Soto Ayam: Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup
The first time I went to the Netherlands, back in 2003, I fell in love with Indonesian food. When I worked for a Dutch company, I made sure to eat Indonesian food every time I visited headquarters, south of Amsterdam. Everywhere you turn, there’s an Indonesian restaurant.
Indonesian food seems to be to the Dutch what Chinese food is to Americans (except for the history of colonization). The best thing about Indonesian food in the Netherlands is Rijsttafel–“rice table”. Its the best way for the novice (me) to sample everything that Indonesian cuisine has to offer. You get a little bit of everything in smaller portions: egg rolls, chicken noodle soup (soto ayam), sates, curries, salads…
Unfortunately, there aren’t many Indonesian restaurants in the U.S. I also haven’t found one that’s as good as anything I’ve had in the Netherlands. The summer I lived in New York, I tracked down Java Indonesian Rijsttafel in Park Slope, where I took the pics above. Last week, we tried Borobudur Restaurant in the Tenderloin (pictured below) where I was reminded of Soto Ayam, an Indonesian chicken noodle soup with coconut milk, turmeric, coriander, lemongrass, eggs, potato, veggies, vermicelli and all sorts of good stuff!
I’ve made Soto Ayam from a spice packet before (just add water, noodles, and toppings) but wanted to try making it from scratch. I found a recipe from Rasa Malaysia and gave it a try.
A few notes for next time:
- Use the larger food processor so I get a better spice paste. Mine was kind of chunky and my coriander seeds stayed whole. I ended up putting the broth through a chinois before serving.
- I forgot potatoes.
- Topped with fried shallots
- Added several glugs of fish sauce because it seemed a little bland.
The recipe needs a little bit of refining on my part (I didn’t follow the directions very well) but I will definitely be making this again.