Posts Tagged ‘Soto Ayam’

Last Summer my family made a trip to Kuching; a very much delayed trip of 7 years’ overdue. While I was in 7th heaven binging foods I grew up eating, my Belgian hubs and Belsian boys were craving for their Belgian fries. Erm… I guess I could totally understand their cravings, because that’s what happened to me this Summer!

We were in the South of France for 2 weeks, consuming local Provençal’s 3-course meals almost daily. And guess what? My palate was screaming for SPICES!!! 

When we headed home, I was longing for that one dish that’s packed with spices and fresh herbs. Because I had been “pampered” with served meals while in the Provence, it was hard getting back to cooking mode. By the way, I have not been using my thermomix for almost a month! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

Therefore, one weekend, I moved my thermie and placed it under the extractor hood. My mission? To appease my craving. Yup, I was craving for the Indonesian inspired dish, “soto ayam” because that’s one tantalising dish that’s packed with all the goodness of spices and fresh herbs. No ready-made or instant boemboes! Everything was fresh and cooked from scratch… in my thermie!

If you are wondering what “Soto” means, I was as blur as most of you, so I asked the right people, my Indonesian colleagues. They said it’s a soup dish. Yes, I knew it’s a soup dish, but what is soto? I did not get an answer right away but they went on to explain that usually chicken meat is submerged in water with specific spices and herbs to obtain the broth.

Okay, in my humble opinion, soto is not just a simple soup dish, it’s the method how the broth is made. My Indonesian colleagues agreed to my curious conclusion. 

And by the way, I used fresh turmeric to give the broth that vibrant yellow look, while poaching and simmering the chicken in the broth. It’s such a healthy dish, with lots of flavour and very, very aromatic.

Two years ago, I posted the soto ayam recipe done the conventional way, so in this post, I’m going the opposite direction. 

The Revival

Since our Summer hols in August, my thermomix had been left idle for about a month! When I started cooking the soto ayam, my thermie went bonkers. The sound of the blades spinning was not normal. It sounded rusty. I was hoping the squeaky sound would go away. It did not, until I started to boil the chicken. Guess what?!!! My thermie stopped cooking completely in the first 4 to 5 minutes. And I still had so many more minutes to go before the raw chicken meat was cooked!! Oh no!!!! Not now. So I did what I had to do, i.e. removed the plug and then re-plugged. At the same time, I had to re-start the menu. I felt like a surgeon reviving a comatose. Thank goodness, the ‘flatline’ re-acted and my thermie came back to life! It was a HUGE relief! Phew!!!

And here’s how I cooked my Soto Ayam, which I have personally translated as Fragrant Herbed Chicken Soup, because that’s what it actually is!

Ingredients A

  • 5g Sarawak white peppercorns 
  • 5g coriander seeds

Ingredients B

  • 70g garlic
  • 230g shallots
  • 50g galangal
  • 10g (1 stalk) lemongrass 
  • 25g turmeric 
  • 65g ginger
  • 20g candle nuts
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves

Ingredients C

  • 60g coconut oil

Ingredients D

  • 8 pcs (ca 1 kg) chicken drumsticks 
  • 800g water
  • 4 stalks lemon grass (bruised)
  • A palmful kaffir lime leaves (bruised)
  • Coarse sea salt to taste

Ingredients E

  • 8 – 9 medium-sized eggs placed in Varoma dish 

Ingredients F

  • 500g hot water


  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Fried shallots (not in photo)
  • Spring onion 
  • Fresh coriander
  • Mint leaves 


