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Indonesian Soto Ayam Recipe (Chicken Noodle Soup)

Soto Ayam

OK, it’s official, I am in looooooooove with Indonesian food.

Since discovering the taste of real Indonesian food at Java Spice in Rowland Heights, I have had no less than 5 Indonesian meals (eat-in, take-out, and home cooking included) in the last two weeks: dishes such as Ayam Kalasan, Soto Ayam, Gado-Gado, Nasi Goreng, and Sate.

This is not my first mad cuisine crush. I will spend an obsessive amount of time researching a new (to me) cuisine when I fall in love with it. I have been similarly smitten with Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Sichuan cuisines. So yes, I became a food stalker and searched everywhere for Indonesian recipes, food pictures, blogs, restaurants, and cookbooks.

It was like being back at school and Indonesian food was my graduate course. I burned the midnight oil for an Indonesian Food exam. I went to local libraries, Borders, Barnes & Noble’s religiously and holed up in the ethnic cookbooks section reading and ogling beautiful Indonesian cookbooks (unfortunately, there are only a handful of them!). I just have to cook Indonesian food in my kitchen, with my own hands, to satisfy and get over my current obsessive-compulsive behavior…

And before the restraining order goes into effect.

Finally I got myself the long list of ingredients and spent hours cooking up the following Soto Ayam.

I am never a huge fan of Soto Ayam in Malaysia but the Indonesian version of Soto Ayam won me over. To kick up the flavor of the traditional Soto Ayam, this variation is infused with coconut milk and more spices. In Indonesia , this dish is called Soto Resah. It tasted very good and my native Malaysian palate favors this more complex and richer rendition.

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61 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Chubbypanda

    I know exactly what you mean. I do the same thing. My fiancee usually rolls her eyes and tries to keep the cookbook/gear/ingredients spending from getting out of hand whenever a new phase hits me.

    Tasty looking dish.

    – Chubbypanda

  2. Audrey Cooks

    Ah! dangerous territory … I can easily get sucked into that ‘obsessive-compulsive behaviour’ of yours … since I know I have almost the same tastebuds. Hmmm! you are making my drool …. with that recipe!

  3. Anonymous

    We don’t go to our extreme, doing research in the libraries!

    When I balik kampung to Malaysia, my mum and I, we will go makan and try to figure out what was put inside. If we dont get it, the next day we balik to taste it again until we find out what was inside. haha…

  4. Rasa Malaysia

    Chubbypanda – yes, there is this “I have a crush on xxx” phase and all I want to eat and learn is that cuisine.

    Audrey Cooks – This Soto Ayam is good; not like those Soto Ayam we get in Malaysia. It tastes like curry laksa without the pig’s blood, cockles, etc. but MUCH lighter and very pleasing.

    Keropok Man – I do that too, that is, going back to the stall / restaurant again to decode the ingredients, but sometimes, it’s very hard especially when there are spices involved. So I have to reply on research, cookbooks, and libraries. ;)

  5. Anonymous

    i don’t think i’ve ever tried this dish before. indonesian food is not really big here. although it looks really good. making me hungry now…

  6. Rasa Malaysia

    Ana – Welcome to Rasa Malaysia. Yeah, I guess it’s hard to find Indonesian food in the Philippines. Try the recipe, you will like it. ;)

    Anonymous – I used the regular size canned coconut milk, which is 13.5 fl oz or 400 ml.

  7. elmomonster

    Now you’re talkin’! It makes me smile when someone like you says:

    “OK, it’s official, I am in looooooooove with Indonesian food.”

    …especially when you talk about my favorite dish of all time, Soto Ayam. So far no restaurant has come close to my mom’s version, but Java Spice sounds awesome.

    Hey, since I know you are keen on trying more Indonesian food and you like hawker Food, did you know there is a Indonesian Food Street Faire that happens every Saturday in Duarte?

    I posted about it here. I think you’ll love it!!

  8. Rasa Malaysia


    Thanks! Yes, I am not shy to declare that I am addicted to your home cuisine. BTW, it totally rocks.


    I will check out your links.

