(a) You’ll need:

  • 1 kg lamb ribs
  • 2 large onions (halved – leave the skin on)
  • 1 head garlic (halved – leave the skin on)
  • 2 inch piece ginger (sliced thinly – leave the skin on)
  • 1 pandan leaf (tie into a knot)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 green chillies (slice in half)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon Baba’s meat curry powder (or any good quality curry powder)

(b) You’ll need:

  • 1 leek (slice the white part finely, discard green part)
  • 3 cloves garlic (remove skin)
  • 1 inch piece ginger (slice finely)
  • 1 tomato (de-seed and chop)
  • Oil
  • Pinch of salt

(c) You’ll need:

  • 3 green cardamon pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon Baba’s meat curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

(d) You’ll need (dry roast and grind to a fine powder):

  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon thai seasoning (optional)

(e) You’ll need (to serve):

  • Finely chopped Chinese Celery leaves (or coriander)
  • Fried shallots (store bought)
  • Fried garlic (store bought)
  • Soya sauce
  • White pepper


The night before you plan to serve the soup, place all ingredients from (a) into a slow cooker. Cover with water. Cook on low overnight. The next morning, skim as much fat off the stock as you can. Remove the ribs from the pot. Pull out the bones and take off as much sinew and fat as you. Shred meat and set aside. Sieve the stock and set aside.

In a large pot, heat a little oil and add leeks. Cook until soft. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until garlic is brown. Add tomatoes and cook until soft. Blend into a smooth puree, add a little water if needed. Set aside.

In the same pot, add a little more oil. Add ingredients (c). Then add blended leek paste and cook until fragrant and oil comes to surface. Add shredded meat and fry well. Once well mixed and fragrant. Add reserved stock and enough water to thin the soup. Add ingredients (d). Stir well and boil covered on a low heat.

Just before serving, check seasoning and adjust per taste. Sprinkle Chinese Celery leaves, fried shallots and garlic, white pepper and soy. Serve hot with fresh bread. Enjoy!

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