Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Vegan Indonesian 'Chicken' Soup (Soto 'Ayam') in less than 30 minutes!

Last night, driving home from work, I was craving for a hot bowl of soup. It was raining hard all day. Who says that it never rains in California? We had rain, rain, and rain for the past couple weeks that we started to think that we live in Oregon. It was cold, too, at least for us, the sunshine lovers, Californians. I was not sure that I have all the ingredients but I was determined to make this Indonesian 'chicken' soup no matter what. Sometimes I don't have plans for dinner and end up planning to make 'something' in my car as I drive home from work. Dangerous, huh? Well, we women are always multitasking.
I also had a dilemma. It was a Tuesday night, American Idol night! I know, I know, I am hooked (shouldn't have started watching it in the first place). It was already approaching 5:30 pm by the time I arrived home from work. That means that I have to be finished cooking, cleaning up, eating, showering, and sorting the mail before 8 pm. No problem! My Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker had come to the rescue.
I chopped and pounded garlic and shallots in my mortar and pestle about 3 minutes. Yes, I am an old fashion but I love pounding spices using a mortar and pestle instead of a mini food processor. I am used to my mortar and pestle by now. I went out to the garden to pull a stalk of lemongrass, cleaned and sliced it in 2 minutes. I soaked soy curls in warm water for 1 minute. I made the 'chicken' broth with warm water in 1 minute ( I have this hot water pot that keeps the water warm all day, a great investment for cooking). I sliced and cleaned fresh ginger and galanga for 2 minute. I took my pressure cooker out and started sauteing the garlic and shallots paste for 5 minutes. Then, I put all ingredients and seasonings for the soup in my PC, just turned it high and pressure cooked for 8 minutes. I then released the pressure quickly (my PC has a turn top valve to release the pressure on the stove, neat!). Voila! The 'chicken' soup is ready in less than 30 minutes. Move over, Rachel Ray!

Well, ok, it didn't take me 30 minutes to prepare ALL needed for dinner. Indonesian ‘chicken’ soup is served with side vegetables and condiments that eventually end up in the soup bowl during serving and eating time. I spent another 15 minutes steaming the potatoes, kale, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. I steamed the potatoes in my PC for only 7 minutes and the other vegetables in my steamer, at the same time. By the way, the items that I used this time are not traditional side dishes for this soup. Traditionally, we serve this soup with steamed potatoes, cabbage, beansprouts, bean thread noodles, emping, Indonesian Perkedel, and boiled egg(but I omit the eggs, of course). I didn't have those ingredients so I substituted with kale, carrots, caulifower, and broccoli which in a way were healthier.
All in all, it was done in less than 1 hour including taking pictures for the blog. Nowadays my cooking preparations include photography for the Internet. Is this the 21st century or what? I was able to finish the cleaning up, eating, showering, and sorting the mail in time for the 21st century entertainment: American Idol!

Vegan Indonesian 'Chicken' Soup (Soto ‘Ayam’)
Servings: 4
Printable Recipe

3 Tbsp 'chicken' broth powder or 2 Tbsp. bouillon paste
8 cups warm water
2 cups soy curls
6 clove garlic
4-5 clove shallots
3-5 kemiri or candlenuts, optional
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp canola oil
2 Tbsp vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce
2 slices ginger
2 slices galanga or 1/4 tsp galanga powder
1 stalk lemongrass or 1/2 tsp dry lemongrass powder
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/8 tsp ground white pepper

3 small potatoes, steamed
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts, steamed
1 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded, steamed
4 oz bean thread noodles, optional
Kecap Manis
Chili Garlic Sauce
Celery or cilantro or parsley, chopped
Lime wedges
Store bought brambang goreng or Indonesian fried shallots
  1. Combine 'chicken' broth powder or paste and 6 cups warm water. Combine soy curls and 2 cups warm water. Set aside.
  2. Using a mini processor, grind garlic, shallots, and candlenut (kemiri), if using. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, shallots, and candlenuts, if using, into a paste mixture. Add 1/8 tsp ground turmeric and combine.
  3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a heavy pot or soup pot. Add the garlic, shallots, and candlenuts paste. Saute the paste mixture for 5 minutes. Add some broth to prevent sticking. Add sliced ginger and galanga, saute for another 2 minutes. Add broth, soy curls, vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce, and lemon grass. Simmer for 30 minutes. Alternatively, use a pressure cooker, cook on high for 8 minutes, quick release the pressure.
  4. While the soup is cooking, steam potatoes (with peeling), bean sprouts, and cabbage. Soak bean thread noodles (if using) in hot water until soft, then drain.
  5. Serving the soup:Take out the ginger, lemongrass, and galanga slices from the soup. The soup should be boiling hot. The steamed vegetables and noodles are arranged in a bowl, then, ladle in the hot soup to include the soy curls. Serve the condiments on the side. Each person, if necessary, adds kecap manis, chili garlic sauce, chopped celery or cilantro, fried shallots , emping, and squeezed lime juice into the soup while eating.
Nutrition Facts (without candlenuts):
Nutrition (per serving): 459.7 calories; 5% calories from fat; 2.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 778.6mg sodium; 2173.2mg potassium; 101.1g carbohydrates; 4.9g fiber; 4.0g sugar; 96.2g net carbs; 15.4g protein; 8.6 points.
Cooking Tips:
I use Bill's Best Chiknish broth powder or Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base paste for the broth. It's delicious!


Dori said...

You are so kitchen saavy! 30 minutes.... my family would have got the soup - that's all, the soup. All the side dishes wow. Looks good enough to eat.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Oh, you have been busy while i've been away! I can't wait to catch up! I hope you are organizing these for your cookbook!

Harmonia said...

Thanks for the comments on my blog! I'm linking you today! You're pictures are always so wonderful!

Eat Peace Please said...

For a few days (week?) I thought I couldn't find you again. You make amazing dishes and I love the spices and I am so happy to find your page again. This looks wonderful and I love the presentation and color.

Unknown said...

Thanks all for visiting! Your comments are really appreciated and encouraged me to post more!