  9. Muhammad Ilham

    hi rasa malaysia,

    i haven’t tasted indonesia’s soto ayam, but you’ve gotta try my sister’s. it’s the malaysian version, but it’s damn good, i promise you.

    i’ll just run through the recipe, i don’t know if i can give a detailed version of it. but the primary ingredient that you must have is the sup bunjut thingy, i’m sure you’re familiar with it. when i think of sup bunjut, to me, it’s to us malays what the bouquet garni is to the english. sup bunjut is normally used to make malay chicken soup.

    anyway, before i deviate, here’s the recipe.

    for the chicken soup:
    chicken (on the bone for extra flavour)
    1 small bag of sup bunjut.
    star anise.
    cinnamon bark.
    biji limau (i don’t know what it is in english, sorry!)
    cooking oil.

    spring onions.
    coriander (only a small amount).
    bawang goreng or fried shallots.
    bean sprouts.
    kicap manis or kicap masin, don’t matter to me.
    birds eye chilli.

    main accompaniment:
    nasi impit OR
    bihun (rice vermicelli)


    firstly, “tumis” all the onions, garlic, ginger, sup bunjut, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and biji limau until it becomes aromatic (or as the malays put it, sampai bau naik..).

    then add the chicken and water.

    boil the chicken soup until the chiken is tender.

    then “fish out” the chiken, let it cool, then shred the chicken meat off the bones, and discard the bones. arrange the chicken meat aesthetically in a serving dish.

    prepare the nasi impit or bihun or both!

    again, present the bawang goreng, spring onions, coriander, and bean sprouts aesthetically in a serving dish.

    then, prepare the kicap pedas by chopping up the birds eye chilli, and mixing it with the soy sauce in a bowl. you don’t need to prepare a huge amount of this.

    and voila! that’s my sister’s soto ayam, which i recently presented to my mat salleh friends the other day. try it!

    p.s. me and my sister when we decide to blow our diet on soto, we never forget to make begedil daging, or meat balls. my sister actually puts the begedils in the soto when she eats it, but because i remember eating my begedils just like they are when i was a little kid (my grandma used to make the best begedil), i still eat them separately. apparently, begedil is the traditional accompaniment to soto. i wasn’t aware of this until my sister told me.

    anyways, i could slip you my recipe for begedil daging, but my fingers are tired!

    man i really really love your food blog.

  10. Muhammad Ilham

    in the methods, remember to conserve the chicken soup after fishing out the chicken!!

    and, i seem to have missed out one thing. probably the most important one!

    HOW TO EAT this soto (hehehe):

    place your nasi impit or bihun in a bowl.
    put the shredded chicken in, and all the other condiments as you please.
    then flood in the chicken soup (as you can see, the chicken soup acts like a stock).

    you can eat it just like that, but if you want it to be pedas, put some of the kicap pedas into your bowl. this will make the broth more dark, but it will still look very appealing. more importantly, the soto is now pedas and the flavour more accentuated.


  11. Vero

    I often had that soto ayam when I was a child (my grandparents are Indonesian), my grandma used to do it with thin fried potatoes (without noodles, of course)… absolutely gorgeous… The mere thought of it makes me wanna cry!!

  12. Jossi

    Very nice ! :)
    Indonesian sate ayam is one of many great and tasty Indonesian soto .

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have tried the soya chicken and its so good

    Keep on posting

  13. rin

    hi!…was looking for a recipe which is not spicy for my kids because they love bee hoon and came across this one. INstead of the coconut milk, wold substituting it with evaporated milk do? And if i didnt use chicken broth,what can i substitute it with? or can i do without it?

    ina (in USA and missing Malay food very much!)

  14. Anonymous

    Your soto isn’t a proper soto. A true soto doesn’t have noodles, there is no paste, the chicken is pulled, you cook the chicken by slowly simmering it in water mixed with items like ginger, and you add completely different items. You add hard boiled eggs (in thin slices), sliced celery, chopped green onions, lemon juice, Bali Katsup, and baked potatoes cut in slices. I don’t know where you got the recipe, but it isn’t a traditional indonesian dish. I am indonesian and we have this dish all the time and it doesn’t look like yours.

    • Aldi

      There are hundreds version of soto ayam in Indonesia. The one Rasa Malaysia featured is one of hundreds version. Thus, you cannot say that this and that is more authentic than another.
      Anyway, RasaMalaysia, I love seeing the pictures of mouthwatering foods here! It’s a pity I do not have proper kitchen to cook :(

  15. yuni

    Hei hei hei … just leave her be. I am Indonesian too, but I appreciate her recipe adding this and that. We are not talking about the most authentic food here. I cook my Soto Ayam with cut chicken like her, my egg is also cut as thick as hers. Heck we even have Indomie Soto Mie – so let her do her creation. I just found your blog like 5 minutes ago and I love it. I’m gonna try this recipe when I get back.

  16. Andie Summerkiss

    I was just fooling around your site when I found this entry. Can’t help laughing.

    If possible, I would like to send our house cook your way. She can cook you hundreds of authentic indo food.

    But after considering it, I will first document everything when I go home. Then you can read it at my site. LOL. Just kidding!

  17. Tasty Indonesian Food

    Soto Ayam is one of my fave dishes, also my hubby loves it! I cook it almost every week. But I like non-coconut milk version – which is Javanese Soto Ayam.
    If you want to try, you can check the recipe in my site. I have also recipes from other Indonesian dishes as well.

    • Rory

      There are Javanese Soto recipes with and without santen (coconut milk or block) just depends on the area or even what style is liked in your family or even on the day. Soto Kraksaan, names after the east-javanese town has coconut in it and is yummy!

      I personally think adding lime leaves is a must in the dish, sooooo nice!

      If you like the recipe with coconut you’ll probs also like dishes like Opor and Rendang. Javanese food and sweets are very nice!

  18. Yunia Hildreth

    I am Indonesian, i am living in England, last night i was thinking about cooking soto ayam because i have whole chicken in freezer but unfortunately i could not find the recipe..i love soto ayam as well and when i was in Indonesia i was bit lazy to learn how to cook it from my mum..(and now bit dissapointed) because my mum soto ayam is the best ever (of course because i am her daughter :-) ) since i moved to England i am not different like you, hunting my native receipes and ingredients. it was not much luck but i manage to find a big south east asian supermarket in one of biggest town in England i.e. Birmingham..
    I dont care about how different is the recipe from my mum original soto ayam as long as i can still taste Indonesian ingredients there i am such a happy bunny….

    Thank you so much…xxxxx

  19. shii

    hey .. good job on ur recipe and the blog .. but i wanted to ask about the servings of the soto ayam (serves ??ppl)
    thanks :)

  20. I have recently followed yr blog. Spore Soto Ayam is also fabulous compared to the bland Msian soto which technically is what we call Sop ayam. The recipe is similar to yours but we add some buah keras n blend green chillis into the sauce.
    Try it. The recipe for the sop soto was given by a Spore Malay which i find to be authentique

  21. Marissa

    Your post really reminds me of my mom’s soto ayam, the only difference is that she doesn’t use coconut milk. Next time you cook soto ayam, try adding potato chips for topping, it will give another delight, believe me. You need some crunchiness to go with it. My mom usually cuts the potato in small & thin slices, usually 2x2cm and 1/2mm thick, and just deep fry them. She would usually prepare prawn crackers as well, but I usually prefer potato chips.

    Btw, I read someone’s post up there saying that your version of soto ayam doesn’t resemble her “authentic” soto ayam. Just want to let you know that there are soooo many different version of soto in Indonesia. Each region, even each different city, has their own version of soto. Usually the soto is named after the city they originate from, for example, soto ayam Lamongan, soto Madura, soto Banjar, soto Betawi,and so on. Some of them use chicken, some use beef and tribe; some use coconut milk, others only has clear soup, with different ingredients and toppings too. Hope you can experience more Indonesian cuisine. =)

  22. mlam

    I want to start off by saying thank you so much for sharing your receipe everyone. I am in love with your Soto Ayam and cannot wait to make it. Looking at the picture makes my mouth water. BTW.. how much water is ( 1 glass of water? ) in measurement? Is that 1 cup? or 2 cup?

