This is the ULTIMATE recipe to make Mee Soto Ayam, or Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup complete with a delicious, spicy Sambal Cili Kicap sauce!
Soto is an Indonesian chicken soup, with a variation across Singapore and Malaysia. The main difference would be in the use of turmeric. The Indonesian version has a lot more turmeric, and therefore a brighter yellow colour. The Singapore/Malaysia version usually has no turmeric and is a clearer soup. The Singapore / Malaysia version is also almost always served with a deliciously spicy Sambal Cili Kicap. I personally find it odd to have Soto with no sambal kicap.
This recipe is the Singapore and Malaysian version, but I did add a hint of turmeric powder as a homage to the OG Indonesian Soto. The local version rarely adds turmeric, so you get a clearer Soto soup.
This is served a couple of ways; with Yellow Noodles and Lontong or rice cakes. Sometimes you can order this up with vermicelli noodles too. Very rarely is it served with rice locally, although it most definitely can. The Indonesian version is typically served alongside rice.
What Chicken Parts to use for Soto
The type of chicken meat used as a topping is shredded chicken breast. However, if you only use chicken breast to flavour your soup, you’re not going to get a good, wholesome broth. On top of that the flavour from the chicken would leech out, so you end up with dry, bland chicken *sad face*.
Due to this, I would prefer to use the dark meats of the chicken such as thighs so that you can maximise the chicken flavour without drying out the meat. Better yet, use so-called “scrap” chicken pieces to flavour your soup! This would be the random parts that I don’t really tend to use aka parts that are not breast, thighs, chicken wings. I do the same thing when making chicken soup. Since we are going to shred the chicken for the final presentation, how it looks like does not matter. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken!
How to get flavourful Chicken Soto Broth
I would leave the chicken parts simmering for at least 30 minutes to get enough chicken flavour. The longer you leave it, the more chicken flavour you’ll get, although I would not leave it in for too long or else you will end up with bland chicken meat.
If you have a lot of chicken spare parts though, leave the ones you don’t mind “sacrificing” to continue simmering in the broth! I would not use the meat off these chicken parts since they won’t have much flavour by the end of the simmer session.
You can boil the chicken breast that you’ll be using to top the chicken along with the soup as well, just make sure to remove the chicken breasts once it’s cooked full – which will be quick. If using chicken breasts, a tip would be to add chicken stock bouillon cube for more depth of flavour. That said, even if you’re using other chicken parts, but do not have time to wait long for chicken infusion, then you can use the stock cube too!
On the same note, if you have homemade chicken stock on the ready, use it in place of water for the soup.
Noodles for Mee Soto Ayam
Soto Ayam is served a couple of different ways. Noodles are the go-to, with yellow wheat noodles or vermicelli rice noodles. For the best experience, I would use these two noodles, although no reason why it wouldn’t work with any of your favourite noodles – including pasta!
It is also served with Lontong Ketupat, or compressed rice cakes. Sometimes when I’m not up for fussing about with noodles, I would go with this! Serving this with lontong also means I get more of that delicious soup, which is my favourite part of the dish 😀
Soto: The Best Chicken Soup Ever!
Carrying the full flavours of Soto Ayam is in the blended base paste! This is a gorgeous blend of Asian ingredients that truly bring out the flavours of the chicken. Fortunately, the base ingredients are not too complicated to find. These are pantry staples in the Malay/Asian kitchen, and not too difficult to find in Asian grocers elsewhere.
- Onion + Garlic + Ginger: This is a classic combination
- Galangal: Also known as Blue Ginger, this adds a citrusy, floral, almost herby flavour to the soup.
- Candlenuts: These are optional, but they add a nice rounded flavour to the dish. An alternative to this would be hazelnuts and cashew nuts.
- Coriander Seeds and Cumin: These are the only two spices you need, although some would add Fennel as well. You have the option to dry toast these before hand to bring out the flavours even more.
- Turmeric Powder: Turmeric is optional in the Singapore and Malay versions, but essential in the Indonesian version. It is up to your preference if you’d like to use it.
The PERFECT Condiment for Mee Soto Ayam: Sambal Cili Kicap
In Singapore and Malaysia, Soto is always served with a helping of a spicy, tangy and sweet dark soy sauce. I also included a recipe for this here.
Although optional, I used a combination of green AND red chillies in this sauce. Green chillies are not as spicy as the red chillies, and adds lots of freshness to the dish. It’s optional though. You can either one if that’s what you have at home, but try it with both chillies! There’s an actual difference.
The recipe makes for half a cup’s worth, and you don’t need that much for your Soto of course. Keep the balance in the fridge so you have some on hand when you make another batch next time.
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Mee Soto Ayam | Malay Chicken Noodle SoupCourse: Eats, Recipes
4 servings or 500g Noodles, blanched
Beansprouts, blanched (or any other vegetable of choice)
- Blended Base Paste
1/2 inch Ginger
1/2 inch Galangal
4 Candlenuts (optional. Alternatively use Hazelnuts or Cashew Nuts)
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder (optional)
2-3 tbsps Water for easier blending
- Soto Soup
600g bone-in Chicken*
1.5 litres Water
1 stalk Lemongrass, bruised
2 tsps Salt, or to taste
1 tsp White Pepper
- Sambal Cili Kicap
1/2 cup of Dark Sweet Soy Sauce or Kicap Manis
3 Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies or Cili Padis
3 cloves Garlic
2 tbsp Lime Juice or Juice from about 4 Calamansi Limes
1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp Sugar, or to taste
- Finely blend ingredients for the base paste.
- In a pot, add oil. Once hot, add star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamoms. Saute till fragrant before adding the blended base paste, and a bruised lemongrass. Saute until fragrant, or until base paste has dried a little. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Add in chicken pieces, and stir through with the spices. Then let chicken sear. Not for long, just until the surface of chicken is not pink anymore.
- Add water. Stir through and let soup come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover pot with a lid and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes or until the chicken fully cooks.
- At 30 minute (or more) mark, chicken should be fully cooked. Stir in salt and white pepper to taste. Soup is done!
- Strain out the cooked chicken, and shred the meat. Keep to one side.
- In a bowl, add blanched noodles and ladle in soup to serve. Top with shredded chicken and blanched vegetables of choice. Garnish with lime, fried shallots, cilantro and Soto is ready to be served.
- Sambal Cili Kicap
- Blend all of the ingredients together. Pulse for a rough blend.
- *You can also use poach boneless Chicken Breasts instead. Shorten the cook time to not dry out breasts.