Daily Cooking Quest

easy Indonesian recipes

Soto Medan - Medan Style Chicken Soup

I was born in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra, and spent my childhood there. It is quite natural then that I am really partial to dishes from Medan. :D One such example is soto medan, chicken soup cooked in a broth of coconut milk, and believe it or not, we just call it soto back then since no one would get confused as to which soto you meant. It was not until my family moved to Jakarta that I even realized there are actually a dizzying array of dishes called soto, each hails from a different region in Indonesia. If you are interested at some other soto dishes from around Indonesia, you can check my posts on Soto Betawi and Soto Lamongan. I do plan to cover more soto dishes in the future, so stay tuned. ♥

Soto Medan – Medan Style Chicken Soup

Soto Medan – Medan Style Chicken Soup

Soto Medan - Medan Style Chicken Soup

5.0 from 1 reviews



Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 4


  • Soto
  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 4 chicken thigh
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 6 bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (Indonesian: kayu manis)
  • 3 cardamom (Indonesian: kapulaga)
  • 2 cloves (Indonesian: cengkeh)
  • ½ star anise (Indonesian: bunga lawang/bunga pekak)
  • 1000 ml water
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 6 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
  • 20 gram fresh galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas), peeled
  • 10 gram fresh turmeric (Indonesian: kunyit), peeled
  • 5 gram fresh ginger (Indonesian: jahe), peeled
  • ½ tablespoon coriander powder (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper (Indonesian: bubuk lada)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (Indonesian: bubuk pala)
  • Combine the following ingredients to make the chili sauce
  • 40 gram ground red chilies
  • juice of 1 lime (Indonesian: jeruk nipis)
  • 3 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Condiments
  • 100 gram glass noodles (Indonesian: sohun), soaked in boiling water until tender and drained
  • ½ cup bean sprouts (Indonesian: taoge)
  • fried shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah goreng)
  • melinjo crackers (Indonesian: emping)
  • 4 kaffir limes (Indonesian: jeruk limo)


  1. Heat cooking oil in a soup pot and fry the spice paste until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken thigh, lime leaves, bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, anise, water, and 100 ml of coconut milk into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and fully cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken, tear the chicken meat with hands and set aside.
  4. Strain the soup and return the strained soup to the pot. Add the rest of the coconut milk (another 100 ml) and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the soaked glass noodles and bean sprouts, cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  6. Divide the soto into 4 bowls, topped each bowl with the shredded chicken meat from 1 chicken thigh, garnish with some fried shallots, and serve with a plate of steamed white rice, melinjo crackers, and juice of 1 kaffir lime along with the chili sauce.


  • Emma says:

    Made this for the second time at my husband's request—it's so good! One of our favorite sotos; in fact one of the few foods my husband has actually stolen some from my bowl (instead of—in true Javanese fashion—trying to put extra in mine). We've already made your lodeh (twice), opor ayam, lemongrass chicken, orak arik, and tempeh goreng sambal kemangi (that sauce is amazing). Thanks for all the great recipes! Your website is wonderful for a foreigner like me living in Indonesia. If my husband is craving a certain food, I know I can most likely find it on here. But I'm sure he'd be happy if you added a recipe for his hometown's famous dish "sego megono": rice cooked with coconut milk, kacang panjang, and spices. :)

    • Anita says:

      I'm glad my recipes can be of help :) It's really fun when our family love our food, make all the hard work totally worth it. I'll add your request to my to-do-list Emma :)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:

Thank you! Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Something went wrong...