Chicken Soup (Sop Ayam)
Chicken Soup! Since everyone is still having blocked and runny nose in the family, chicken soup might just be the right choice of food even though I was planning to make beef soup actually. The change of plans was due to my husband having to work late and I am forced to work a little late in the office too whilst waiting for him to fetch me from work.
I didn't want to take the train home myself as I don't quite fancy standing in a place where I have everybody leaning against me or was it me leaning against everybody...haha..ok..whatever...and having my face right below or in front of those "Oh My God You Can Faint" armpits especially after a whole day of work! I'd rather be in the comforts of a car sitting beside the man whom I was born to marry and take for granted! Oh well, I love him!
I had wanted to drop by the supermarket to get some beef but I decided not to trouble my husband to drive the extra mile since we were already late. So, chicken soup had to be on the menu since I still have lots of chicken and chicken in my freezer. I love chicken, that's why. ;)
By the time I got home, my three and a half year old and my nine month old were waiting to harrass me as usual. So I had to make sure that my husband and mother-in-law could stand in for me for a bit whilst I "chop-chop" with the soup. So here as presented to you, pictures straight from the pot and just in the pot! Sorry! ;p I could not even snap my "I am in the mood" pictures as my baby was already crying for me. No props, no plates. So, what you see is what you see! Haha!! :-)
In general, most of the Malay community would use the soup spice pouch or what we call in Malay "rempah sup bunjut" ("Adabi" brand) for our soupy dishes which can be bought readily packed in small packets at any supermarkets or provision shops. It would have contained the basic spices needed to make soup but I still would add on more spices to add to the aroma and taste of my soup.
I think some of you might have noticed that I used more onions than most people would, i think. The reason is, other than the fact that onions are very beneficial to your health (go google and find out), onions make cooked dishes sweeter and more delicious. To me, dishes with more onions always taste better than those with less onions. So don't be surprised if you see me using more onions than usual in my cooking. I buy more onions than rice!! :p
Another habit of mine is to always use a teaspoon or a spoonful of sugar in my cooking. I am sure there are others out there who practice this too. Other than the reason of substituting MSG with sugar, sugar also balances or blends the taste of cooked dishes. Likewise, whenever I make desserts, I will, most of the time, add a pinch of salt. Again, to act as a balancer to the taste of my desserts.
Anyway, here are the ingredients:-
1 large onion - finely sliced
3 garlics - finely sliced
2 pieces star anise
2 cm cinnamon
3 pieces cardamoms
3 pieces cloves
1 pack of frozen chicken wings (about 1.5 kg) or any other chicken pieces of your choice
5 potatoes - diced into fours
2 carrots - halved lengthwise and cut into smaller pieces
1 packet of soup spice pouch or "rempah sup" bunjut (take note that "rempah sup tulang" is meant for beef soup so buy the correct one ok!)
2 tablespoons of concentrated chicken stock (you can lessen this if you use fresh chicken pieces)
3 litres of water or slightly more or less - depending on your preference.
2 spoons white ground pepper
1 spoon sugar
salt to taste
(*items to be blended)
2 large onions
2 cm ginger
a small bunch of celery - chopped
a small bunch of spring onions - chopped
a small packet of fried shallots
1. Heat oil in pot. Add in sliced onions and garlics. Saute until caramelized.
2. Add in the blended ingredients, soup spice pouch, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamoms.
3. Continue to saute. Take a deep breath and inhale all that aroma of sauteed spices. I love the smell!!
4. Saute until the onion mix is caramelized or turned slightly darker in colour and the oil is dried.
5. Add in water. Add in chicken stock concentrate, add in sugar and salt to taste. Stir.
6. Once you see the soup forming tiny little froths on the surface like in the picture above, it means the soup is heating up and you can add in the carrots. I usually add in carrots first as they take a longer time to cook than potatoes.
7. Bring to a boil.
8. Add in the potatoes and chicken pieces.
9. Simmer and bring to a boil.
10. Once your soup has boiled. Let it further boil for five minutes. Scoop up a potato and carrot and poke them with a fork to check if they are cooked. Once they are cooked, bring down fire to medium and simmer for another five minutes.
11. Add in pepper and stir. Off fire and your soup is ready. Garnish and serve.
12. I like to garnish my soup straight in the pot and stir them in before serving to further enhance the taste and aroma of the soup.