Soto Ayam

4 chicken cutlets (or 4 boneless chicken legs)
6 cups water
2 cups coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass , finely chopped
4 lime leaves
8 cloves garlic
3 shallots
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 (4-inch piece) galangal, peeled
1 (4-inch piece) fresh turmeric, peeled
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
4 oz. rice vermicelli
3 scallions , thinly sliced
2 red chili peppers , sliced
3 hard boiled eggs , peeled and quartered
1 cup bean sprouts
Juice of 2 kaffir limes
1/4 bunch cilantro , chopped
1 cup cooked rice

In a Dutch oven, sauté the chicken in half the oil for 5 minutes.

Add water, coconut milk, half the lemongrass, the lime leaves, spring onions, half the garlic, tomato, celery, and salt.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside.

Remove skin and bones from chicken and cut into strips. Set aside.

Prepare a spice paste: With a pestle and mortar or a food processor, grind the shallots, ginger, galangal, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, the remaining lemongrass, garlic until obtaining a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
Sauté the spice paste and hot pepper slices for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Add broth and reserved kaffir lime juice. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the rice vermicelli according to the package directions. Drain.

Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain.

Place all the ingredients in large bowls.

Pour the broth into each bowl. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
Serve with rice.

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