Spicy Indonesian Soup (Soto Ajam)
Adapted from Asia’s Undiscovered Cuisine by Rosemary Brissenden
For the broth
  • 1 Chicken, disjointed
  • 1 unpeeled yellow onion, quartered
  • 5¼ inch slices of ginger, bruised
  • 5¼ inch slices of fresh galangal, bruised
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, cut into 2 inch pieces and bruised
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ⅛ cup fish sauce (substitute soy sauce)
  • 2-3 fresh kaffir lime leaves (optional)
For the crispy chicken
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Final preparation
  • Fresh Chinese style noodles or udon, cooked and rinsed in cold water
  • Chopped green onions
  • Chopped celery, including leaves
  • Chopped cucumber, unpeeled
  • Crispy Chicken
  • Broth
  • Soft cooked eggs* (see note) one per bowl (optional)
  • Coarsely chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, Thai basil, or mint
  • Fried shallots** (see note)
  • Fried garlic** (see note)
  • Hot sauce, such as Sriracha, sambal badjak or sambal oelek
  • Lemon wedges
  1. In a large stockpot, add the chicken and all the rest of the broth ingredients. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered until the chicken is tender, but not falling apart, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from heat. Remove the chicken and place in a separate bowl until cool. Once cool, strain the broth in a colander or sieve, and place in the refrigerator. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, carefully remove the all the meat, and cut into small bite-size pieces. Add the tamarind concentrate, I teaspoon of salt and three tablespoons of water to the chicken and toss lightly. Heat the coconut oil in a wok or fry pan, and stir-fry until the edges are brown and slightly crisp. Place in a bowl and set aside until ready to serve. When the soup is cooled, skim the fat from the top of the broth, and return the broth to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  2. While the chicken is simmering, chop the celery, green onions, cucumber and put into separate bowls. If soft boiling eggs* (see note), boil the eggs and cool. Cook noodles and rinse, set aside in a separate bowl.
  3. To serve, have all the ingredients handy and the condiments on the table. Heat the broth until hot. To each bowl add the desired amount of noodles, followed by the desired about of chopped vegetables. Ladle the hot broth to cover, but leave room for garnishes. If adding egg, peel and slice soft cooked egg then add to bowl. Guests will all finish the soup at the table, by adding the desired garnishes.
*Note To Soft boil eggs leave eggs on the counter until room temperature. Bring a pan of water to a boil and reduce heat until so that you have a gentle boil. Gently lower the eggs into the water and boil for 6 minutes. While the eggs are boiling prepare an ice bath. After six minutes place the eggs in the ice bath to quickly cool. Leave in the shell until you are just about ready to use. They are nice when still a little warm or you can refrigerate for up to one day. Peel carefully so that you do not break the egg white.
**Note. I always keep a jar of fried shallots and fried garlic from the Asian market in my pantry. You can make your own if you have the time, but I find this to be a huge time saver! I also find numerous ways to use them!
Recipe by Have You Eaten, SF? at https://haveyoueatensf.com/spicy-indonesian-soup-soto-ajam/