Of all the varieties of soups in Indonesian cuisine, Soto Ayam is probably one of the most popular ones across the country.
It is so popular that the dish was declared one of Indonesia’s national dishes by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, along with the other four dishes, i.e., Sate Ayam, Beef Rendang, Nasi Goreng, and Gado Gado.
Although every region in Indonesia has its own version of Soto Ayam, they all have similar ingredients.
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The recipe I’m sharing here is based on Soto Ayam from Jakarta.
This soup with shredded chicken and cellophane noodles is often served with hard-boiled rice cake, lontong, or plain rice.
But of course, you can always have the chicken soup as it is without the carb if you like.
And chili lovers, enjoy the soup with a spoon or two of freshly-made chili sambal.
Soto Ayam vs Mee Soto
Do not get confused with another type of soup called Soto Mie/ Mee Soto because it differs from Soto Ayam.
Mee Soto uses beef and beef broth. Also, it uses egg noodles in it.
And Soto Ayam uses chicken and chicken soup with rice-based noodles/ rice vermicelli in it. This vermicelli is called Bihun in Indonesian. You can enjoy it either with hard-boiled rice or rice. However, you can always have it as it is without adding more carbs.
Soto Ayam is different from Mee Soto/ Soto Mie.
What to serve it with
If you’re having a party, this Indonesian chicken clear soup with rice noodles is a good choice for the starter.
When you serve it as an appetizer, you don’t have to serve it with rice cakes/ lontong. The soup and rice noodles on their own are enough.
The ingredients you need
These are two groups of ingredients that you need to make this Soto Ayam. One is the essential ingredients as follows:
- Whole chicken with bones.
- Ground white pepper.
- Salam leaves.
- Spring onions.
- Vinegar/ lime juice.
The other ones are optional ingredients as follows:
- Hard-boiled eggs.
- Cellophane noodles/ rice vermicelli.
- Hard-boiled rice cake/ Lontong.
- White cabbage.
- Flat leaf parsley.
- Fried shallots/ onions.
How to make it
First, boil the chicken in hot water until it is cooked.
As you do so, you make the spice paste using a pestle and mortar. Or you can use a spice grinder or a small food processor.
Once the chicken is boiled, drain it and place it in another pan with fresh boiling water. Then, add the spice paste and all the herbs. Let it simmer for at least half an hour. Like any chicken soup, the longer you cook, the better its flavor. So feel free to cook longer.
When you’re happy with the soup, take the chicken out and shred its meat.
Take a serving bowl and place the rice vermicelli, beansprouts, shredded cabbage, and boiled egg slices in it. Add some shredded chicken and pour the soup over everything.
Then garnish your Soto Ayam with fried shallots, sliced parsley, and chopped tomato.
Top tips to make the best Soto Ayam
- Boil the chicken before you make the soup. You may wonder why you have to boil the chicken twice. Literally.
Let me explain.
Because the water from the first boil will have all the impurities of the meat, you can see dirty foam on top of the water. And you don’t want that in your soup.
- Grind your spices until really smooth. This will make your soup more flavorsome without the grittiness of coarsely ground spices.
Once it’s cooled down, your Soto Ayam stays in the fridge for almost a week.
You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. Take it out of the freezer and leave it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Reheat the soup until it is piping hot before serving.
Once it thaws, you must not refreeze it.
More comfort food from the Indonesian kitchen
Thank you for checking this Soto Ayam recipe. I hope you now want to try making it. If you do, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Before you go, check out more comfort food from my Indonesian kitchen that you may like.
- Lontong sayur Betawi: hard-boiled rice cakes with vegetable curry from Jakarta.
- Soto Betawi: beef soup from the Jakarta region.
- Indonesian chicken wontons: pangsit ayam.
- Sop Buntut: Indonesian oxtail soup.
- Bubur Ayam: Indonesian chicken rice congee.
Thank you for reading.
All the best.
Soto Ayam – Indonesian clear chicken soup
- Chopping board
- Kitchen knife
- Food chopper or
- Food processor
- Cooking pan with lid
- 1 chicken approximately 1 kg/ 2.2 lb..
- 1 medium brown onion.
- 5 cloves garlic.
- 1- inch ginger.
- 1 lemongrass cut in an inch-lengths.
- 2 salam leaves.
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper.
- Salt to taste I put 1 ½ tsp.
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar or 1 tbsp lime juice.
- 1 teaspoon sugar.
- 100 cellophane noodles soaked in hot boiling water for 2-3 minutes until softened and drain.
- 300 grams hard-boiled rice cakes/ lontong cut into small pieces.
- 50 grams fried-onions.
- 3 spring onions/ scallions finely sliced.
- 30 grams flat-leaved parsley finely sliced..
- 4 eggs boiled, peeled and sliced.
- 2 tomatoes sliced.
- Onion crackers or pawn crackers.
- Peel and chop the onions, garlic, and ginger.
- Using a pestle and mortar or a food processor, grind the chopped onions, ginger, and garlic into a paste. Set aside
- Clean and cut the chicken into small pieces or into 4 big pieces.
- Boil one litre of water in a pot, and put the chicken pieces in when the water reaches its boiling point. Boil the poultry until it’s just cooked through. Drain the chicken and set it aside.
- In another pot, boil 2 litres of water and add the onion paste, lemongrass, salam leaves, vinegar, pepper and salt. Let the water simmer with all the herbs and spices for about 5 minutes.
- Then add the chicken into the spiced water and let it cook and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer you cook the more savoury your soup will be.
- Once you’re happy with your soup, take the chicken out and shred its meat. Set aside.
- Arrange your Soto Ayam in a serving bowl. Starting with Lontong pieces (if using), cellophane noodles, beansprouts, shredded cabbage, shredded chicken and boiled egg slices.
- Then pour the soup over until it covers everything.
- Garnish your Soto Ayam with chopped tomatoes, sliced spring onions, parsley, fried onions slices, and some crackers.
- Soto Ayam is nice to have it with cellophane noodles and hard-boiled rice cakes as mentioned above. However, this clear chicken soup is nice to have with plain rice or even on its own.
- If you like spicy chilli, you can enjoy your Soto Ayam with Indonesian sambal/ chilli sauce.
- You can also drizzle a little bit of Indonesian sweet soy sauce over your soup. I personally like it with sweet soy sauce if I have the Soto with a bit of chilli sauce.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.