02 Mar2006


Chicken sotanghon soup is serious comfort food for Marketman. I have fond memories of this dish back to my single digits. I am sure everyone has their version and I never ever thought to ask how this was cooked in our home many years ago but I have evolved a simple recipe that has to be just as good as the versions I had as a child. There is something utterly universal about the soothing qualities of hot chicken broth/soup…if I recall correctly someone even did a scientific study a few years back to try and determine what aspects of chicken broth made us feel better when we were sick, down or just out. I never did see the detailed results but I believe chicken broth IS good for you. To make this soup, I wait for a day when I have some down time and make my broth from scratch, with the intention of using the boiled chickens for several different dishes…

First make the chicken broth. Take a large soup stock pan and place two large chickens in it. Cover with water. Add chopped onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and some parsley if you have it. Boil it gently for about an hour and remove the chickens. Remove the meat from the chickens and return the bones and skin to the broth. Set meat aside for now. sot2Add some more chicken parts or bones if you have them and boil the broth down some more. Sometimes, this broth will lack flavor, either due to boring white chickens raised on feed or failure to boil it long enough. In a rush, some cheat and add a cube or two of knorr chicken concentrate. I generally frown on this but have occasionally done it myself so don’t fret if you resort to this trick. When the broth is all nice and flavorful, strain it.

In a large pot, sauté as much chopped garlic as you like in vegetable oil, add some sliced shallots or onions, patis then the broth. Add the shredded chicken to the pot. Add some julienned carrots, sliced mushrooms and the sotanghon noodles then some sliced cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Add some chopped green onion just before serving. You must place some patis (fish sauce) and kalamansi (calamondin) out on the table as well. When I get a little fancy I serve this with fried garlic and shallot chips on top. It’s also important that you use good quality sotanghon and I never pre-soak it in water so it gets all of the flavor from the broth. I like my soup more soupy than others and the photos here need a few more ladles of soup to get it to the Marketman consistency… I just removed some of the soup so the contents would be clearer in the photo. I actually like to boil several chickens at once because I use the shredded chicken for chicken sandwiches, salads, etc. I know that my broth is more like the base of a western chicken noodle soup and I do use it with thin egg noodles, chopped carrots, onions and celery to make that equally delicious comfort food.



  1. Gigi says:

    I know this’ll sound so pedestrian but I really really really love sotanghon that’s got a glistening orange broth. It’s got the same lure as Aristocrat java rice. Very Pinoy I know. The orange color doesn’t have any taste contribution but my Pavlovian response to it is so stong. I’m not afraid of carbs (I’d rather work out for 3 hours than skip it) and so I love to eat sotanghon soup with say, pandesal with butter or those translucent puto pulo with butter. Saaaaarap!!!

    Mar 2, 2006 | 12:44 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    Gigi, what gets it orange, atsuete? I know what you mean, I used to have it at an office canteen way back when…

    Mar 2, 2006 | 12:50 pm

  4. Maricel says:

    Yeah, the orange color is from atsuete which is atir-fried in the oil until the seeds turn black. Remove the seeds and then saute the rest of the ingredients in the atsuete oil.

    Mar 2, 2006 | 2:00 pm

  5. frayed says:

    I also love that orange oily stuff which afritada makes or pansit luglog (or palabok? Is there a difference?)

    Mar 2, 2006 | 10:31 pm

  6. Chas says:

    The orange “stuff” found in many of the mentioned dishes, especially in longganisa, is nothing more than oil/grease tinted with atsuete or tomatoes. Definitely not great for your health, but darn it if doesn’t make plain white rice taste so much better!

    Mar 3, 2006 | 1:29 am

  7. Mary A. says:

    If you want color and flavor try using lots of “Hungarian paprika”. I’ve always use it for my palabok and sotanghon dishes (both dry and soupy). It has a subtle flavor, neither spicy nor overpowering; it even enhances the taste of the dish.

    MM, I heard there is a shortage of flour, yeast, butter and eggs in Manila; must be the result of your previous post…heehee.

    Mar 3, 2006 | 2:51 am

  8. Chas says:

    I agree with Mary A. Paprika adds bright color and subtle flavor to many dishes. You may also want to try the Spanish pimenton dulce. With a hint of sweetness, it is milder than it’s Hungarian cousin.

    Mar 3, 2006 | 3:27 am

  9. mita says:

    I think atsuete does give a dish some flavor..can’t pin them down but for me, it’s there. Is it really bad for your health?

