The Expat Woman

Indonesian Chicken Soup

Every home and every culture has its own interpretation of chicken soup. In Indonesia, chicken soup or “sayur sop ayam” is usually served at home with rice and side dishes, such as fried tofu or tempe, potato fritter, and  spicy condiment or “sambal.” Traditionally, the vegetables served in the soup consist of some (not all) of the following: carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, chinese mustard greens, and asian celery leaves.

Here, let me share my easy Indonesian-style chicken soup recipe. Feel free to replace the listed vegetables with those that are in season, and substitute tofu for chicken for vegetarian option.

Ingredients (For 4 servings):

  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced, then divide in 2
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced, divide in 2
  • 2 carrots, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 stalks of celery, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, cut in bite-size or 6 oz cherry tomatoes.
  • 2-3 gold potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch size
  • A quarter chicken, cut into 4 smaller pieces
  • A pinch of salt
  • A teaspoon of sugar
  • A dash of white pepper


  1. Make the stock: In a medium pot, heat a tablespoon of canola/olive oil over medium heat. Add one part of shallot, sauté until fragrant. Then add one part of minced garlic into the pot and keep sautéing until the garlic turns yellow. Add chicken into the pot and let it cook until chicken is no longer pink. Keep stirring the garlic and shallot occasionally to avoid burning them. Once chicken is cooked, add 4 cups of water into the pot and bring to a boil. Once the stock is boiling, pick up the chicken pieces and reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Cook the veggies: While waiting for the chicken pieces to cool down for handling, in a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of canola/olive oil over medium heat. Add the second part of shallots and sauté until fragrant, followed by adding the second part of minced garlic into the pan. Cook until garlic turns yellow, then add carrots, celery, and potatoes into the pan. Keep stirring occasionally to avoid burning the shallots or garlic. Cook the veggies until slightly soft. Turn off the heat then transfer all of the veggies into the chicken stock pan. Make sure to drop the veggies slowly into the pan. Add tomato into the pan as well. Cook until tender.
  3. Shred chicken into smaller pieces: Once the chicken is cool enough, with 2 forks separate the chicken meat from the bones and shred it. Alternatively, cut the chicken into smaller pieces. Transfer the chicken back into the pan.
  4. Season the soup: Season the soup with salt, white pepper, and sugar to your liking. Keep cooking until it boils one more time.
  5. Serve and enjoy: Pour into bowls. Serve the soup with rice or bread. Bon appétit!

Recipe by Ayu Ramadhani, expat from Indonesia and currently living in California, USA

Ayu Cooks



Nyna is the Founder and CEO of The Expat Woman, a global platform focused on connecting, supporting and empowering women who have moved abroad or plan to relocate. She is also a LinkedIn coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. LinkedIn played a huge role in my professional journey abroad, helping me build a network of powerful expat women and allies.

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