Tuesday, January 13, 2009
SPICY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP- SOTO AYAM
Soto ayam or chicken soto is a lovely spicy (as in heat) dish. It's a thin chicken soup, sweetened with ground onions, garlic, ginger and tinged yellow with tumeric. It's aromatic flavour comes from the addition of ground coriander, ground cumin, the whole spices of cinnamon, cloves and cardomon pods and last but not least it is made from freshly made chicken stock.
The softness of the fine rice noodles contrasts with the crunch of the bean sprouts. The meaty flavour from the beef patty and the shredded chicken combine in a wholesome way. The rice cakes and hard boiled egg rounds it off as a complete meal. And the burst of flavours from the chopped spring onions, coriander leaves and the sweet fried onions add much flavour to make it an absolutely, heady, aromatic, warm and delicious comfort food when finally it is drowned and drenched with the hot, steamy and spicy soup.
Typically, a dash of thick, sweet soy sauce spiced up with chopped fiery, bird chillies may be dribbled over as the final condiment to complete the dish. It is a bowl bursting with flavours, textures and sensations. It's utterly comforting yet light and slurpy. If we had winter, this would definitely be the ultimate warm, winter food.
I just wish the bowl that I used was bottomless. As you can see I filled it to the brim and there still wasn't enough soup for me!
4 chicken whole legs/breasts
Some chicken bones/carcass, optional
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
1 lemon grass, crushed
The above ingredients are to be boiled in 5 cups of water for about 45 minutes until chicken is cooked and tender. Once done remove chicken and drain. De-bone and shred the chicken meat and keep aside. Reserve the stock. Discard lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. There should be about 3 1/2 to 4 cups of liquid stock left.
1/2 inch ginger
1/2 inch galangal/lengkuas
1/2 inch fresh tumeric or 1 tsp tumeric powder
2 candlenuts/buah keras
2 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
The above ingredients are all to be blended or processed until it becomes a fine paste. Add a little water or oil if necessary.
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardomon pods
1 kalamansi lime
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
Noodles and Garnishes for Serving :
3 oz of rice vermicelli/ mee hoon, blanched in boiling water until soft. Drain & keep aside
a handful of bean sprouts
1 stalk spring onions, chopped
1 stalk coriander leaves, chopped
1 egg, hard-boiled and halved
2 kalamansi limes, halved
2 tsp of golden fried onions (slice 2 shallots finely and fry in oil until golden brown)
2 pieces of potato and beef patties (recipe below)
8 cubes of rice cakes/rice cubes, optional
Heat up a medium sized pot. Put 3 to 4 tablespoons of cooking oil and heat up till hot. When hot saute the ground paste and whole spices of cinnamon, cloves and cardomon pods until fragrant and the oil rises to the top probably about 5-6 minutes over a slow fire. Stir occasionally to prevent paste from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Add all the stock to the pot and bring to the boil and then simmer. If the stock was reduced to 31/2 cups add 1/2 cup of water to make up to 4 cups of soup. Add salt and sugar to taste and more pepper if you like for more heat.
Add the juice of 1 kalamansi lime. Stir and adjust salt for taste.
To Serve :
Divide blanched noodles between 2 bowls. Top each bowl of noodles with bean sprouts, shredded chicken, halved hard boiled egg, potato and beef patty, rice cakes, chopped spring onions, chopped coriander leaves and fried onions. Pour the soto soup over. Serve hot. Enjoy!