"This chicken noodle soup has to be one of Indonesia’s favourite soups, especially among the kids. This recipe is inspired by all of the incredible organic produce I came across on this trip." Peter Kuruvita, Peter Kuruvita's Coastal Kitchen
- 1.25 kg free-range chicken (see note)
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
- 1 tsp salt, plus extra, to taste
- 60 ml (¼ cup) peanut oil
- 150 g rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 eggs
- 2 handfuls chopped greens, such as celery leaves, mint, Thai basil and coriander leaves
- chopped macadamias, halved cherry tomatoes, fried onions, lime cheeks and sambal oelek, to serve
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 5 red Asian shallots, peeled and halved
- 2 tbsp finely sliced ginger
- 1½ tsp chopped fresh turmeric
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Using a large sharp knife, remove the chicken breasts and set aside. Place the legs, wings and carcass in a large saucepan with the lime leaves, lemongrass, salt and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. During cooking, skim off any scum that rises to the top. Strain, discard the solids (reserving the leg meat if using), then return to a clean pan.
Meanwhile, to make the spice paste, grind all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle or small blender until a paste forms. You many need to add a little peanut oil to help bring the paste together.
Heat the peanut oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When it is very hot, add the spice paste and stir for 4-5 minutes or until the paste is cooked and beginning to separate from the oil. Spoon the cooked spice paste into the stock, trying to leave any oil out. Remove the skin from the chicken breasts, add to the stock, then bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 9-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside.
Cook the noodles according to the packet directions, then drain and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of water to a gentle simmer. Crack the eggs into 2 ramekins, making sure you don’t break the yolks. Use a large spoon to create a whirlpool in the water, then carefully pour the eggs, one at a time into the water and poach until cooked to your liking. The water should only just bubble, not boil. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on a clean kitchen cloth.
To serve, return the broth to the boil, stir in the lime juice and check the seasoning, then skim off any remaining oil from the top and strain pour into a jug. Cut the chicken into slices and divide among 2 bowls with the noodles and poached egg. Top with chopped greens, macadamia nuts and the tomato. Pour the stock over the top, then serve with fried onions, sambal oelek and lime cheeks.
• If you prefer, substitute the whole chicken with 2 chicken breasts and buy a chicken carcass and a couple of wings to make the stock. The chicken legs aren’t used in the soup, but you can add them to the stock and use them for another dish.
• Try and buy peanut oil that has not been deodorised and unflavoured. True peanut oil has a very unique flavour, so you’ll have to head to Asian supermarkets to find it.
Photography by Dan Freene. Food preparation by Peter Kuruvita/ Cody Fahey.