All of us know about the tastes of Chinese and Japanese cuisine, but how many of us know about authentic South-East Asian cuisine?
Soto Ayam is one of Indonesia’s favourite soups, which sounds just perfect for the ‘winter is coming’ season. It is a spicy chicken soup served with a variety of vegetables, compressed rice and turmeric to achieve its signature yellow colour.
Generally eaten in Singapore, Indonesia, Suriname (a country in South America) and Malaysia, it is a delicious and wholesome one-pot meal.
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The main ingredients of Soto Ayam include chicken, turmeric soup, compressed rice cakes (known as lontong, nasi himpit or ketupat), vermicelli along with slices of fried potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, Chinese celery leaves and fried shallots (small onions) for more nutritive value.
‘Koya’, powder of mixed prawn crackers with fried garlic or even sambal (a hot sauce made from chilli peppers, fish sauce, garlic, shallot, shrimp paste, lime juice, scallion, palm sugar and rice vinegar), krupuk (deep fried crackers made from starch to add crunch to soups and broths) and emping (snack crackers made from melinjo nuts that can be sweet, salty or spicy according to the choice of condiment) – any of these can be used as a topping. Coconut milk is a popular choice of ingredient when making Soto Ayam, to add more nutrition to the plate. Soto Ayam is served hot with one’s choice of topping.
Did you know that Soto Ayam is just one among the most popular variants of the famous Indonesian ‘Soto’?
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There are different variations of Soto Ayam, some of which are Soto Ambengen, Soto Kudus, Soto Banjar and Soto Medan, to name few.
In general, ‘Soto’ (also known as ‘sroto’, ‘coto’ or ‘tauto’) refers to a traditional Indonesian broth made from meat and vegetables. More western-style soups would be called ‘sop’, which sounds similar to the Western term ‘soup’.
The ‘Soto’ holds high importance in South-East Asian countries from Sumatra to Papua including Singapore and Malaysia and can be found in both fine-dine restaurants and smaller eateries.
If you’re eager to try out some new kinds of cuisines, have a taste of the Soto Ayam – it’s warm, it’s filling and it’s great for those winter blues. Who knows, you might just move over the regular old tomato soup with your new favourite choice!