Saoto soup with mung bean noodles

This is the second blog post since I went live with my blog. After showing one of my favorite spots in my house in the first blog post, now a recipe item. For my first recipe, I thought it makes sense to share a recipe that I love to make and eat. ‘Saoto’, this Surinamese noodle soup is my ‘go-to’ soup, I can eat it anytime. We all love it, which means the kids too! ‘Saoto’, means salty, but the flavor is much more than that. It has a deep flavourful broth and delicious garnish. You can eat it as a starter like most soups, I just eat it as a main course. As there are many variations to make this soup, this is my version.

More info about this soup for people who don’t know this soup or haven’t tried it yet. Saoto is a popular soup in Surinam and in the Netherlands. You’ll definitely find it in a ‘warung’ (Surinamese restaurant), but homemade always wins. At least you can eat it the way you want to, and get messy if that’s what it takes.

Good to know, besides that it’s easy to make, it’s gluten free and low carb too! Almost completely ‘guilt-free’, if it wasn’t for the crispy potato sticks. While I’m prepping, I’m always snacking! I guess it’s part of the process. It will take about one hour to make the broth and the garnish. So if you love noodles and chicken, or Surinamese food, or soup in general, I’ll say, try it. You will love it! The best part is that you can’t cook just one bowl and why should you? When I make a big pan of

It will take about one hour to make the broth and the garnish. So if you love noodles and chicken, or Surinamese food, or soup in general, I’ll say, try it. You will love it! The best part is that you can’t cook just one bowl and why should you? When I make a big pan of Saoto, there’s enough for two days. The next day the broth taste even better! If you have visitors this soup is also a good choice, you can easily feed 4-6 people depending on how hungry they are.

Let’s start cooking! First of all, I have a big pan, if you don’t have one (yet), I suggest you divide the recipe in half. Have fun cooking and enjoy your homemade Saoto!

X Merula



Ingredients* for the broth and the garnish for the soup

*You can find most ingredients in the supermarket in the Asian food section or in an Asian food store.

I always rinse everything before I get started. To prevent making more mess than necessary, I like to create my own ‘mise en place’. First I’m going to chop the onion coarsely, one of the garlic cloves, ginger root, and galangal in 1 cm chunks. You can leave the lemongrass in one piece, but don’t forget to crush it. By crushing it, you’ll get an awesome aroma, which will intensify the broth. The tomato needs to be cut into small cubes. I put all the chopped and cleaned ingredients in containers, but you can use bowls too. For the rest of the preparation, I set aside the remaining ingredients: chicken (thighs), daun salam leafs, piment balls, salt, half bunch of baby celery, chicken broth blocks, salt and ground white pepper.

After prepping the ingredients for the broth, I’m bringing the pan to a medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is heated, the first ingredient that goes into the pan is the chicken. I always combine chicken thighs with chicken breast. The skin of chicken tight releases fat, which will give the broth that extra body. You don’t need much, I used three pieces. Now is a good time to give the chicken a good stir. You’ll see that the skin is already crisping up a bit. Next up are the onion and the tomato. The tomato also gives the broth that little extra.

After a couple more stirs you can add the water and the chicken broth blocks. I’m going to stir the content one more time before adding the chicken breast, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, piment balls and daun salam leafs. There’s a lot going on now, but you will taste the result soon. These ingredients are going to make a delicious broth and the kitchen is going to smell really good! When all the ingredients for the broth are in the pan, I’m going to turn up the heat. Let’s bring the broth to a boil. I always taste the broth to see if the flavor is balanced. It’s supposed to be salty but packed with the flavors of all the different ingredients. It should be fragrant but not heavy at all. It may look messy now but this is good, you are almost finished with the broth.

While the broth is boiling, you can give it a stir from time to time. Meanwhile, you can get started with the garnish. I’m going to start by removing the roots of the bean sprouts. This is not the most fun task but very rewarding. I think it looks better and cleaner. For the mouthfeel it’s also nicer. I can remember not being happy when my mom used to give me that task, but now I actually appreciate it. If you transfer the cleaned bean sprouts in a bowl filled with cold water, they will stay white and firm.

For this soup, we use hardboiled eggs. While the broth and the eggs are boiling, I’m going to cook the mung bean noodles in boiling water for 2/3 minutes and rinse it with cold water so it doesn’t get soggy. The eggs and the noodles are ready to set aside in a container or in a bowl.

To add some spice to the soup we use soy sambal. This is easy to make, I love to add some heat into my Soato. There is one garlic clove left. I’m going to chop it finely and mix it together in a small bowl with the (dried) chili (flakes). I always taste it to check if the flavor is not too spicy nor garlicy or sweet.

After about 20/25 minutes the chicken is cooked (in the broth). Because the broth is really hot, I’m  going to scoop it out of the pan very carefully. The fastest way to pull the chicken is with two forks. I’ll clean the pieces from the fatty parts and the little strings at the same time. When I’m done with the chicken, I’ll transfer it into a container.

As the broth is still boiling, give it another stir. Last but not least, the baby celery needs to be chopped finely and set aside in a container. These fried potato sticks and fried onions are store-bought. You can open the bags now and put the content in containers and set aside. Now the following garnish should be ready to complete the soup: (peeled) hard boiled eggs, shredded chicken, mung bean noodles, fried potato sticks, fried onions, bean sprouts, soy sambal and baby celery.

The broth had been blasting for at least one hour now, so you can turn off the heat. The broth is ready but needs to be strained first. I’m going to taste it one more time. Sometimes the broth needs a pinch of salt or white pepper to finish it. It depends on how strong you like it. Strain the broth into another pan using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of skin, bones, chicken, and other aromatics. Now the fragrant broth is ready to use.

It’s time to plate! Take your soup bowl and start with the mung bean noodles, arrange the chicken, the bean sprouts and cut the egg in half. Pour the broth into the bowl and add the fried onions, fried potato sticks and the celery root to your tasting. The soup is ready to dive in. The soy sambal is optional, but if you like it hot, now is the time to add it. Stir your soup slowly to mix the soy sambal into the broth and try the soup first to see if it’s not too spicy. Most people will eat this soup with a spoon only. I always use a spoon and chopsticks.

Enjoy your homemade Saoto soup! I’m very curious to see what you think of it. If you have any questions or suggestions for me, leave me a comment and I will happily respond.

X Merula



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