Soto Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Soup)


This soto ayam is fresh, salty and with that typical smell like in grandma’s kitchen. Truly delicious. In the video I’ve adjusted Beb Vuyk’s recipe just a little bit. But here is Beb’s original soto ayam.

Soto Ayam – Indonesian Chicken Soup #134 translated from Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, Beb Vuyk, page 137.


  • 1 large fat chicken (not from the freezer)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 large boiled potatoes
  • 100 grams laksa (noodles)
  • 250 grams bean sprouts 
  • 1 large lemon cut into wedges


  • 10 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • 3 chopped cloves of garlic
  • a piece of ginger root of 100 grams 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons galangal
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 4  jeruk purut leaves (kaffir lime leaves)
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
  • 3 salam leaves
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salt

  1. Rub 3 tablespoons of finely chopped onions together with garlic, galangal, and turmeric into a paste.
  2. Bring the chicken to a boil with 2 liters of water, salt, peppercorns, ginger, salam leaves, and lemongrass.
  3. Take the chicken out and remove her breast meat, cut the meat into pieces and fry it with the onion mix.
  4. When it is done, put it back into the boiling broth and let this mixture simmer for an extra half hour.
  5. Take out the rest of the chicken, clean the legs, tendons and take out all the little less beautiful pieces.
  6. Cut the meat into small pieces and put them back into the bouillon.
  7. In the meanwhile, let the laksa soak for approximately 15 minutes.
  8. Rinse beans sprouts under hot water, let them drain out well.
  9. Cut the potatoes into cubes.
  10. Fry the remainder of the onions in the oil until golden brown and crispy, and cut the peeled eggs into wedges.
  11. Arrange all the ingredients into small bowls; do the same with the chopped chives. Pour the Indonesian Chicken soup in a tureen.
  12. For the method of serving: see recipe Soto Madura.

Watch this video or read on for the recipe in text and pictures.

Loulou (4 years) mixes the spices kunjit (turmeric) and galangal in de cobek (mortar).

Loulou (4 jaar) mixt de kruiden kunjit en laos in de tjobèk.

Small mistake in Beb Vuyk’s recipe

In the above description of the recipe, Beb Vuyk leaves out two ingredients. She does not mention what to do with the kaffir leaves (jeruk purut) and the soy sauce. I assume that the jeruk leaves have to be in the broth from the beginning just like the salam leaves.

Jeruk purut

Jeruk purut is a fantastic herb. It seems such a simple leaf, but the taste is unsurpassed. A sweet, lemony flavor, almost smoky. I love it. It’s widely used in Thai cuisine too.

Soy Sauce

The soy sauce I think is meant to be a condiment. For everyone who wants their chicken soup more saltier or sweeter, use a teaspoon or two in your bowl.

Make the broth

I make the Indonesian chicken broth together with the kaffir leaves, ginger, lemongrass, peper, salam leaves and salt.

I let the chicken simmer together with the jeruk purut (kaffir leaves), ginger, lemongrass, peppercorns, salam leaves and salt (two tablespoons).

Night before

If I have enough time, I do this the night before. I bring my chicken, that is just underwater, to the boil and let it simmer for about 8 minutes. Then I turn the heat off and place the lid on. I leave it like this until the next morning. I love this method because the chicken becomes extremely tender and the meat falls off the bone. The chicken has also cooled down and is easy to handle.

Chicken breast

In Beb’s recipe, only the chicken breast is fried in the spice mixture. This works much better than the way I used to do it. I used to strip the whole chicken and then I’m left with a large amount of meat to fry. Because Beb uses only the chicken breast, the amount of chicken is small enough to stir fry properly with the spice mix and that brings out the flavor even better.

Soto ajam preperationsI rub 3 tablespoons of finely chopped onions together with garlic, galangal, and turmeric into a paste. I cut the chicken breast in small pieces and sauté it into this herb mixture for a few minutes on high heat. Now I add this to the broth.


Time to taste. The most important part: is the broth salty enough? ;-). It needs to be strong in flavor because the soup is filled up with more ingredients just before serving.


I cut my lemon, chop up the chives and celery leaves. You can pour boiling water over the bean sprouts to make them a bit tender, but I like them raw and crunchy.

I boil eggs and cut them in wedges, same goes for the potatoes.

Soto is also delicious with extra ingredients like sugar snaps or snow peas. Just blanch them and serve them in bowls next to the eggs and potatoes.

You can freeze the broth easily too.

How to serve

Time to serve. Take a pretty big soup bowl and add a bit of everything in your bowl. Add some sambal or kecap (soy sauce) too. Now pour over the steaming hot soup. That’s it! Selamat Makan! 😉

Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.

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