: Soto Ayam (Indonesian chicken noodle soup)

my soto ayam

This is the Indonesian version of chicken noodle soup. It’s packed full of ingredients that are great for fighting cold and flu symptoms. We’ve had our share of those this winter. This is actually an older photo of a batch of soto ayam I made a couple of years back. I thought it timely to post about it as we are all getting over the mother of all colds in our house.

I’ve toned it down, with slightly less spice. Also, instead of the traditional bean thread noodles (glass noodles), I used something a bit more substantial; egg noodles.

This is a hearty and social meal, because each person adds what they want to their own dish.

Half a sliced boiled egg is thrown in when serving. This is optional. It may seem a little odd, but is quite common in Indonesian and Malaysian soups. At least try it. You may find yourself adding a boiled egg in your future bowls of chicken soup!

(A) Spice Paste Ingredients:

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup sliced shallots

thumb size of ginger

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 lemon grass, just the bulb, sliced

1 tbsp vegetable oil

(B) Soup Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs chicken, skin & fat trimmed

3 liters water

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

2 tsp salt

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

6 oz. egg noodles

(C) Accompaniments Ingredients:

3 cups blanched and rinsed bean sprouts

1 cup green onion, sliced fine

2 cups finely shredded lettuce

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 lime, cut in wedges

1/4 cup chili sambal (if you like heat)

3 hard boiled eggs, halved

1/2 cup crispy fried shallots


First, trim your chicken and set aside. Prepare ingredients ‘A’ by grinding them into a paste.

In a large stock pot,over medium heat, add the ground ingredients. Fry until fragrant, then add the chicken. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the water. Cover and cook until chicken is completely cooked. Remove chicken into a large bowl with slotted spoon. Strain stock by pouring it over a large pot through a fine mesh strainer. Discard pulpy spice bits. You should now have a nice, clear broth. Return to heat and add the sliced carrots to the stock. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the egg noodles to the stock. Cook until noodles are done, then turn off heat.

Remove the chicken from the bones, shred, and set aside in a bowl. Prepare sprouts, lettuce, green onions, cilantro, limes, etc…basically, everything in ‘C’ ingredients. Each of these ingredients will be put into individual bowls.Cover with lids or plastic wrap, and set these bowls (along with the bowl of shredded chicken) on the dining table.

Gently reheat soup. Everyone will then add his or her own ingredients from the table, to their own bowl. Then, ladle over the hot soup, topping with garnishes.

Serves 6.