  1. Place A in TM bowl. Dry roast for 10 mins/ V/ sp 1. Mill the toasted spices when temp drops below 60C. Mill for 1 min/ sp 6->10/ MC
  2. Tip the ground spices onto a clean plate/ bowl. Set aside
  3. Meanwhile add B and blend for 15 sec/sp 10. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and under the lid. Again, blend for 15 sec/ sp 10.  
  4. Add C and ground spices A and sauté for 15 mins/ V/ sp 1
  5. Add D. Cook for 15 mins/V/R/ spoon
  6. Place E on top of TM bowl and cook / boil further for 17 mins/ V/ R/ spoon (or until the eggs are boiled according to your liking or better still, use the TM5 recipe chip and boil the eggs separately. I like mine with firm white and runny yolk. Heaven!  )
  7. Remove Varoma dish and cool eggs under cold running water. Set aside.
  8. Remove cooked chicken. Set aside 
  9. Meanwhile add F and check the seasoning of the broth. Boil further for 5 mins/ 100 C/ R/ spoon
  10. Before drizzling the hot spiced broth, plate the sliced cooked chicken in a (deep) bowl and garnish with thinly stripped cucumber, coriander leaves, spring onions and mint leaves. Place a hard or medium or soft boiled egg on top and sprinkle with fried shallots/ onions.
  11. Pour the hot broth slowly over the chicken.
  12. Serve with steamed white basmati rice (which I also cooked in my thermie)

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words!

Sinfully yummy. One of the best comfort foods 🙂

Mmmmm….Simply gorgeous!

I served my soto ayam with steamed basmati rice.

My Verdict?

When my thermie stopped cooking in the first 5 minutes, I felt my whole world came crashing down around me! It was that bad. I was thinking that I had prepared everything for nothing. That’s just not me. I wanted to see, or better still, taste the end result. It appears that the thermie must not be left idle for a long time. It needs attention and wearing, therefore, TM owners, keep your thermie busy! 

Now, the verdict for the dish. Usually I would serve the soto ayam with vermicelli or noodles. This was the first time I had the fragrant herbed chicken broth with steamed rice. It was a complete meal which we all liked, but personally, I would serve the broth with rice noodles. As you can see, the egg was supposed to be hard-boiled, but it turned out soft, which we all liked, too 😀

With the summer temperatures behind us, this dish will be made quite frequently now. This dish is pure comfort food for cold weather. 

So I made this dish again with rice vermicelli, and making sure to boil the eggs separately as per the recipe chip. 

Et voilà!

Yummy !!!!

Stay warm! 


Last Friday evening I left work for home earlier than normal as I did not feel well at all.  I felt nauseous and sweaty and could actually hear my stomach churning.

Oh no… not now, I whispered. 

There were a million and one stars spinning in my head.  I felt really lousy and lightheaded while the abdominal cramps were acting up. I was definitely not prepared for all that!

Nine Times and a Centenary!

When I got home, I was so relieved because I knew where to head for instantly nine times (!) in less than 5 hours… 

It was one of my worst bouts of diarrhoea in a long time 😦

I felt extremely weak and dehydrated from losing so much fluid. I downed 3 bottles (on separate intervals) of the po chai pills (equivalent to the better-known-to-Malaysians chi kit teck aun pills) with plenty of lukewarm water.  My stomach churned more aggressively.  It must be the pills battling with the bacteria.  I could not do anything else that evening than lay on the sofa with 2 blankets over me, like a 100-year old woman.

Speaking of 100-year old, that’s the main reason I wanted to get well speedily before the end of the week. My husband and I were invited for the 100th birthday anniversary of a friend’s Father In-law.  Now, that’s a special event that I would not miss.  Anyway, how many of us have actually seen or crossed paths with a century old human being in the flesh? That was a chance in a lifetime, really! I was looking forward to it.

Oh by the way, I did not live on the po chai pills and lukewarm water only.  I had one banana, a few dry crackers, plain yoghurt and lots of mint tea – worked a charm for me!

Hungry Saturday

I felt a lot better the next morning, sipping my hot mint tea and some crackers for breakfast.

Usually, I do not spend a lot of time in the kitchen on Saturdays, but I was yearning for Soto Ayam – an Indonesian spicy (yellow) chicken soup, which I made from scratch for our Saturday lunch.

The key and main ingredient of this chicken soup is turmeric, which turned the broth to a blazing saffron orangey-yellowy colour

1. Soto Ayam_turmeric1a. Soto Ayam_ yellow chix broth

If I had to describe Soto Ayam, I would say – simply – that the dish is a distant cousin of the Sarawak laksa 😀

Here’s a picture collage of my homemade Sarawak laksa I made not so long ago (yes, I made my own paste!). Instead of the conventional omelette, I used hardboiled eggs, and believe you me; it’s a lot healthier if you made your own paste 😉

2. Soto Ayam vs Sarawak Laksa

Fresh is THE word… not Grease!

