Mee soto's my labour of love
IT IS a local classic which I never tire of. Mee soto ayam is one my favourite dishes.
I decided to revisit this dish after I struck up a conversation with housewife Sharifa Rahman, 54, at a supermarket a few weeks ago.
She helpfully offered her recommendation when she saw me trying to decide which brand of prawn paste to buy.
Madam Sharifa was looking for kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soya sauce) to make a dipping sauce for the mee soto she was cooking that day.
She shared with me her recipe for the rempah (spice paste), which is made up of garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, ground coriander, onion and dried chilli. She usually uses a whole chicken.
I improvised on her recipe and used two chicken carcasses, in addition to one whole chicken, to cook the stock.
I chose to use a kampung chicken because it is leaner and adds less oil to the stock. I removed the skin before cooking.
The hard work is mostly in making the rempah, which is essential for the spiced chicken stock.
You can serve the dish with begedil and hard-boiled egg to make this an even more robust one-dish meal.
400g yellow noodles
1 whole kampung chicken
2 chicken carcasses
1 garlic bulb
2 lemongrass stalks
2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 star anise
Salt to taste
10 garlic cloves
2 red onions
2 dried chillies (soaked and softened)
10g fresh turmeric or ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
2 stalks of lemongrass (only the white root)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
Grind the ingredients for the rempah into a paste.
Heat 4 tbsp of oil and fry the rempah over medium-low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside.
To prepare the soup stock, blanch the chicken carcasses and place in pot with 4 litres of water.
Add the garlic, star anise, cloves, two lemongrass stalks and kaffir lime leaves. Boil for two hours.
Add the rempah to the stock.
Add salt to taste.
Place chicken into the stock and boil for 40 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the stock, debone and shred the meat.
Filter the stock to remove the chicken bones.
Prepare a pot of boiling water. Boil the noodles or beehoon for 2 minutes. Drain and place in bowl.
Add soup stock.
Add the shredded chicken.
Garnish with Chinese celery and fried shallots.
THE NEW PAPER