Indonesia: Classic Javanese-style chicken soup
Ingredients to serve 4
1 large chicken (about 1.5 kg), jointed
1 lemongrass stalk, lightly bruised
4 cm piece fresh ginger root
8 cm piece fresh turmeric root (or use ground in your bumbu, see below)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
250 g potatoes
200 g rice
100 g su-un (glass) noodles
100 g bean sprouts, rinsed twice with boilingwater then drained
2 spring onions, chopped
Chopped celery leaves and crispy fried onions, to garnish
Lemon juice (optional)
Sachet of bumbu spice mix, or grind your own using the following:
10 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 kemiri (candlenuts), roasted
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric (if no fresh turmeric is used above)
One-and-a-half teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon Sambal Trassi
Soto can be quite simple or elaborate and, consequently, it's eaten both as a quick lunch or as part of a festive family meal. Don't be tempted to replace the su-un (glass) noodles with other noodles. Su-un keep their bite, even after soaking in soup.
Put the chicken pieces in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Add the lemongrass, ginger and, if using, fresh turmeric and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for one-and-a-half hours. Meanwhile, pound all bumbu ingredients to a smooth paste using a pestle and mortar if you're making a bumbu.
Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl. Take the chicken meat off the bones and tear it into shreds. Gently fry the bumbu in the oil in the saucepan until fragrant. Return the stock and chicken meat to the saucepan, simmer for another hour, then season.
Meanwhile, towards the end of the cooking time, cook the potatoes until tender, hard-boil the eggs and cook the rice and noodles. Peel and coarsely chop the cooked potatoes and eggs.
In individual soup bowls or plates, layer a small cup of rice and some noodles, bean sprouts, spring onions, potato and egg. Pour over some piping hot broth and some chicken meat. Top with celery leaves and fried onions. Squeeze over some lemon juice if desired.
From The Real Taste of Indonesia (Hardie Grant £16.99)