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Indonesian Bakso Recipe

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This bakso recipe is so easy and delicious too!

Indonesian bakso is normally made with minced beef but while visiting friends in Cardiff, we cooked up an amazing leg of PGI Welsh Lamb one night in a pizza oven. Not one to let good things go to waste, I chopped up the lamb bone and made a stock with it so that we could try a new recipe from the cookbook I’m writing.

The next day we went out and purchased some minced Welsh Lamb and I made this tasty lamb bakso that you’ve simply got to try.

Finished lamb bakso recipe plated up to serve

This bakso recipe can be made over a couple of days making it is a really easy and convenient meal.

What is bakso?

As I mentioned above, this dish is usually made with ground beef that is minced really fine and then made into meatballs. The meatballs are then simmered in a flavoured broth and served with vegetables such as bok choi, bean sprouts and chillies which are all optional. You might like to use other veggies in yours.

Believe me… The Welsh Lamb we used to make this bakso was just as good as if not better than the beef version I had made several times before.

How do you make the meatballs?

This is a really simple recipe! There are many different versions of bakso but the recipes are usually quite similar.

First you need to put the ground lamb into a food processor and blend it until you have a really smooth paste. Then you add cornstarch (corn flour), minced garlic, a little salt, white pepper and baking powder. The amounts of each are listed below in the step by step photos as well as the recipe card below.

You then blend it all again and you’re ready to start preparing the meat balls.

How difficult is it to form the meatballs?

It’s not difficult at all but you do need to make them as round and smooth as possible. This isn’t just any meatball dish after all!

For best results, you will need to place a bowl of ice-cold water next to the meat. Wet your hands with the cold water and then pick up a small handful of the minced lamb. Squeeze the meat between your thumb and index finger until you have a small golf ball sized meatball and then break it off.

Wet your hands again and roll it between your hands until it is really smooth on the exterior. Repeat until you have loads of meatballs ready to simmer.

Do I have to make homemade lamb stock in this bakso recipe?

A good stock is the backbone of so many tasty recipes. So if I am making bakso, I make my own stock. It’s nice to know what went into it. Personally, I think you will find that the flavour is better than anything you can purchase too.

You could purchase a good quality lamb stock but it will not be the same. The lamb bakso will still taste great but it will look and taste different.

The reason for this is simple. The recipe for the stock that I have given below was prepared in an Asian way which is different to how most stocks are prepared for western cuisine.

What is the difference between Asian and Western meat stocks?

In the west, the bones are usually roasted until nicely charred on the exterior. This not only add flavour but gives the stock a darker colour. The main reason the bones are roasted, however is to get rid of any impurities such as blood that are on the bones so that you get a clearer stock in the end.

The Asian way to do this is to first boil the bones and then wash them thoroughly before placing them back in the stockpot to simmer for a few hours. This results in a lighter stock that is clear when finished.

Do I have to use a leftover lamb bone for the stock?

Nope. I did because it was convenient. Although the leg of lamb I cooked was nicely charred on the exterior, the bone inside was still light enough to use in an Asian style stock.

For a good Asian meat stock, you just need clean, fresh bones. You could use any lamb bones you have or ask you butcher for some. My butcher gives them to me free of charge as will most butchers. That or they will charge you a very small amount. If your butcher tries to charge you a lot for lamb bones, go find another butcher. 

What is kecap manis?

Kecap manis is a popular ingredient in Indonesian cooking. It is a thick, sweet soy sauce and you can purchase it here.

You can also easily make it. Take equal amounts of light soy sauce and light brown sugar and simmer it until it is a thick sauce consistency. It will keep for ages in the fridge.

As I am American and work often using cup measures, I use 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup sugar. You can scale that up or down depending on how much you want to make but that is enough for this recipe.

Step by step bakso recipe photos…

Bakso Stock ready to cook

I cooked my stock in a pizza oven overnight. You can just simmer it for about 4 hours and it will be perfect.

Finished bakso stock

The stock tastes amazing cooked with the meat bone and all those herbs. This stock is one of the things that makes this bakso recipe so amazing!

