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Ginger Prawns,Soto Ayam ( Spicy Chicken Soup with Noodles)

October 27, 2001

Ginger Prawns

2 lbs. large, fresh prawns
2 tsp. fresh ginger, shredded finely

8 red chili peppers
15 shallots
10 cloves garlic
1 tsp. turmeric powder
2 Tbsp. oil
3 stalks lemon grass
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime zest
1 cup water
2 cups coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
5 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped


Remove heads and shells from prawns and reserve. Leave tails on. Chop chilies, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Combine, add turmeric, and bruise with a mortar and pestle. Heat oil in a saucepan and stir-fry the blended ingredients with the prawn shells and heads. Bruise the lemon grass and lemon/lime zest and stir in both. When shells turn pink, add the water and coconut milk and simmer for five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sieve sauce to remove shells and heads and put sauce back in pan. Add fresh prawns and shredded ginger and simmer until prawns are tender.

Soto Ayam ( Spicy Chicken Soup with Noodles)
1 3-lb. chicken
1 and one-half oz. (one and one half ounces) oriental “glass” noodles, soaked in hot water to soften
5 oz. bean sprouts
5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
5 Tbsp. Chinese celery leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp. fried shallots

Spice paste:
15 shallots
10 cloves garlic
8 macadamia nuts
2 tsp. fresh ginger, shredded
2 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tsp. coriander powder
3 tbsp. oil
3 stalks lemon grass
2 tbsp. lemon or lime zest
Salt and pepper to taste


Simmer the whole chicken in six cups of water for 30 minutes. Make the spice paste: Chop shallots, garlic, and nuts. Add shredded ginger, turmeric, and coriander and enough oil to wet the mixture. Process in a blender until chopped finely. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy saucepan and saute the blended paste with the lemon grass and zest for four to five minutes. Stir frequently.

Add the cooked spice paste to the partially cooked chicken and simmer for another 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the stock, debone, and cut meat into shreds. Strain stock and put back into pot. Divide noodles, bean sprouts, eggs, celery leaves, and chicken shreds into six large bowls. Pour hot stock into each, and top with fried shallots.


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