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Soto Ayam (Malaysian chicken soup)

1 of 6


For the soup
  • 1 baby chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 litres of hot water (plus more as needed)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 lemon grass, bruised
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cardamom
  • 8 shallots, peeled and cut in quarter
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 lemon grass stalk
  • 2 inch galangal, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp water (or as needed)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 0.75 tbsp salt (add more to taste if needed)
  • 0.5 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 0.5 tbsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce (add more if needed)
  • 2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 100g dried rice vermicelli, blanched in hot water for a few minutes
  • 200g yellow noodles, blanched in hot water for a few minutes
  • handful of beansprouts, blanched in hot water for a few minutes
  • coriander leaves
  • spring onion
  • red chilli
  • shallots
  • boiled eggs
For the spice mix (or rempah, as the Malaysians call it)
For assembly
Extras you can add
  • Cooking Time
    1 hr 15 mins altogether
  • Serving
    Serves 6
  • Skill Level


When you are missing Malaysia, a delicious soto ayam can really help bring back wonderful memories. This soup was one of our favourites with its depth of flavour and deliciousness. I read through a few recipes and took the best of all the different ways of making this soup. Obviously this cannot compare to the real deal in Malaysia, but it definitely comes very close to it.
  1. In a large pot, add all the ingredients under 'for the soup' and bring to the boil over high heat. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and allow it to simmer until the chicken is cooked through
  2. Remove the chicken pieces and allow them to cool so you can de-bone them. Keep the shredded chicken aside, and place the bones of the chicken into the soup pot to continue simmering (you can add hot water if you notice the water is becoming less)
  3. Meanwhile, prepare your spice mix by blending together the shallots, garlic cloves, lemon grass stalk, galangal, ginger and a little water to help it all blend easily
  4. In a separate pot, add the cooking oil over medium heat and saute the blended spice mix until fragrant. This may take 7-10 mins
  5. Add to this spice mix the salt, turmeric, coriander powder, turmeric powder and white pepper. Cook for a further few minutes
  6. Using a strainer, add the chicken stock into your pot with the spice mix (straining it avoids any bones or leaves in your soup)
  7. Add the soy sauce and sugar, then taste to adjust the seasoning. Simmer over medium heat for 5 mins
  8. In a serving bowl, add the blanched bean sprouts, rice vermicelli and yellow noodles. Pour enough soup to cover the noodles, then top with shredded chicken, freshly chopped coriander leaves, chopped spring onions, chopped chilli and if you like fried shallots and hard boiled egg.

It is best served warm, with an extra dash of soy sauce. I absolutely loved making this, and then loved even more being able to dig into it. It has such a depth of flavour, that right kick of heat, yet it is so light and filling! Give it a try, I would be surprised if you don't love it! Enjoy :)


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