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Soto Ayam (Indonesian Yellow Chicken Soup)

Posting Date: 04/28/16

Soto Ayam (Indonesian Yellow Chicken Soup)

Soto Ayam (Indonesian Yellow Chicken Soup) is another popular dish in Indonesia. It is like chicken soup but the broth is yellow because of turmeric. It is served with glass noodles, fried or boiled potatoes, chicken, fried onions, emping (padi oats crackers), slices of hard boiled egg, blanched bean sprouts, parsley, and sometimes diced tomato. Some people may not use tomato for Soto Ayam but the one I grew up with always came with diced tomato. Because of slices of hard boiled egg used in Soto Ayam, it reminds me more of Japanese Ramen than the traditional American or Indonesian Chicken Soup. Soto Ayam is also normally served with rice on the side since it is considered as a full meal. However, to make it lighter meal, you can omit rice. Chili paste or sambal oelek is also served on the side so that people can add it to make it hot. In addition, you will find a bottle of sweet soy sauce in a restaurant that serves Soto Ayam so that you can drizzle it on top to make it slightly sweet. I found sweet soy sauce adds depth of flavor to the broth.

If you are not familiar with emping, I suggest you to fry 1 first and taste it. I found some people may not like the taste of it because it is slightly bitter. Nowadays you can find many different flavors of emping, such as sweet emping, hot emping, etc. I normally use the original one for Soto Ayam and use the flavor emping for snacking. If you never cook emping, make sure the oil is hot enough but not too hot. The right temperature will make it expand and cook. Too hot oil will make it burn before it is able to expand. When you cook it, flip it to the other side once one side has expand so that both sides will expand and cook. Otherwise, your emping will be raw and hard to chew.

Nowadays you can find many different instant seasoning mix for Indonesia dishes which will cut you time when making a dish. Unfortunately, not all of them taste good and similar to what you will get if you make it from scratch. Fortunately, Soto Ayam instant seasoning mix does taste good. If you prefer, you can use it if you are pressed with time. Follow the instructions on the package on how to use it.

This recipe serves for 4 people


  • 3 bunches of glass noodles
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 small size potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Optional: emping (padi oats crackers). Use about 3-4 pieces per person.
  • For spice paste: 3 small shallots, quartered so that it will be easier to process in food processor
  • For spice paste: 1/2" fresh ginger, roughly chopped so that it will be easier to process in food processor
  • For spice paste: 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped so that it will be easier to process in food processor
  • For spice paste: 1 piece candlenut, quartered so that it will be easier to process in food processor
  • For spice paste: 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 pieces of skinless and boneless chicken thigh
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only and crushed with the back of knife
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • pepper or to taste
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • fried onions
  • Optional: cooked rice
  • Optional: sambal oelek. I use Huy Fong brand for sambal oelek since they don't add shrimp paste or garlic to it and thus, I got the chili pepper I need without any other flavors I don't want.
  • Optional: sweet soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of blanched bean sprouts


  1. Cook glass noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, rinse them in cold water and drain them. Repeat rinsing and draining (about 2-3 times) until the noodles are cold to touch. This will prevent the noodles from sticking to each other. Once cold, let them drain more by leaving them on colander and set them aside.
  2. Fry potatoes until they are golden brown. Drain them on a plate lined with paper towel. Set them aside.
  3. If using emping (padi oats crackers), heat up enough vegetable oil on medium high so that emping will be fully immersed in the oil while being cooked. Make sure the oil is hot enough before putting emping in. To know whether the oil is hot enough, throw in 1 emping and see if it expands. Once it expands, flip it to the other side so that it expands more and becomes golden. Drain it on a plate lined with paper towel. Do it with the rest of emping (I normally use 3-4 per person, so the total will be 12 because the recipe serves for 4 people. However, you can fry more if you like it) but do it in batches so that the oil temperature will not drop.
  4. Process shallots, ginger, garlic, candlenut, and turmeric powder on food processor until they become paste.
  5. Heat up 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a pot. Saute the spice paste until it is cooked while making sure it is not burned.
  6. Add chicken and lemongrass and saute them until the chicken is cooked.
  7. Add 4 cups of water and chicken bouillon to the pot.
  8. Let the liquid boil and add salt, sugar, and pepper. Let it simmer for 5 min and add lime juice and green onion. Taste it and add more salt, sugar, or pepper if necessary.
  9. Turn off the heat and discard lemongrass.
  10. To serve it, divide glass noodles, fried potatoes, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, and blanched bean sprouts into 4 soup bowls. Spoon the liquid and chicken to each bowl. Top it with parsley, fried onions, and emping (if used). If preferred, serve it with warm rice on the side. If you want it hot, add a little bit of sambal oelek to your soup. Make sure you don't put too much since a little goes a long way. If you like it a little sweet, drizzle a little bit of sweet soy sauce on top of your soup.

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