After the horrendous bout of diarrhoea on Friday, I wanted my Saturday free from pre-packed and greasy foods.  Soto Ayam was the perfect choice as a tummy soother 😀

As this was an impromptu dish, I had to make do with what I could rummage in my kitchen cupboards, refrigerator and freezer. I had most of the ingredients to incorporate the mildly spiced yet tasty chicken broth.

Perhaps the only item I lacked was shallots.  The recipe which I got from an Indonesian friend requires plenty of shallots. I had only two shallots left and luckily they were big ones. On the other hand, I had a few onions to spare.  I was surprised with the alternative result.  It was an absolute winner!

So folks, think out of the box. You’ll be amazed by being unconventional 😉


(Serves 4-5)

1 packet rice vermicelli

For the broth –

Chicken (I used one whole frozen chicken, thawed overnight. Personally, 4 chicken legs would be better)
Ginger slices
Kaffir lime leaves (plenty)
Lemon grass (I used 3 because I had only 3 left in the fridge. 4 or 5 should be great)
Enough water to cover the chicken

For the paste –

1 onion
2 large shallots
1 knob garlic
4 cm piece ginger
5 cm piece turmeric (I used 3 x 5cm)
5 cm piece galangal (I used 3 x 5cm)
8 candlenuts
4 Thai chillies
Olive Oil

For the garnish ( I used my imagination) –

Cucumber strips
Green beans – cooked any way you like. I stir fried mine with garlic, soy sauce and chilli flakes
Hardboiled eggs
Lemon wedge
Chicken shreds (from the boiled whole chicken)
Fish balls (optional)
Prawns (optional)
Crispy fried shallots (unfortunately this was not in the picture L )
Prawn crackers (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method –

1)      Boil the chicken in a deep soup pot. I discarded the first round of boiled broth as there were too much scum floating on the surface of the pot. I then changed the water several times until the water was clearer. Boil the chicken a second time over medium heat. Throw in fresh ginger slices and torn kaffir lime leaves

2)      Meanwhile blend all the wet ingredients and candlenuts to form a paste

3)      Sauté the paste together with the slightly bruised lemon grass until fragrant and transfer the paste to the chicken broth. Season with salt (and/ or chicken stock cube) and pepper

4)      Stir the broth to combine the paste into the liquid and continue to boil the chicken soup covered

5)      When the chicken is tender and starts to fall apart, remove from the broth and start shredding the meat off the bones

6)      Boil some water and pour onto the rice vermicelli. Let stand until the rice noodles become limp but not lumpy.  Drain under cold running water. Set aside.

7)      Prepare the garnish of your choice 😀

8)      That’s IT!

3. Soto Ayam_whole chix4. Soto Ayam_major ingredients

4a. Soto Ayam_major ingredients blended4c. Soto Ayam_major ingredients sauteed

5. Soto Ayam_mixed5b. Soto Ayam_mixed2

6. Soto Ayam_shredded chix7. Soto Ayam_garnish

8a. Soto Ayam_without lemon8. Soto Ayam_with lemonIt was a simple dish, but one that fought the battle of the runs.  The thrill of Victory!! Yay! 😀

Oh yes, my husband and I made it to the 100th birthday of opa (grandpa) Harry as he is fondly called by his circle of friends on Sunday.  We had great moments meeting up friends whom we have not met in years.

A Blessed Centenary to you, opa Harry! You looked the same one year ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago.  I wonder what his secret ingredient to a youthful look is…. 

9. Opa Harry

10. Opa Harry

11. Cake111a. Cake2

And by the way, the centenary birthday cake was specially made and decorated by my friend.  Good job, F!

I am linking this post to the following events –

Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads – Thinking, Reading, Photographing

Weekend Cooking

Cooking With Herbs Challenge for February 2014 hosted by Karen Burns-Booth of  Lavender and Lovage


Enjoy the rest of the week.