Soto Medan - Medan Style Chicken Soup

Soto Medan (Medan Style Chicken Soup)

Indonesia has quite an array of Soto, which comes from every region in the country. Uniquely, each and another is different and they have their own specialty. This time is Soto Medan, an Indonesia chicken soup that originated from the capital of North Sumatera province. The creamy broth made of coconut milk is very thick and savory, inviting from both the appearance and smell.

If you have never heard of Soto Medan, let’s learn how to make it with the following recipe.


  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1.5 hours

Servings: 4



  • 4 chicken thigh, skin removed (if you prefer fat-free meat, use chicken breast but it won’t be as savory)
  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 cardamon
  • ½ star anise
  • 1 litre water
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • Salt and sugar for seasoning

Spice paste

  • 6 shallots (can be substitute with red onion or onion, same weight)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 candlenuts (can be substitute with macadamia or almond, same weight)
  • 20 gram galangal, peeled
  • 10 gram turmeric, peeled
  • 5 gram ginger, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon coriander powder

Chili sauce (combine all the ingredients)

  • 40 gram red chili, grounded
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
  • Salt and sugar for taste

Complements & Garnish

  • 100 gram mungbean vermicelli, soaked in boiling water until soft and drained
  • 125 gram beansprouts
  • 4 kaffir limes
  • 2 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 stalk Chinese celery leaves, chopped
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • Fried shallots
  • Melinjo crackers


  1. Heat cooking oil in a pot, fry the spice paste for 3 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add all the soto ingredients into the pot (only 100 ml for the coconut milk), stir once and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 30 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken, drain the excess liquid and hand-shredded it into pieces. Set aside.
  4. Strain the soup to remove the other ingredients, bring it back to the pot then add the rest of the coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
  5. Put in the mungbean vermicelli and bean sprout, cook for 1-2 minutes before turning off the heat.
  6. Divide the soto into 4 servings bowl, topped each with the complements, garnish with fried shallots.
  7. Serve with a plate of steamed white rice.


  • Use fresh herbs and spices for a more indulging taste
  • If you want to make it simple, you may use dried herbs
  • When you are bringing a coconut milk into a boil, it is recommended to keep stirring it so that it will not break
  • Broken coconut milk brings different flavor and texture to the dish

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