    Thank You,
    Maggie Lam

  23. Rory

    I think it’s nicer if you sear/brown the chicken briefly before adding it as my mum used to do it. It looks and tastes nicer. ;0)

    For lazy cooks and ppl who don’t have access to fresh herbs there is also a shortcut to soto…
    Instead of all the ingredients just use some that are available in a lot of supermarkets these days:

    – 1 heaped teaspoon of thai green curry paste
    – 1 teaspoon of turmeric
    – a little jinten (cumin powder) to taste
    – a little ketumbar (coriander powder), also to taste
    – regular onion & garlic
    – 1 tablespoon of Lemon juice or plain white vinagre
    – (optional) 250 ml coconut milk or a fifth of a block of cocunut milk

    It won’t taste as full flavoured as the real deal but comes close and saves you loadsa time shopping around for ingredients in towns/areas that haven’t got asian food shops.

  24. Budiman

    There are many kinds of soto. Soto Betawi, soto Solo, soto Kudus, Soto Makassar, etc-etc. For me, Soto Solo is the best.

  25. Jeng Kel

    Been looking for a good Soto Ayam recipe since I moved back from Indonesia a few months ago. We don’t get a lot of Soto Ayam in Sulawesi, so it’s always the first thing on my list when I travel through Jawa. I’m excited to try this out.

  26. margaret mukasa

    please forward me an address in Birmigham, where i can purchase Indonesian or Malaysian herbs. Will be grateful if u do so, if no herb stalls then forward me address for the Malaysian suplements and Indonesian suplements outlets. Am in Nechelles, Bloomsbury st. B7 5BW.

    Thanks in advance.

    Margaret Mukasa

  27. Hi Guys… just back from bali and my fav restaurant named ‘Warung di sawa’ with an open bamboo pavilion that has surrounding views of the rice field(sawa) and… the best soto ayam in bali… actually ‘warung Made’ near bemo corner, Kuta, makes a good one too. I’ve been making my guessed version back here in new Zealand but this is great help with knowing some of those all-important spices

  28. PaulS

    Hey Bee,

    The best experience of eating soto ayam is to eat it with Perkedel Kentang.. Ooh man.. Best comfort food ever. I think it’s best to leave the coconut milk out if you want to eat it with Perkedel and rice.


  29. foodlover

    Hi everyone..jus wans to tell that i agree that there’s so many versions of dad sells soto in our country in s’pore when I was young and he is from indonesia.what I know is that his version bring long queues,uses coconut milk but its soup looks veri clear you wont know its there,its yummy I can’t help comparing those I encounter in malaysia or anywhere in my own country but most standard isnt quite up there..I love the different versions from Indonesia though..Well,I’ll be cooking it soon I can’t wait..

  30. leanncx

    I just made this for my mom, she lived in Indonesia and Maylasia for many years and loves the food. We made Sup Buntut last week and loved it. I am looking forward to making many more dishes.

  31. This was one of my favorite dishes in Indonesia. They would have a bar for you to select your own toppings I love adding the soy sauce and chili sauce on it as well.

  32. darkwarrior

    I maded it, I eated it, so did my pekingese! we both loved it ! nice one! I used turkey breast cos I had that in! and rice noodles / sticks

  33. trinity

    I’ll travel to Kuala Lumpur this summer. Can anyone then suggest where I could taste (at least) the best Soto Ayam in Malaysia? I don’t understand what’s the difference between soto ayam in Malaysia and in Indonesia. I thought soto ayam in Malaysia was originally brought by Indonesian(javanese) migrants, so they’re supposed to be similar, right? Either way, I used to taste Indonesian soto ayam during a trip in Amsterdam (there are plenty of indonesian restos there!!) and I truly fell in love with it.

  34. daisy

    I ran this recipe by to my mom and she said, Soto Ayam is suppose to be clear (sop ya musti nya bening); what you are cooking is Laksa since it has coconut milk. She’s right; this reminds me of Laksa, not Soto Ayam. However, it still taste good, but too much turmeric powder, I think. Fry some krupuk, add potatoes & tomatoes…all yummy.

  35. Nora

    Hmmm, I’m from Malaysia and love Soto Ayam (Malaysian version). Anyway, this version looked delish but based on the soup ingredients, this would be called Lontong instead. Either way, am loving both haha!

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