Chicken soup, not only good for the body, but also for the soul? That good? For me, it is.
I love chicken soup, with noodles or pasta, rice or thick crusty bread. It is the ultimate comfort food. One of our uncles shared his recipe of chicken soup using freshly ground spices, and it turned out to be so great that I swore I could finish the whole pot of soup. Of course I will be bloated by the end of the day, but it would be so satisfying, mentally and physically.
It has all the usual ingredients, chicken pieces with bones still intact, bits and pieces of vegetables. Instead of chicken broth, the soup is flavored by candlenut, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, cardamon and ginger. The soup would not be as clear as the usual consomme, but it is clouded by the spices.
The zest of the soup is so warming that it is truly the best version I have had so far. It would be great with some improvement, by adding some pasta or dumplings. But for now, I am keeping this as original as possible. The soup is served as one of the main courses for lunch or dinner, and fried shallots sprinkled on top – which is totally unnecessary. But Indonesians put shallots on everything, so who am I to deny the soup of this garnish?
The chicken meat used is whole chicken, cut into medium pieces. Unlike other version, this is only cooked for less than 1 hour. The gelatinous effect from the chicken bone is minimum and I personally think that all parts of chicken can be used, including chicken feet and neck. After the cut vegetables are added, the heat is lowered down to a simmer. As any other type of chicken soup, this one is still good the next day. Ours never saw another daylight.
3 candlenuts (10 gr), toasted
1" cinnamon stick
1 whole nutmeg
1/2 star anise
2 whole cardamon
1/2 teaspoon whole white pepper
4 shallots (25 gr)
2 cloves garlic (10 gr)
2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cubed
2 medium-sized potatoes
400 gr chicken, cut into medium pieces
2 stalks chinese celery
2 stalks spring onion
1 medium-sized tomato, halved
1/2 stalk leek
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
5 cups water
1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
Boil water and salt in a medium-sized stock pot over high heat
In a spice grinder, grind garlic, shallot, ginger, white pepper till pasty consistency
In a saucepan, heat cooking oil over medium heat and stir fry the spice paste for 5 minutes, till fragrant and color turned slightly brownish
Add the paste into the stockpot with boiling water. Toss in halved tomato, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and cardamon
Add chicken pieces and lower heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes
Toss in leek, spring onion, celery, potato cubes and carrot. Simmer for another 10 minutes
Remove the leafy ingredients, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and cardamon before serving