My inner-child was beyond excited when I woke up to shoot this. In fact, I’ve been brewing up ideas about how I wanted to expand the blog for quite a while. Over the past few weeks I’ve shared a bit of how I’ve found a new love and curiosity for life at home — something that’s been stirring in me for a while. No this does not mean I will no longer be traveling (there’s a full calendar ahead!), rather it means I’ve found another creative outlet at home: food.
Why food? I think it’s a beautiful opportunity to come together and share in community. The same community we experience abroad in travel, I believe we have at home. Food offers an opportunity to spark conversation, remind us of fond times, and create memories. At home when I taste pho, I can see myself sitting on a street corner in Hanoi, hearing the whizzing motorcycles, and can smell the fresh produce in the morning air. I crunch into a baguette with pate, and I’m reminded of my family’s town in France. Taste and memory is powerful.
I hope you’ll join me in a love for bringing memories alive, experiencing international cuisine at home, and join together with friends to break bread. Take a look at the first recipe hailing from Indonesia.
Soto Ayam Recipe
About this dish
A traditional soup from Indonesia, soto ayam is translated as chicken (ayam) soup (soto). Regions of Indonesia create soto ayam differently, with variations raging from noodles to rice, additional spices in the broth, and other toppings. It’s an everyday soup, a comfort food, but ever so exquisite in taste. My husband grew up eating this soup (his mother is Indonesian), and it was a childhood staple. When we visited Bali, we had a few variations of the soup, and we came home on a mission to recreate the dish.
The result? A fragrant broth that is a labor of love, toppings that crunch, and fond memories of Bali.
- Put chicken in a medium pot with lime leaves, lemon grass, salt and 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 45 minutes, skimming as needed to make a clear broth. Remove chicken pieces from broth and set aside and shred. Remove and discard lemon grass and lime leaves; keep stock in pot.
- In a small food processor, combine peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin seeds and pulse until ground. Add halved shallots, garlic, turmeric and ginger and pulse to a thick paste. (Add water if needed.)
- Heat canola oil in a saucepan over high heat. When hot, add the spice paste and stir until paste starts to separate from the oil, around 5 minutes.
- Add the finished spice paste and shredded chicken to broth. Bring to a simmer then cook 10 minutes.
- Cook noodles in a separate saucepan, follow directions on package.
- Soft boil eggs, and cut in half. Set aside.
- After 10 minutes on the broth, turn off the heat and add in lime juice and salt for taste.
- Time to serve! Portion out the noodles in a large bowl. Add shredded cabbage and soft-boiled egg. Then add on the shredded chicken and broth on top and sprinkle with celery leaves or herbs, and fried shallots. On the table, use lime and sambal as additional toppings.
*Serves 4 people
- 2 free-range chicken breasts
- 2 stalks fresh lemon grass, tied in a knot after bruising
- 6 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or frozen or cilantro.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 ½ tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 6 shallots (5 peeled and halved and 2 sliced thinly and fried in grapeseed oil.)
- 4 peeled cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh turmeric or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons canola oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 package vermicelli thin dried rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves, mint, Thai basil or cilantro leaves
- Shredded savoy cabbage, placed in a bowl
- Three soft-boiled eggs, cut in half
- Quartered limes
- Sambal chili paste (can purchase at store)