Soto Ayam

This weekend I finally had an opportunity to make soto ayam, a recipe shared from my friend Hans who lived in Indonesia for a number of years.  Soto ayam is a chicken coconut curry soup with lots of ginger and its relative galangal, also an aromatic tuber.

soto ayam without toppings

The soup itself is flavorful, but you can see from this picture that it doesn’t look very exciting, even with the chicken chunks and rice at the bottom of the bowl.  What makes this dish a fun party food (and a fresh and hearty meal) is all the toppings that go with it!

soto ayam

Isn’t that better?  This recipe is included in our Flavors of the Triangle cookbook (now on sale at the Ten Thousand Villages store in Cameron Village, Raleigh).

Soto Ayam
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 shallots (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (ground or finely chopped)
1 Tbsp. turmeric powder
2-inch piece galangal (peeled, ground)
2-inch piece ginger (peeled, ground)
Vegetable oil
2 glasses water
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1 stalk of lemon grass (cut into 3 strips)
Breast meat from 1 chicken (cubed, about 1.5-2 lbs.)
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Warm the spices (coriander through ginger) in a large stock pot, then add a bit of oil to cook lightly, until it turns slightly brown and fragrant. Add water, chicken broth, coconut milk, and lemon grass strips. When the broth is boiling, add the chicken, then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add salt to taste, and season with fresh lime juice.

Serve (with sambal – hot chili paste) over cooked rice, then let your guests add:

2 c. chopped, blanched green cabbage
2 eggs, cut into wedges
2 c. bean sprouts
3 Tbsp. chopped celery leaves
1 small package soaked glass noodles
Crushed potato chips
2 limes, cut into wedges

I’d estimate that this amount of soup serves about 8 people.

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