Mee soto is a spicy, aromatic chicken noodle broth, often topped with bean sprouts, coriander, eggs, and tomatoes. This dish, which traces its beginnings to Indonesia, brings together the flavours of traditional chicken broth, or soto ayam, and Chinese (Hokkien) yellow noodles.
At first, soto ayam was mostly made up of spices. As it grew in popularity in Indonesia, locals added chicken to the broth.
There are over thirty variations of soto ayam, like mee soto with beef or water buffalo meat.
For this recipe, we will be whipping up a bowl of mee soto with chicken.
It’s hearty with a kick of flavour, so it’s no wonder it has won the hearts of generations of Malaysia and Singapore locals, who were raised on quick and easy fare that are filling and delicious.
Let’s give it a try, shall we?
Mee Soto Recipe: Indonesian Chicken Soup for the Soul
Makes 2 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
For the rempah or spice paste mixture:
- 4 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp of Black peppercorns
- 1 tsp of turmeric powder
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 cup of ginger, chopped
- ½ cup of galangal*
- 1 lemongrass stalk
- 1 onion, chopped roughly
- 4 tbsp of cooking oil
- 15 cardamom pods
- 4 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 litres of water
- 1 tomato, cut in half
- 4 pieces of chicken (legs and thighs)
- 250 grams of yellow noodles
- ½ cup of bean sprouts
- 8 cups of chicken stock
- Spring onions, chopped, a handful
- Take all the ingredients for your rempah or spice paste mixture and pour them into a food processor. Mix well until it is reduced to a smooth paste.
- In a frying pan, drizzle oil and drop in cardamom pods, star anise, and a cinnamon stick. Fry until fragrant over medium heat.
- Add the chicken into the same pan. Stir in the spice paste mixture and fry for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add 8 cups of chicken stock to the pan and boil for 15 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the pan using a pair of tongs. Tear chicken into strips.
- Strain the resulting stock mixture from your frying pan. You can also add salt and sugar, to taste.
- In a separate bowl, boil or blanch* noodles (as needed) with bean sprouts for about 30 seconds. Drain and serve noodles on a plate.
- Top noodles with chicken strips; pour broth over it. Garnish with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and spring onions.*
Serve and enjoy!
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender to make your spice paste mixture.
- Instead of pan frying the chicken, you can also boil it in a saucepan, leaving it covered to simmer for 30 minutes. The same steps apply.
- Ginger and galangal, though similar in nature, are actually not interchangeable when cooking. Ginger is subtly sweet and pungent, while galangal has more of a citrus, herby flavour.
- Instead of spring onions, you can also garnish the finished bowl with coriander leaves or fried onions.
- You can serve mee soto with lotong (Indonesian rice cakes) and sambal sauce on the side.
*Blanching is a super simple cooking technique that involves quickly cooking vegetables in boiling water (for about 20 seconds) then submerging them briefly in cold water.
You can add salt to the boiling water prior to blanching for added flavour, like for egg noodles.
When done on leafy greens or onions, it helps lessen bitterness and enhance their vibrant colour. As for green beans, broccoli and carrots, blanching helps maintain that crispy, tender texture.
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