I don’t know a ton about Indonesian food, but it seems to be a mix of Chinese and Malay flavors. Soto Ayam is one of Indonesia’s most popular dishes – often served as street food, and for breakfast – and it is full of rich spices and tantalizing aroma, making for a very tasty meal. I was inspired to cook this for a friend who had a cold, as chicken soup of any sort seems to help when you’re feeling under the weather! All of the ingredients below should be readily available at an Asian market. I’m also obsessed with spicy food, so there is a recipe for sambal below, the peppery condiment that kicks up the heat on whatever you put it on.
INDONESIAN SOTO AYAM
1/2 chicken breast meat, skinless and deboned (cut into small cubes)
1 stalk of lemon grass (cut into 3 strips)
1 can of coconut milk
1 can of chicken broth
1 glass of water
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
4 shallots (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 pieces of turmeric (peeled and chopped) or 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
2-inch piece of galangal (peeled and sliced)
2-inch piece of ginger (peeled and sliced)
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
2 cups of sliced cabbages
2 cups of bean sprouts
1/2 pack of vermicelli or 1 small package of glass noodles
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 hard-boiled eggs (cut into wedges)
1 bunch coriander
1 stalk of spring onion (chopped)
Blend the spice paste in a food processor or high speed blender. Add some water if needed. Pour some oil in a pot and add in the spice paste. Stir the spice paste and wait for it to turn light brown. Add in chicken broth, coconut milk, lemon grass strips, and water. Once the broth starts boiling, add in chicken breast cubes. Cover the pot and lower the heat and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Blanch beansprouts, pre-soaked vermicelli / glass noddles, cabbages in another pot of boiling water and transfer them into a bowl once they are cooked. Add in toppings of hard-boiled eggs, chopped spring onions and pour the hot chicken broth into the bowl. Serve hot with lime wedges and sambal (see recipe below).
3 tablespoons oil
¼ cup minced onion
1 -2 tablespoon minced garlic
4 -6 teaspoons tinydried red chilies, crushed or 4 -6 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
1/3 cup finely minced fresh tomato
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons molasses
In a small frying pan or in a wok, heat the oil and stir fry the onions and garlic. After a minute, add the hot pepper flakes or dried chiles. Reduce heat and stir constantly so the peppers don’t burn. As soon as the flakes darken a little, add the rest of the ingredients and on the lowest heat, cook the sambal until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. The final product should be so well cooked that you can’t detect the tomatoes. Refrigerated, this will keep for months.