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The Best Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe (Soto Ayam)

Updated on March 20, 2015
Soto Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup)
Soto Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup) | Source

Among Indonesian noodle soups, soto is one of Indonesian national dish. This ubiquitous dish is made of various meats such as beef, chicken and mutton. It can be served with rice noodles or cellophane noodles, cabbage, bean sprouts, hard boiled egg and topped with savory rich broth. Hot chili sauce, lime wedges, sweet soy sauce, crackers, fried shallot flakes and spring onions are the common garnishes and condiments for enjoying soto.

One variant of soto is soto ayam, a popular noodle soup made of chicken and cellophane noodles. Unlike Western chicken noodle soup, this traditional soup, a native Java dish, is loaded with spices. Turmeric is used to give earthy flavor and golden yellow color to the broth. It's simply delicious. It tastes like chicken soup with a lot of spices and aromatics. .

This soup is eaten with steamed rice or lontong/ketupat rice cakes. It is served as part of meals. People from all walks of life enjoy this simple and tasty soup. Here is how to make soto ayam, a dangerously delicious soup from Java, Indonesia.

What You Need

Serves 4 - 8


3 lbs chicken pieces (bone-in)

2 1/2 quarts water

1 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp sugar

3 sprigs Chinese celery, chopped

2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 6 and bruised

5 kaffir lime leaves

1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 piece of galangal (1/2-inch), bruised

3 tbsp cooking oil

2 bundles of cellophane noodles (mung bean vermicelli)

Spice paste:

12 pcs kemiri (candlenut)

1 tsp white peppercorn

4 cloves garlic

5 pcs Asian shallot

1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

How to Fix

  • Put the chicken in a stockpot. Add water to cover. Uncover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the chicken for 5 minutes. Then dump the water and chicken pieces into the sink. Clean and scrap the pot from any residue. Rinse the chicken under running water. Drain.
  • Put 2 1/2 quarts of fresh water, chicken, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves. Bring to boil over high heat, then lower the heat to simmer. Simmer the chicken for about 45 minutes or until tender. Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside to cool. Skim off any floating scum as much as possible.
  • When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Discard the bones and skin.
  • Soak the glass noodle (cellophane noodle) in warm water for about 5 minutes or until soft. Then drain.
  • Cook the cellophane noodle in hot boiling water for about 1 minute or until transparent and soft. Then drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain. Set aside.
  • Put candlenut, garlic, shallot, turmeric powder, and white pepper in the food processor. Grind the spices into a smooth paste.
  • Heat a wok over high heat. Add cooking oil, coriander seeds and spice paste. Stir-fry for about 1 minute or until aromatic.
  • Transfer the spice paste stir-fry into the broth. Bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Then lower the heat into gentle simmer. Add Chinese celery. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust the flavors, add salt or pepper if necessary.
  • Divide the noodles in individual serving bowls. Then add chicken and hard boiled egg. Ladle the hot boiling soup on top and garnish with fried shallot flakes and spring onions.
  • Serve it hot with steamed rice and chili sauce (sambal), lime wedges, kerupuk (crackers), potato chips and or kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce).

Soto Ayam


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