Often sighted in mamaks, Soto Ayam has become a staple soup dish in Malaysia. With its light and spicy turmeric soup with a herby aftertaste; this dish is a comfort food for many.
It is best eaten with a choice of either rice or vermicelli noodles. It is undoubtedly a versatile dish that is a popular main amongst Malaysians. With the most common toppings being potatoes, chicken, and hard-boiled eggs. This variation in toppings and broth are available throughout the many Soto Ayam stalls in Malaysia.
Origin of Soto Ayam
The origin of the dish is from Indonesia, where even within the country, different variations of the dish exist. Some examples are Soto Ambegan and Soto Banjar.
Although not as spicy as other Indonesian or Malaysian cuisines; it packs a flavourful punch with its yellow and thick chicken broth. For spice lovers, you can add the sambal, Koya, into the dish for a spicy touch.
Soto Ayam Recipe: How to Make Authentic Soto AyamDifficulty: Normal
For this recipe, we will be making the Soto Ayam with vermicelli noodles instead of rice. In preparation for making this dish, you would probably have to visit the supermarket to collect a few herbs and spices.
1.4 kg of chicken (about 1 whole chicken), cut into 4 pieces
8 cups of water
2 stalks of lemongrass (cut into quarters)
4 kaffir lime leaves
8 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 shallots (finely chopped)
5 cm of fresh ginger (peeled, finely grated)
1 ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
2 tablespoons of oil
100 g of bean thread vermicelli noodles
2 shallots (thinly sliced)
3 hard-boiled eggs (peeled, quartered)
65 g of bean sprouts
¼ cup of fresh coriander leaves
- Firstly, in a saucepan, place the chicken and add water, lemongrass, lime leaves, half of the garlic, and salt. Over medium-high heat, boil the mixture. After a while, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the saucepan. Let it simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Next, leaving the poaching liquid, remove the chicken to a separate plate, and let it cool slightly. Then, remove and discard the skin and bones of the chicken, and shred it. Transfer the shredded chicken into a bowl.
- Using a mortar and pestle, add shallot, ginger, and the remaining garlic. Pound them until a coarse paste is formed. Then, add cumin, ground coriander and peppercorns; and pound until the peppercorns are crushed. Stir in turmeric.
- After that, in a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Then, transfer the crushed mixture into the saucepan and stir for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the mixture into the reserved poach (the one from boiling the chicken), and boil over high heat.
- After a while, reduce the heat to medium. Allow the soup to simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavour sit. Then, strain the soup through a fine sieve into a large bowl, and season it according to your preference with salt.
- Finally, cook the vermicelli noodles as specified in the packet direction, then divide it among 4 bowls. Top the noodles with shredded chicken, shallot, egg, bean sprout, and fresh coriander. Lastly, pour the soup in the bowl, and your Soto Ayam is ready to be served!
Ways to Enjoy Soto Ayam
After you’ve mastered the basic for the dish, you can customise it according to your preference. For starters, you can replace the vermicelli noodles with rice—Lontong, then gradually move on to exploring the soup and toppings.
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