Indonesian Chicken Soup With Noodles, Turmeric and Ginger (Soto Ayam) Recipe (2024)

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Fabulous, and made few alterations. For two: two chicken legs in my instant pot + 3 cups water, 2 lemongrass, few slices of ginger, salt, 2 dried chiles, 15 minutes, high pressure, natural release.
Filter broth, cool chicken, take meat of bones.

Fry spice paste (no room for measures here), add bean sprouts, cooked noodles, 1/2 lime squeezed pp + cilantro + basil + fried shallots (from store) + chile paste at table.



To simplify for a quick weeknight dinner: This is still amazing if you use boneless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken. Dried kaffir limes also work.


From Nicole: add a bit of palm sugar or sugar in the raw to the broth, as well as some good fish sauce toward the end of cooking. also i probably upped the turmeric and used less cumin that it says here. serve with Thai bird chilies for xtra heat


No kaffir leaves here in rural Alaska. I could mail order them. Didn’t have lemon grass (it is available, but too icy to go to the store)so used juice of half a lemon. No shallots, so 1/2 an onion. It was great even with all the substitutions.


And the halved hard-boiled egg shows up by itself and jumps into the soup.


I found this more delicious the second day, so don't hesitate to make the soup a day ahead and just add the noodles the day-of. I don't think the kaffir lime leaves or fried shallots are optional, nor is a boiled egg, which the recipe overlooks entirely! Be sure to salt to taste before serving. If using thighs only, 1 lb is plenty. Powdered spices were fine!

Beth Arnold

For2: 2 chicken thighs in my instant pot + 3 cups water, 2 lemongrass, few slices of ginger, salt, 2 dried chiles, 15 minutes, high pressure, natural release. Filter broth, cool chicken, take meat of bones.Fry spice paste, add bean sprouts, cooked noodles, 1/2 lime squeezed pp + cilantro + basil + fried shallots + chile paste at table.Still amazing if you use boneless chicken thighs. Dried kaffir limes works.Add a bit of palm sugar + good fish sauce toward end of cooking. I upped turmeric.


I grew up in Indonesia and have been living abroad for 26 years. I just made this recipe for the first time and there will be many next times. It is so close to my mom's! So good!


It says per serving, but that is actually for the entire recipe.


So that I don't have to use a food processor, for steps 2 and 3, I thinly slice the shallots and garlic, and use one or two slices of ginger. Saute the shallots, garlic and ginger until about fragrant, then add the ground spices (pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric).Besides beansprouts, shredded green cabbage goes well with this soup. Potato fritters, tofu, and fried tempeh, too.


Wow! I’ve cooked that paste at lease five times now—three times in a cast iron skillet and twice in a small heavy pot. It never burned. I stirred it quite a bit with a small wooden spoon. My only issue was the oil did not separate easily. But when it started to smell great, I took it off the heat and put it into the broth. Delicious.


Awesome if this comes out like the Soto Ayam hawked by Jakarta’s mobile street vendors 50 heard ago. Cured colds, hangovers, existential malaise, and elemental hunger. Can’t wait to try.


In my previous note I said 1 lb of boneless thighs - that was for a half-batch! 2 lbs for the full recipe!


This is delicious. I halved the recipe with no problem. I used fresh Rice noodles and added the celery leaves, parsley and cilantro to the pot at the last minute. I also found that it needed a little bit more kosher salt at the end. This looks like a year-round soup recipe for me. It was nice to be able to find fresh turmeric and use it for the first time. Very flavorful. Will make this often.


Wish all these recipes were adjusted away from whole chickens towards thighs, etc, so it's easier to adjust portions (up or down) to weeknight cooking.


Excellent dish. You can easily skip the 1st step and just use store broth and rotisserie chicken for a perfect, quick weeknight meal. The paste step is where all the flavor is at.


Used 4 chicken breasts and homemade chicken broth from the freezer, cause that’s what I had. Added a bit more garlic and ginger than called for, also 2 tbsp fish sauce based on other reviews. Served with cilantro, lime, and fresh Thai chilis - phenomenal on a cold & wet evening!!


Seemed a bit bland at the end of cooking. Needed to add shrimp paste to season. Also added dried shrimp in cheesecloth to get more flavor. Definitely more salt.


Delicious!!!! A great meal!


Followed the recipe exactly. Even got the lime leaves. Was looking forward to a comforting, herb-forward bowl of soup. Smelled really nice while cooking but tasted quite bland in the end. There were a lot of steps and a lot of cooking implements, making for a pretty labor intensive meal. Many people commented that it tastes better the second day, so we'll see tomorrow, I guess.

Wash Heights Cook

I haven't been able to get to H Mart to get the lime leaves yet, have made this recipe twice without them. This is a keeper: a delicious warming soup with really unique flavor. I would recommend rice on the side with some soup and chicken and sambal over (harissa works well with this too) mashed together w a spoon- heavenly! A week after I first tried it my family requested an encore. Can't wait to taste w lime leaf!


Is is just me? 5 shallots then 2 shallots (optional). what do I do with what??


Bernice. You do not give many details, but this soup is anything but bland! The flavors are complex, and tasty. I am guessing you omitted some of the critical ingredients, such as makrut leaves, limes and lemongrass, and may not have added enough turmeric or garlic. You can mail order a makrut tree (kaffir lime) and keep it small - I have had one for years and also planted lemongrass in the garden.


Bernice. Sorry, ran out of room. Also, unless you are using a whole chicken (water is then OK, as a homemade chicken broth is created) use homemade chicken broth, instead of water. You will really see a difference.


my only deviation: used 4 thighs and supplemented that flavor with a couple chinese knorr chicken cubes after the soup was assembled. some kind of magic happened in the spice paste because the lemongrass/lime water i tasted after cooking the chicken was “interesting” to me. no sambal required because it is just so good. preferred this served with jasmine rice in my bowl with soup poured over instead of bean threads. i will definitely be using this technique and flavor profile in the future.


My broth was too watery and my beloved food processor didn’t seem to be able to pulverize the spices enough so I ended up with a paste that had whole peppercorns and husks of the seeds… yuk. maybe try your mortar and pestle… I was sad as wanted to love this. My pasture raised chicken was divine though! Made chicken salad out of the leftovers.“Thank you, next.”


This soup, as well as the process of making it (everything smells totally amazing), is just absolutely heartwarming. Will be doing many times this winter! I say double the salt when you get your broth going at the beginning and you won't need to adjust later.

Charlotte E.B.

I'm wondering about the cooking method. As far as I'm familiar with Southeast Asian cuisines, the spice/curry paste is fried first and then all added to it. Any reason why to change that sequence? And, why not use chicken stock instead of water?


Frying spices and aromatics brings out their flavors and takes the rawness out. Boiling the chicken with the lemongrass essentially makes a broth which you then put everything back into.

Gail G.

Lemongrass is essential. There is just no substitute for it, in my opinion.


Delicious! I used a batch of stock made from a rotisserie chicken with leftover shredded meat a few days prior to shortcut the process. The spice paste was an incredible addition though I would add more ginger next time. Served my bowl with blanched choy sum, fried shallots and garlic, and Thai chilies in vinegar.

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Indonesian Chicken Soup With Noodles, Turmeric and Ginger (Soto Ayam) Recipe (2024)
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