Indonesian Tomato Soup

Origin: Indonesia with Dutch & Chinese Influences


  • 1 kg chicken with bone, washed, cut in small cube
  • 100 g shrimps/prawns, discard shells, smoothly blended
  • 3 pc carrots, cut in matchstick
  • 300 g smoked beef sausage, cut in matchstick
  • 500 ml tomato puree/passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (to enhance the colour)
  • 150 g sliced champignon
  • 100 g peas (fresh or fozen but not canned product)
  • 2 pc spring onions, finely slice (separate the botttom & leafy part)
  • 3 pc bunch of flat parsley
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • vegetable oil & butter to saute
  • 3 l water, to make chicken broth

Spices for the soup

  • 6 pc shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 gloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 pc onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp chicken/vegetable broth powder
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce (optional)
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp salt or to taste

Ingredients for fried shrimps crullers

  • 250 g shrimps, peeled-off
  • 1 pc egg
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • a pinch of ground pepper
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • 100 ml vegetable oil to deep fry

Indonesian Tomato Soup

Sup Merah literally means "Red Soup" is a popular Indonesian tomato soup which's commonly served during Christmas and New Year celebrations. The dish is an adaptation and combination between Dutch and Indonesian-Chinese culinary which's created during the colonialism era. The influence of Dutch/European culinary can be seen by using tomato puree which makes the rosy red colour. While Chinese influence presents in the form of cakwe udang/fried shrimps crullers as a topping.
This dish is especially popular in big cities of Java island such as Semarang, Malang and Surabaya. In my childhood time, this soup is used to be made and served by "the haves people" only :-). Indeed making an authentic Sup Merah require specific ingredients, some are imported products, which're luxury things in the 80s,! Meantime almost every household in Indonesia can afford it, even cook it for daily menu not just at Christmas Eve :-).
Have a try and hopefully this recipe gives you a better insight on Indonesian culinary diversity :-).


  • MAKING THE SOUP: Wash and cut the chicken. Separate the fillets from bones. Discard the excessive fat. Cut the chicken fillets into 2 cm cubes.
  • Note: Do not include the excessive fat for the soup, especially if you use broilers otherwise the broth will be too oily and greasy!
  • Add 3 liters cold water in a deep saucepan and bring to boil. Adjust the heat into medium, *** add the chicken bones and simmer until they are cooked.
  • Skim off and discard the fat that floats to the water surface if necessary. Set aside to drain and keep the stock for the soup.
  • Peel-off and slice the carrots into matchsticks (approx. 1 cm x 1 cm x 5 cm). Don't cut too thinly so they won't crumble easily when it cooked.
  • Slice shallot, garlic and the bottom/white part of spring onions and chop onions finely.
  • Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil & 1 tbsp butter/margarine in a frying pan/wok.
  • Saute the shallots, garlic, onion and the white part of spring onions. Stir continuously until fragrant and all become translucent.
  • Add carrot, stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Add chicken, stir quickly and cook until the chicken becomes harder & changes colour
  • Add 3 tbsp flour and stir quickly to mix.
  • Transfer chicken & vegies mixture to a deep saucepan which's kept the chicken broth/stock.
  • Add tomato puree/passata and tomato paste. Stir to mix.
  • Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, chicken/vegetable broth powder and sugar.
  • Add flat parsley, simmer over medium heat until the carrot and chicken are almost cooked (about 10-15 minutes). Stir occasionally.
  • Add sausage, sliced champignon, peas dan cook just shortly. Adjust the taste, add salt or sugar if necessary. Remove from heat to prevent overcooked.
  • Adding the peas.
  • MAKING SHRIMP CAKWE: Peel-off and devein the shrimps, rinse under cold water and set aside to drain then chop if necessary.
  • Grind the shrimps and garlic with mortar and pestel or blend with a blender/wet mill until smooth.
  • Add egg, wheat flour, tapioca flour, salt and pepper. Stir to mix and adjust the taste properly before frying.
  • Transfer the dough into a small plastic bag and cut with a scissors to make a small hole at one corner. (Tips: The dough shouldn't be too stiff otherwise it's will be dificult to come out from the plastic bag when it squeezes. Add a little bit water if necessary).
  • Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan, squeeze the dough down toward a bottom corner/hole and move your hand like a spiral.
  • Fry until it becomes hard enough then cut with a help of a spatula into smaller portions.
  • Turn them other and keep frying until both sides golden brown.
  • Set aside to drain or pat dry with kitchen paper and cut into mini crullers.
  • Serving Method: Ladle the piping hot soup into serving bowls and garnish with mini shrimps crullers. Serve hot with toast breads.
Keyword Indonesian soup dish, tomato soup

popular Indonesian recipes

“Thank You for visiting my site. I won’t bother you with my life stories LOL :-D. Just get the recipe, have fun while cooking and enjoy your meal!”

Endang SW Lestari