    I also had pancit bihon that didn’t use any coloring agents like toyo or atsuete once at Villa Escudero with the matriarch of the family (a friend of a friend knew the family so sabit lang ako.) The old lady said she likes it better without all the fancy stuff, and I agree. Sometimes, it’s a nice change to have something without all the fancy trappings. lasang malinis…like this sotanghon looks.

    Mar 3, 2006 | 4:12 am

  10. kong wi says:

    like mita, i believe that using achuete for color also changes the taste of the dish which is distinct and very different than when using paprika or pimenton dulce…i also like sotanghon soup (which i call sotanghon aguado to differentiate it from sotanghon guisado) with meatballs…

    Mar 3, 2006 | 6:06 am

  11. duke says:

    i think its in the patis (fish sauce) and pimeton to make the ultimate sotanghon..i remember lola cooking first the patis (juice from fermented alamang) with fresh lucban or suha leaves to offset the “fishy” smell..this is used to flavor the sotanghon..mabango talaga!! yum!

    Mar 3, 2006 | 9:50 am

  12. Marketman says:

    Gosh, all these coloring agents sound intriguing. OUr house had really boring pale sotanghon by comparison!

    Mar 3, 2006 | 10:03 am

  13. lee says:

    marketman’s sotanghon is the main topic of this entry but Gigi’s comment on the orange tint of her soup allowed some wonderful revelations about atsuete tinted stuff.
    Allow me to share a very Bacolod food experience about atsuete colored stuff…. In Manokan country, where the real Bacolod chicken inasal is found, a bottle of orange tinted oil is alway present with the toyo and sinamak bottles in the condiment tray in each table. If this is absent from your table you just ask the waitress for “owell” and not oil, oh well… by the way you pour this sinister orange colored oil on your rice and pray that you survive this cholesterol laden indulgence…
    hope marketman writes about orange tinted food soon… not that i really like them but it’s so pinoy.

    Mar 3, 2006 | 10:17 am

  14. Marketman says:

    lee, how amusing, I was sniggering for a while. I always thought Bacolod chicken was made with tons of star margarine brushed on and lots of salt and pepper. I didn’t realize there is such a huge trade in “orange” oil. I have never been to Bacolod or Negros and based on comments on this blog Negros and Sta Rita are the two foodie places I just have to hit sometime soon. This orange oil thing is intriguing but I know nothing about it…so I will have to rely on readers comments for now!

    Mar 3, 2006 | 11:10 am

  15. sha says:

    am now cooking sotanghon
    i dont like the idea my sotanghon is orange…..

    Mar 3, 2006 | 8:01 pm

  16. sha says:

    no wonder some Filipino coming to my house always say that my sotanghon is MAPUTLA DAPAT DAW ORANGE…

    and I made yr tocino MM, one came too and said wala kulay ah

    what’s all these artificial colouring make the dishes more edible?

    Mar 3, 2006 | 8:04 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    sha, I do prefer the more natural approach and I particularly dislike really pink tocino because it really is JUST FOOD COLORING! It’s sort of like folks who prefer make-up…maybe?

    Mar 3, 2006 | 8:14 pm

  18. sha says:

    OK I tested yr way of preparing the sotanghon
    instead of soaking them with hot water
    I put them to the pot with my home made broth.. it MADE A LOT OF DIFFERENCE
    thank you
    even M noticed the difference.

    because of the thread of orange sotanghon
    I tested as well with SAFFRON STRANDS. (which I got from Azerbaijan)

    It didnt turn orange but it added a yellowish shade and of course it tasted saffron.

    We had a great meal…
    cant bake ensaimada the shop ran out of fresh yeast.

    Mar 4, 2006 | 9:31 pm

  19. uncommonjive says:

    you have not been to the veritable foodie heaven, bacolod, marketman? my gosh, anyone going around calling himself a foodie in this country can’t really be that UNTIL he/she’s experienced eating in bacolod! let me know when you’d like to make a trip out there and i will volunteer to take off from this urban madness and personally take you on an eating tour of the place!

    Mar 6, 2006 | 4:34 am

  20. juls says:

    lee: I think that the “owell” from Manukan is unadulterated chicken oil with achuete used also in basting the inasal. yum yum.

    uncommonjive is right MM, you should go to Bacolod this April! Pannad sa Negros Festival is there… (hint: tons of food from every town on display… like fresh talaba from Hinigaran, carabao milk products like milk and cheese from Sagay, etc.)

    Mar 30, 2006 | 8:55 pm

  21. Raymar Yuson says:

    Bacolod Chicken Inasal really is the best chicken house.

    Apr 1, 2008 | 6:21 am

  22. Patchi Ellionor says:

    In Bacolod Chicken Inasal, are they also using food coloring with their inasal?

    May 5, 2008 | 8:29 pm


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