Unless your grandma’s family happens to come from Iraq and she grew up in India…. It has always amazed me that every culture has its own version of chicken soup. Just the aroma of chicken soup cooking on the stove brings on a feeling of comfort and home.
There are a few reasons why I picked this soup to be my first recipe post. First, this recipe is a perfect example of an Iraqi/Indian fusion recipe that has been passed down in my family throughout generations. Second, it is January and cold (unless you live in FL like me) and perfect soup weather. Lastly, I just did a cooking demonstration at my local synagogue and this was the recipe that I used. It went over well there and I hope it does here too!
The cilantro stems in the recipe are not typical in the traditional soup. However, in my Dad’s kitchen nothing goes to waste. If you are going to use the leaves why not the stems? The important thing to remember is to chop the stems extremely fine so that they melt into the soup. The onions should be sliced very fine because you want them to melt as well. It gives the soup base a great flavor.
Tumeric is a spice you will often see used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It has been known to have anti-bacterial properties and has been investigated for many other health benefits. I always joke that between the ginger, garlic and turmeric, this chicken soup will cure anything that is wrong with you!
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 – 8 servings
3-4 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed on the bone (you can use other chicken parts, but I like the dark meat for this recipe as it is less expensive and more flavorful than the white meat)
¼ cup fresh cilantro stems finely chopped and 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 large yellow onion, sliced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated or minced
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
2 large carrots, cut into coins
1 large (or 2 small) zucchini cut into coins
1 large tomato, cut into large chunks
1 large (or 2 small) Idaho potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 quarts water
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature. Add onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, tumeric and chicken . Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions soften and chicken gives off natural juices, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add 1 to 2 cups water so that the chicken is just covered. This will prevent it from sticking. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on low uncovered.
Add the carrots, zucchini, tomato, potato and stir. Cook until vegetables just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Fill pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 4 to 6 inches. Again add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Stir well.
Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Skim the fat and foam off the top of the soup. Let soup simmer on low covered for 40 more minutes. The soup can cook longer if you would like. Just do not put in the potatoes until 30 minutes before serving. Stir in fresh cilantro leaves right before you plate the soup.
You may also use green beans, peas and/or cauliflower as additional vegetables if you wish.
The soup is typically served as is, with koobas (recipe to come!) or over rice.