Soto Ayam: A recipe for chicken soup, Asian style

Soto Ayam uses the simplest of ingredients, is easy to prepare and offers a hearty mouthful on a cold night.

Soto Ayam is a favourite across Malaysia and Indonesia. It is one of those dishes for which everyone has their own special recipe, and this version offers mouthwatering deliciousness with a complex flavour profile due to the generous use of fresh spices.

It may be simple to prepare, but it offers a hearty mouthful on a cold night.

This version of Soto Ayam is easy to make at home.


  • 1/2 pack ((225 g) rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into three strips
  • 1 tin (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tin (411 gr) chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt, to taste

Spice Paste

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 shallots, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 piece (5 cm) turmeric, peeled or 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 piece (5 cm) galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 1 piece (5 cm) ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 cups sliced cabbage, optional
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
  • 1 stalk spring onion, cut into rounds
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Fried shallot crisps


  • Soak the rice noodles in warm water to soften them. Set aside.
  • Blend the spice paste in a food processor. Add some water if needed.
  • Put the oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Add in the spice paste and stir with spatula back and forth until aromatic.
  • Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, lemongrass and water. Bring it to a boil. Add in the chicken breast cubes. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  • Blanch the rice noodles, bean sprouts and cabbage (if using) in another pot of boiling water. Transfer them to a bowl once they are cooked. Add the toppings, hard-boiled eggs and spring onions, and add the hot chicken broth into the bowl. Serve hot with lime wedges and shallot crisps on top of the noodles.

Tip: Instead of rice noodles, you can also serve the broth with “ketupat”.

This recipe first appeared in Rasa Malaysia.

Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.