So, while I was in Indonesia last month, I got to document my sister-in-law’s cook, Mbak Mus, cooking several dishes. One of the things she made was Soto (yellow chicken soup – my literal translation. I called it yellow chicken soup, because… well, the soup is yellow… ha ha..). Please note that she made this Soto for my niece, Tiffany, who loves to eat her rice with broth. So this Soto is practically only Soto broth, no meat, no veggies, just plain broth. So if you intend to follow this particular post to make Soto, add the chicken meat and other veggies in it and try to find other resources to guide you.
I never realized how easy it was actually to make it from scratch, when you have all of the ingredients, of course. The only time I made Soto was when I bought the ready-made spices from the grocery store. I had watched my mom’s cook prepare a bunch of Indonesian food when I was young, but I guess, it never registered in my brain. I thought it was so complicated with the amount of spices involved.
So now, when I had the chance, I documented it. It is good for me to have a memory of it, while I still have my memory. You know, my brain is getting full, and unlike today’s technology, I cannot get a storage expansion in the form of USB storage drive. My head does not have a USB port on it… Ok… let’s get back to talking about Soto rather than my brain and my humongous head…
First you make the chicken broth by boiling some chicken bones. Here in the States, if you don’t want to bother with this, then just open up a can of the ready made chicken broth. Of course the ready-made chicken broth would have a lot of sodium in it. So if you are watching your sodium intake, get the low sodium one. Or, better yet, make your own chicken broth. 🙂 It’s not that hard.
You will need: garlic, shallot, salt, and ginger.
Then the spices were grinded in this made-in-Indonesia mortar and pestle. Do you know that this kind of mortar and pestle were made out of the volcanic rock? Eighteen years ago, my luggage was being scrutinized by the security officers in Surabaya’s Juanda airport. They could not figure out what was this round thingy inside my luggage going through the X-ray machine. So they opened it up and were laughing when they saw what it was. “Ooo… nggowo cowek toh…” (“Ohh… she’s bringing mortar with her.”) ha ha.. It was an impressive mortar and pestle I got that time. In fact, I still have it 18 years later. Ok, I will talk more about the Indonesian mortar and pestle in my travel blog.
So, after all of the spices were ground into a paste, another spice was added to the mix. It is called kunyit, or turmeric in English. Turmeric is the spice that make this soup yellow in color, as well as give it the flavor of the turmeric. Why it was ground separately, I will have to ask her next time I meet her again. The turmeric were ground and incorporated with the rest of the spices.
Then the spices were stir-fried until fragrant.
And a little bit of the broth went into the wok.
This is Mbak Mus. Mustika. 🙂 I already asked her permission to post her picture online… 🙂 She said yes. Although, I wonder if she knew what she was signing on for. Now she is famous through my blog. 🙂
Keep cooking the spices until it starts boiling.
Then transfer the spices into the pot of broth.
Add the fried shallot on to the soup. Voila! And you got yourself some Soto. Actually, Soto broth. 🙂