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Soto Kudus (Kudus Chicken Soup)

Posting Date: 08/26/18

Soto Kudus (Kudus Chicken Soup)

Soto Kudus (Kudus Chicken Soup) originated in Kudus in Java island. Soto in Indonesia is like soup but it is normally considered as main dish because it is served with rice on the side. There are many sotos in Indonesia. One of them is Soto Ayam (Indonesian Yellow Chicken Soup). Some regions have their own soto, such as Soto Banjar from Banjar, South Kalimantan, Soto Padang from Padang, and Soto Ayam Ambengan from Surabaya. Some sotos use coconut milk in the broth and some don't. Soto Kudus doesn't use coconut milk.

Soto Kudus is normally served with rice on the side but you can also serve it with rice inside the bowl of soto kudus. Meat that is used in soto kudus is chicken and traditionally whole chicken is used but I use boneless skinless chicken breast instead because it is easier to get and portion, i.e. 1 chicken breast is normally enough to make 3 servings. The chicken is cooked in water and the water is then used as the broth for the soup. Sauteed spice paste flavors the broth along with lemongrass, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves making the broth very flavorful. It is one my favorites soto because it tastes very balanced. It is sweet from the sweet soy sauce, salty from the salt, tart from the lime wedges, and hot from the chili paste. You don't need to use chili paste if you have low tolerance to heat. In Indonesia, the chili paste is normally served on the side, so you can skip it if you don't want it. The chili paste is normally homemade by grinding some chili peppers. I use sambal oelek because it is easy to get in the stores and saves my time.

The recipe makes 3 servings of soto kudus.


  • For spice paste: 6 small size or 3 large size shallots, quartered
  • For spice paste: 3 cloves of garlic, halved
  • For spice paste: 1" fresh ginger, sliced
  • For spice paste: 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • For spice paste: candlenuts, halved. If you cannot find them, you can use macadamia nuts or just skip them.
  • For spice paste: 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves. If you cannot find them, you can use 1/4 teaspoon lime zest.
  • 2 lemongrass, white part only and smashed with the back of knife to release the oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1400 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • pinch of black pepper or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce or to taste
  • 1.25 cups of blanched bean sprouts
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Optional: fried onions
  • Optional: sambal oelek or your preferred chili paste
  • 6 lime wedges
  • Optional: cooked rice


  1. Grind the spices (shallots, garlic, fresh ginger, candlenuts, turmeric powder, and coriander powder) in a food processor until they become smooth paste.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a pot that is big enough to fit the chicken and 1400 ml water. Heat the oil on medium high heat. Add spice paste, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass into the pot. Saute until it becomes fragrant and the color of the spice paste becomes pale yellow. Note that when you first saute the spice paste, the color is bright yellow. After the shallots become soft, the color of the spice paste becomes pale yellow.
  3. Add chicken and 1400 ml of water into the pot that has the sauteed spice paste. Bring the water to a boil. Add salt, sweet soy sauce, and black pepper into the pot. Keep cooking until the chicken is fully cooked. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove the chicken with tongs and set it aside to cool down. Remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Once the chicken has cooled down, shred it.
  5. Add the shredded chicken back into the pot. Bring it to a boil. Taste the broth and add salt, pepper, or sweet soy sauce if needed. Stir to mix the added seasoning. Remove the pot from the heat. Discard lemongrass, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves.
  6. While it is still hot, divide the whole contents of the pot into 3 bowls. Top each bowl with slices of hard boiled egg, bean sprouts, slices of green onion, and parsley. Sprinkle with fried onion if used. Serve it with sambal oelek and lime wedges on the side. To make it a meal, serve it with warm cooked rice on the side.

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