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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fragrant Chicken Soup (Soto Ayam)



 Finally, after all the procrastination! Soto Ayam - Fragrant Chicken Soup, recipe courtesy of the Paddock restaurant in the Kuala Lumpur Hilton.

Never have I cooked soup with such a simple presentation, yet SO much prep, but it was worth it.

A fresh batch of broth from the results of two rotisserie chickens, lemongrass, onion, and peppercorns. An additional chicken breast was added.

Then a puree of onion, shallots, ginger, and garlic is combined with poppy seeds, coriander, white pepper, aniseed and cumin. Pho noodles added for fun and substance.

More lemongrass stalk, cinnamon sticks, and 3 star anise.

Topped with crispy, fried shallots sliced razor thin, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

What a great way to rummage the spice rack. Note for next time, keep stirring the soup as you eat it, because the ground poppy seeds tend to sink.


Recipe posted as found:
FRAGRANT CHICKEN SOUP (Soto Ayam)

The Paddock restaurant in the Kuala Lumpur Hilton specializes in Malay luncheons daily. This is one of the most-requested dishes. 

(Recipe typed verbatim, please read before beginning, as some ingredients are duplicated for use later in the recipe)

4 to 6 servings

1 (3) lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 quarts cold water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fresh lemongrass stalk, *finely chopped and pounded, or 1 strip lemon peel
12 black peppercorns
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)

1 medium onion, chopped
6 shallots, minced
¼ cup grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbl. vegetable oil

3 Tbl. cold water
1 Tbl. ground poppy seeds
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
½ tsp. ground aniseed
½ tsp. ground cumin

1 fresh lemongrass stalk or 1 strip lemon peel
3 3” cinnamon sticks
3 sections star anise

Vegetable oil (for deep frying)
½ cup shallots, sliced

½ cup finely chopped green onion
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Bone chicken breasts, reserving bones. Cut breast meat into 1/4” thick strips. Wrap tightly and refrigerate. Combine breast bones and remaining chicken in large saucepan with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil, skimming surface occasionally. Add 1 onion, 1 chopped lemongrass stalk, peppercorns and salt. Simmer 1 hour. Strain stock, reserve cooked chicken meat for another use. Discard vegetables.

Puree 1 onion, 6 shallots, ginger and garlic in processor or blender. Heat 2 Tbl. oil in another heavy large saucepan over low heat. Add onion mixture and stir 5 minutes.

Mix 3 Tbl. water, poppy seeds, coriander, white pepper, aniseed and cumin to paste. Blend into onion mixture. Stir for 3 minutes.

Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan. Stir in onion mixture, 1 lemongrass stalk, cinnamon and star anise. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in deep fryer or small saucepan to 375 degrees. Add ½ cup shallots and fry until golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.

Add chicken breast strips to soup and simmer until just opaque, about 3 minutes. Discard lemongrass, cinnamon and star anise. Garnish soup with fried shallots, green onion and cilantro.

* My two cents. Way too much ginger, I used half the amount. Same for salt. 1 teaspoon is plenty. We like thicker soups, so we added Pho noodles, though rice would have been splendid as well. I had to read it a few times and make adjustments. Three minutes for chicken to cook seemed a little 'eh'. Also, I've seen 'fragrant chicken soup' on the internet, but I could not find this particular recipe anywhere at all. I think (think) it was either in Bon Appetit or Gourmet years and years ago.



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    • o Recipe, in case anyone is feeling industrious for soup

    The Paddock restaurant in the Kuala Lumpur Hilton specializes in Malay luncheons daily. This is one of the most-requested dishes.


    (Recipe typed verbatim, please read before beginning, as some ingredients are duplicated for use later in the recipe. You may wish to alter the amount of some ingredients, cooking time, etc.)

    4 to 6 servings

    1 (3) lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces
    2 quarts cold water
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 fresh lemongrass stalk, *finely chopped and pounded, or 1 strip lemon peel
    12 black peppercorns
    2 tsp. salt (or to taste)

    1 medium onion, chopped
    6 shallots, minced
    ¼ cup grated fresh ginger
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 Tbl. vegetable oil

    3 Tbl. cold water
    1 Tbl. ground poppy seeds
    1 tsp. ground coriander
    ½ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
    ½ tsp. ground aniseed
    ½ tsp. ground cumin

    1 fresh lemongrass stalk or 1 strip lemon peel
    3 3” cinnamon sticks
    3 sections star anise

    Vegetable oil (for deep frying)
    ½ cup shallots, sliced

    ½ cup finely chopped green onion
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

    Bone chicken breasts, reserving bones. Cut breast meat into 1/4” thick strips. Wrap tightly and refrigerate. Combine breast bones and remaining chicken in large saucepan with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil, skimming surface occasionally. Add 1 onion, 1 chopped lemongrass stalk, peppercorns and salt. Simmer 1 hour. Strain stock, reserve cooked chicken meat for another use. Discard vegetables.

    Puree 1 onion, 6 shallots, ginger and garlic in processor or blender. Heat 2 Tbl. oil in another heavy large saucepan over low heat. Add onion mixture and stir 5 minutes.
    Mix 3 Tbl. water, poppy seeds, coriander, white pepper, aniseed and cumin to paste. Blend into onion mixture. Stir for 3 minutes.

    Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan. Stir in onion mixture, 1 lemongrass stalk, cinnamon and star anise. Simmer 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in deep fryer or small saucepan to 375 degrees. Add ½ cup shallots and fry until golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.

    Add chicken breast strips to soup and simmer until just opaque, about 3 minutes. Discard lemongrass, cinnamon and star anise. Garnish soup with fried shallots, green onion and cilantro.

    * My two cents. Way too much ginger, I used half the amount.
    Same for salt. 1 teaspoon is plenty. We like thicker soups, so we added Pho noodles, though rice would have been splendid as well. I had to read it a few times and make adjustments. Three minutes for chicken to cook seemed a little 'eh'. Also, I've seen 'fragrant chicken soup' on the internet, but I could not find this particular recipe anywhere at all. I think (think) it was either in Bon Appetit or Gourmet years and years ago.

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