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Bowl of soto ayam on bamboo background from above.
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5 from 10 votes

soto ayam - Indonesian chicken noodle soup

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indonesian
Keyword: indonesian chicken noodle soup, soto ayam
Servings: 4
Calories: 890kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The chicken and soup base

  • 8 chicken thighs skin removed
  • 8 cups chicken stock no sodium (homemade is nice here)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass cut into 3 pieces
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil to shallow fry

The spice paste

  • 1 cup shallots chopped the size of garlic cloves
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger chopped
  • 1 tbsp macadamia nuts - these are a replacement for the more traditional but harder to find candlenuts
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

The soto ayam

  • the stock from cooking the chicken
  • 12 oz rice vermicelli
  • 4 large eggs
  • chopped cilantro to garnish
  • fried shallots to garnish
  • sambal oelek to serve
  • lime wedges to serve


Prep the chicken

  • Skin the chicken.
  • Combine the stock, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and salt in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken and simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170F. This should take 15-20 minutes. Don't boil. Simmer. Little bubbles.
  • Remove the chicken from the broth. Blot dry. Set aside. You can also turn off the heat under the broth for now.

Make the spice paste

  • While the chicken simmers make the spice paste.
  • Heat a bit of oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic, shallot and ginger and fry until the shallots soften and start to colour up.
  • Transfer the garlic, shallot and ginger to a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and puree. This is your spice paste.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer add the paste and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for another two minutes or so. The oil should start to separate at the edges.
  • Stir the cooked paste into the broth and stir.

Fry the chicken

  • If you fried shallots just keep going with the chicken. If not heat around 2 cups of oil in a frying pan large enough to hold half the chicken (4 thighs). A spatter guard isn't a bad idea here if you have one.
  • Fry on one side for about 2-3 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook another 2-3 minutes. You want the chicken to brown but you don't want to cook it to death...Remove the chicken and repeat with the other 4 thighs. Set aside to cool enough to handle.
  • When it's cool enough pull the chicken off the bone and shred it.

Medium boil the eggs

  • Bring enough water to cover the eggs by one inch to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the eggs and set a timer. You want to cook them exactly seven minutes.
  • After seven minutes remove them from the pan and submerge in an ice bath. This stops the eggs from cooking more. This should get you about a perfect medium boiled egg. Peel but don't slice them yet.

Assemble the soto ayam

  • Bring the broth to a lively simmer. Taste it. Be careful. It's hot. It will need more salt. It will be somewhere around another 1/2 to full teaspoon. Maybe more. Season to your taste.
  • To soften the rice vermicelli just fully submerge it in the hottest water you can get out of your tap. Let it sit five minutes and drain. Rinse with cold water. People that tell you to cook rice vermicelli like to eat rice noodle mush.
  • Have your garnishes ready. Slice your eggs in half. Use a sharp knife and be careful. Those yolks are still soft.
  • To serve place 1/4 of the rice noodles in each of 4 bowls. Divide the chicken and place it on the vermicelli. Top with fried shallots and cilantro. Pour 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Add one egg and a slice of lime per bowl. Serve. Add sambal oelek to taste. Enjoy.


You are going to fry the chicken. Might as well fry up some shallots as well.  Grab 2 or 3 large shallots. Peel them. Slice them thinly to make rings.
Heat up two cups of oil to 325F. Use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the shallots into the hot oil. Do this in batches. Hot oil and shallots makes a lot of bubbles. A lot. Nobody needs hot oil boiling over on the stove.
Shallots keep cooking when they come out of the oil so pull them when they are tan. Watch your first batch cool. If they are too dark pull them a little sooner next time. You'll see and soon get the hang of it. Repeat until all the shallots are cooked.
Or you can just buy fried onions at your local asian grocer. But you are going to fry the chicken anyway so...


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 890kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 405mg | Sodium: 1145mg | Potassium: 1132mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 6mg