Blended meat for bakso meatballs

While the stock is simmering, you can prepare the meatballs. Blend to a paste and then add the other ingredients and blend some more.

Ice water ready to form the meatballs

Once blended, place some ice water next to the meat.

Forming bakso meatballs

Wet your hand with the ice water and then grab a handful of the meat mixture. Squeeze it into a small ball and bread it off.

Wet your hands with the water and roll each meatball between your hand until you have a smooth surface.

simmering meatballs in the stock

Strain the stock and then simmer the meatballs in batches until cooked through.

Making ketchup manis

I didn’t have any ketcap manis so I made my own. Simmer equal amounts of brown sugar and soy sauce.

Homemade kecap manis

Reduce the soy sauce and sugar down until you have a thick sauce like ketchup


If you like this bakso recipe, you might also like to try some of these.

Indonesian Chicken Sate
Indonesian Fried Chicken
Sambal Oelek – Indonesian hot sauce
Chicken with Sambal Matah
Babi Kecap
Spicy Green Beans Indonesian Style
Soto Ayam
Ikan Bakar – Indonesian Fried Fish
Nasi Goreng
Mee Goreng
Sambal La La – Spicy Clams
Indonesian Blackened Fish
Seafood Laksa
Chicken Rendang
Beef Rendang
Butter Egg Floss Prawns
Malaysian Chicken Curry
Malaysian Devil Curry
Ayam Masak Merah – Malaysian Red Chicken Curry
Chicken Kapitan
Homemade Kecap Manis

Have you tried this bakso recipe?

If so, please give it a star rating in the comments below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

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Yield: 4 - 6

Indonesian Bakso Recipe Made with Welsh Lamb

bakso recipe complete

This is a delicious and authentic bakso recipe that is normally made with beef. This time I made it with Welsh Lamb and the result is delicious. I promise!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes


  • 1.5kg (3 lbs) Lamb or beef bones
  • 2.5 L (10 cups) water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 spring onions (scallions) roughly chopped
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inch) ginger, sliced into rounds and lightly crushed
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 x 2.5cm cinnamon
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 500g (1 ¼ lb) Lamb or beef mince
  • 75g cornflour (corn starch) or tapioca flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 225g (1/2 lb.) rice vermicelli
  • Bean sprouts
  • Bak choi
  • Red chillies
  • Fried shallots
  • Kecap manis
  • Chilli sambal


  1. Start by preparing your bakso stock. Place the lamb bones in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring this to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Be sure to skim off any foam and other impurities that rise to the top. Then pour the bones into a large colander, discarding the water.
  2. Now wash the bones thoroughly, removing any blood and goop you see on the bones. Place the bones back in the saucepan and cover with 2.5 litres (10 cups) water. Bring to a simmer and continue skimming if needed. Add the onion,
    spring onions (scallions), ginger, garlic, star anise and cinnamon. Cover and simmer over a medium heat for at least 3 hours.
  3. While the stock is simmering, prepare the meatballs. Place the lamb in a food processor and blend until you have a thick paste. Add the remaining meatball ingredients and continue blending until thoroughly combined.
  4. Now place a bowl of ice water near the blended meat mixture. Wet your hands with the cold water and then grab a small handful of the meat. Squeeze the meat between your thumb and index finger until you have a golfball sized ball and break it off. Dip your hands back in the water and roll this meatball between your hand until smooth and round. Repeat with the remaining meat and place on a plate in the fridge until your stock is ready.
  5. When your stock if ready, strain it and discard everything but the stock of course. Wash the pan with water and and pour the stock back into it. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Add the prepared meatballs.
  6. The meatballs will sink to the bottom and then rise to the top and float when cooked. If adding bak choi, you might want to simmering it in the stock too but that isn't essential. It will cook anyway in the hot broth.
  7. To serve, place the rice vermicelli in a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to soak in the water for about ten minutes or for as long as the instructions say to do so on the package. Strain.
  8. Now divide the rice vermicelli between 4 to 6 bowls. Place the cooked meatballs in each bowl too and cover with the hot broth.
  9. Add extras to your liking. I like to drizzle the bakso with kecap manis and chilli sambal. Fried shallots are also a nice touch.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 1185mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g

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