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Revised Soto

Since I began making soto, I've been trying to recapture that wonderful flavour of Indomie Soto Flavour. As fond as I am of my mother's style of soto, I've always found the flavour a bit too clear and clean, but I couldn't quite figure out what was missing. There was a missing richness to the soup, even if the soup was made from strong, bone-derived broth, and as tempting as it is to order a 30-case of Indomie to lunch on for the next 3 months, the greasy, nummy, MSG-ness is probably not in my best interests. (All married now. Kinda need my hair to stay on my head.)

I started poking around online, and found that some cooks favoured adding a touch of coconut milk into their broth. A few experiments later, I finally came up with a soto that wasn't exactly Indomie, but sure came darn close. Coconut milk does round out the flavour, adding a new dimension to the broth. I've also tweaked a few things, using whole cumin and coriander seeds, which makes those savoury spice flavours all the more prominent.

Revised Soto

Broth:

Half a stock pot of good broth (rich turkey broth works great)
1 large onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 stick celery (diced)
2 sticks lemongrass
1 thumb galangal
2 bay leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 handful coriander (chopped)
2 - 3 tbsp coconut milk
1 -2 tbsp cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste

Noodles & Garnish:

1 cake rice vermicelli (blanched)
1 boiled potato (sliced thin) or potato croquettes (1 for each person)
1 boiled egg (halved) or omelet (sliced into strips)
1 cucumber (julienned)
shredded chicken/beef (boiled - often reserved from boiling the stock)
fried shallots

Method:

1. In a large stock pot, saute the onion, celery and garlic till the onion is translucent.
2. Add lemon grass, galangal, bay leaves, coriander, cumin and turmeric. Saute till fragrant, and the coriander and cumin are toasted but not burnt.
3. Add stock. Bring to boil. Simmer for 45 - 60 minutes. If you prefer, you could boil the meat or potato for garnishing in the stock for more flavour. Like all good soups, this broth will taste better overnight and reheated.
4. While waiting for the stock, divide rice vermicelli into deep bowls. Top with all the garnishes, add fried shallots last.
5. Turn heat down as low as possible for the broth -- a gentle simmer at best. This will prevent the coconut milk from curdling and separating from its oil. Add coconut milk. Stir gently, until the broth is just mixed. Throw in coriander. Add salt and pepper to taste. The flavour you want is rich with spice, but not too peppery.
6. Turn off heat. Pour enough soup to cover the noodles in each bowl. Serve hot.

If you prefer a less lumpy soup, you can strain the broth before pouring it out. I don't mind the extra chunks of onion or bits of cumin, so I usually don't do this.

Potato croquettes can be made from any old recipe you have lying around. Indonesian-style croquettes are the original garnish, I use the Savoury Squirrel Bakes from The Redwall Cookbook, made with leftover mashed taters. That's really up to you.

If you don't like rice vermicelli, you can serve this with rice, or compressed rice cubes (ketupat).

Finally, if you do like your noodles a bit warmer, you can add a dash of Tabasco sauce before eating to your bowl. Indomie often includes a pack of hot pepper powder that really works. I actually get cravings for that darn hot pepper pack.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
countlibras
Feb. 2nd, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
ooh, sounds tasty.

curious - what things do you like to use galangal for?
vampyrichamster
Feb. 2nd, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Mostly curry pastes. Virtually all the Southeast Asian/Indian curries I know of features galangal somewhere in it. It's also handy for certain soups, like Tom Yam Kung or Tom Kha Kai, and of course, soto.
aerinys
Feb. 2nd, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Sounds awesome. I'm going to have to try some of your recipes sometime. :)

When you say "half a stock", how big of a stock do you usually make? Like just a huge pot full?
vampyrichamster
Feb. 2nd, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Oof! That was a total typo. I meant, "half a stock pot". Edited to show this. Thanks!
aerinys
Feb. 2nd, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
Awesome :) I will try making it sometime!
vampyrichamster
Feb. 2nd, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Let me know how it goes! :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )