Some think it’s cuckoo to put rice in your soup. Well, people from Suriname and my fellow Dutch Indonesians completely disagree. My family pops rice in every soup; in green pea soup, in brown bean soup. A scoop of rice turns a soepie into A Meal. Home-made chicken soup is manna to sick souls. When I was feverish my mother used to serve me saoto ajam (chicken soup), with rice of course. To Dutch Indonesians saoto is the holy grail of soups. The broth of this Javanese soup is powerful, but the flavours of lemon grass, lime leaves, koenjit (turmeric) and ginger make the soup fresh and elegant too. It’s usually served with chopped celery, fried onions, beans sprouts and boiled eggs. Close to where I live is a great Surinamese-Javanese takeaway, Warung SuriKitchen, where I buy my chicken satay and rich saoto mama-style. Based on broth of a real chicken – no way, chicken fillet – including the right spices and the sides the soup deserves. Try it with the yellow paste of Madame Jeanette peppers. It’s about as evil as it looks like.
Saoto ajam, one big portion, €4.50
Tweede Nassaustraat 38, West (Westerpark)
+31 (0) 20 475 10 21
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-10pm, Sunday 3pm-10pm