Laksa Ayam Betawi (Jakarta Coconut Chicken Soup)

800 gr chicken breast fillet – about 28 oz, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups coconut milk

Ingredients to grind:
30 gr dried shrimp – soak in warm water until soft
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1 inch fresh ginger
1 Tbsp sambal oelek – or more if you want it spicier. You can also use this chili paste

Spices and herbs:
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp galangal powder
1 stalk lemongrass
2 bay leaves
3 kaffir lime leaves

Seasonings:
2 tsp salt – or more to taste
1 tsp sugar – or more to taste
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Choice of noodles: (choose one)
Rice noodles – (bihun) prepare according to directions on the package
mungbean thread noodles – (soun) prepare according to directions on the package

Serve with:
200 gr mungbean sprouts (tauge) – blanched in hot water
2 hard-boiled eggs – cut into quarters
Crispy fried shallots / bawang goreng
Emping crackers
Limes

Garnishes:
1 stalk green onion – finely chopped
Fresh mints and/or basil leaves

Place all ingredients to grind in a food processor and process into a paste. Add the cooking oil to help it going.

Preheat a large heavy-bottom pot. Add cooking oil (if you haven’t added it when you grind the ingredients above). Add the ground ingredients and stir fry until they smell really good, about 3 minutes or so.

Add the chicken pieces followed by turmeric, coriander, galangal powder, and seasonings. Stir to mix everything and cook until the chicken just turn opaque and add chicken broth, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Then stir in the coconut milk. Have a taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Serving:
Portion the cooked noodles into individual serving bowl. Portion out some chicken pieces. and beansprouts. Ladle the hot soup over.

Add hard-boiled pieces, chopped green onions, bawang goreng, and fresh mint and/or basil leaves. Squeeze some lime juice over if you like. Serve immediately when it’s warm with some emping crackers if you have some.

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