'akwa - Traditional Yemeni Oxtail Stew

READY IN: 9hrs 10mins
Recipe by Um Safia

This is a very traditional dish from Yemen and is made with Oxtail - hence it's name 'Akwa (this is the Yemeni word for Oxtail or literally "the thickest part of the tail". It has one of the lengthiest cooking times I've encountered, but really is worth the wait (& you can get on with your chores whilst it's cooking as it needs little attention). I have a feeling that this could also be tweaked a little to accommodate crock pot cooking! 'Akwa is also commonly eaten during the month of Ramadan.

Top Review by Annacia

Simply delicious. I cut the amount to 4 which made 2 servings for each of us and more closely fit the amount on oxtails that I had. Lots of well developed flavor and very rich tasting tender meat. The cooking rime was no problem. I made it on a very cold (in the -30's) with a heavy wind and it was comforting to have something wonderful in the pot smelling oh so good and making the house feel so cozy.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Rinse the oxtail, then place in a large casserole & cover with water. BRing to a gentle boil over a medium heat. Reduce the heat to low & skim the surface of any foam until there is very little left.
  2. Crush the peppercorns, caraway seeds & saffron together in a spice mill / coffee grinder or mortar & pestle. Stir in the fenugreek, turmeric & salt.
  3. Add the tomatoes, onions, garlic & spice mix to the oxtail. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to as nlow as possible - you may find a diffuser useful for this. Cover tightly & keep on a gentle simmer for 3 hours.
  4. Uncover & continue to cook until the meat is incredibly tender, for another 5-6 hours - you will see the meat falling off the bone when it hits this point and it is ready to serve!
  5. To serve it in the traditional manner, serve with a rice pilaf. You could also eat this with pleny of bread & salad.

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