The naming of a soto is pretty simple, usually we just append the location it hails from after soto. For example, soto Betawi comes from Betawi, which is Jakarta by the way :) Then, coto Makassar comes from Makassar, soto Bandung comes from Bandung, etc. Soto ayam Ambengan is exactly like that, but I think it is way way WAY too specific since this soto actually comes from the city of Surabaya, from a soto restaurant located on Ambengan Street! I mean, if it is up to me, I would have called it soto Surabaya, less confusion. ;)
Now that you know how the soup got its name. I am going to tell you the characteristic of this soto. Soto ayam Ambengan has a yellow colored soup since turmeric is one of must have spices to make the soup, and koya is always added when enjoying a bowl of this soup. Koya is a powdery mixture made from crushed shrimp crackers (kerupuk udang) and fried garlic, good stuff I am telling you, it amps up the umami taste by a lot. If you cannot find shrimp crackers, the best substitution would be crushed fried ebi (dried tiny shrimps). Here is another shot with a broken down list on what goes into a soto ayam Ambengan, minus the soup by the way so you get a better idea. ♥
Soto Ayam Ambengan - Ambengan Chicken Soup
- 1 free range chicken (Indonesian: ayam kampung), cut into 4
- 2 1/2 liter water
- 5 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
- 10 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoon salt, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
- Grind the following into spice paste
- 15 shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 8 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
- 6 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
- 2 inch turmeric (Indonesian: kunyit)
- 1 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
- Koya (shrimp crackers powder), grind the following together
- 20 gram shrimp crackers (Indonesian: kerupuk udang)
- 1 tablespoon fried garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Garnish and accompaniments
- 100 gram glass noodle (Indonesian: sohun)
- 100 gram cabbage (Indonesian: kol)
- 6 hard boiled eggs (Indonesian: telur rebus)
- 2 scallions (Indonesian: daun bawang), thinly sliced
- 1 bunch Chinese celery (Indonesian: daun seledri), thinly sliced
- lime wedges
- boiled chili sauce (Indonesian: sambal rebus) *
- Boil together chicken, water, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and sauté spice paste until fragrant. Transfer the cooked spices into the chicken soup.
- Season the soup with salt and sugar, and keep cooking until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Turn off the heat, remove the chicken from the soup, remove the bones and tear the meat into small shreds with your hands. Set the chicken meat aside.
- Garnish and accompaniments
- Soak the glass noodle in cold water until soften, then blanch in boiling water until fully transparent. Refresh under cold water, drain, and set aside.
- Thinly slice the cabbage to make cabbage shreds, then blanch in boiling water.
- To serve
- Arrange boiled glass noodle, cabbage, chicken meat, and egg in a serving bowl. Top with some soup and some koya. Garnish with sliced scallion and Chinese celery. Serve with boiled chili sauce and lime wedges.
- (*) Sambal rebus (boiled chili sauce) recipe: https://dailycookingquest.com/sambal-rebus-boiled-chili-sauce.html