Recipe: Yemeni Chicken Soup

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Yemeni chicken soup. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

When I’m craving soup, I want soup as meal — a hot bowl of broth, meat falling off the bones and a scoop of rice or a chunk of bread. Classic American chicken soup fits the bill, but sometimes seems a little boring. Here is my recipe for chicken soup with an extra kick of flavor, making for the perfect fall or winter meal.

My dad’s family is from Yemen, so our version is redolent of cumin and coriander. You can stick with only chicken thighs or breasts if you’d prefer, but I find that using a whole chicken gives the broth a better flavor. And if you’re feeling lazy, don’t bother skimming off the impurities that rise to the top of your soup. Leaving them in will make the final soup a bit cloudy, but won’t affect the flavor at all.

Yemeni Chicken Soup

Serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 russet potato, cut into quarters
  • 1 carrot, cut in half
  • 1 medium tomato, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut in half
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • Lemon wedges

Place the chicken pieces in a large soup or stock pot and cover with cold water by two inches. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface of your soup.

Add all the spices, the salt and the potato, carrot, tomato, onion and garlic.

Let the soup simmer for at least an hour, until the broth is very flavorful. If it tastes watery to you, let it cook longer.

Add salt if necessary, chopped cilantro and a few squeezes of lemon juice.

Serve with rice or bread.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 252.

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Category: Food & Drink
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  1. Tried this soup this weekend; it is amazing. Savory, rich, full of flavor. I highly recommend it! I placed the cilantro in some freshly made jasmine rice and served the rice in the soup itself, which was fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

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