Yemenite Chicken Soup

Growing up in an Ashkenazic household I was exposed to the following spices: salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. I honestly did not realize that there was more to season with. Then I married my husband and he wanted more flavor. His mother is Yemenite and cooks with cumin, turmeric, chawaig and an assortment of herbs that I had never tasted before such as cilantro and mint. I will never forget the silence at the table the first time I asked for ketchup with my turkey. It was over a Thanksgiving meal and not the best way to introduce myself to my future mother in law. I soon realized that ketchup is an ashkenazic staple for a reason, you need it to add some kick to the mostly bland food being prepared. Eager to fulfill my role as wifey I ran out and stocked up on all the spices I had seen in her kitchen, not knowing what most of them were for. It’s been a slow process but I now know that cilantro is a great addition to corn salad and salsa and that turmeric goes great with eggs. Oddly enough it was my Ashkenaz sister who gave me the following recipe for chicken soup. You can serve this as soup or prepare some rice in a separate pot and pour some of the liquid on top of the rice along with the chicken pieces and it’s a full meal. (trust me, this will score you points with anyone who wants some flavor other than just salt and pepper!)

sweet potato
1 whole tomato with the top cut off
1 onion diced
1 onion whole
garlic, diced
chicken (I use 2 dark pieces and 2 white pieces)
cilantro (chopped up)
dill (keep in bunch whole)

Saute the diced onions and garlic. Then add the remaining veggies along with the dill and cilantro, leaving some cilantro to add before serving. Place the chicken in the pot then fill with water. Spice with salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic, some chicken soup mix (I use the one without msg) and some chawaig

~ Recipe submitted by Nina Safar

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3 thoughts on “Yemenite Chicken Soup”

  • I never use the same amount, depends on what I have in the house or if I went shopping for the soup! The more veggie the more flavor but I would use at least 3 carrots, 1 large zucchini and 1 large sweet potato.

  • The trick for Yemenite soup is to boil the chicken first with water, and skim the fat. They don’t fry the onion, they put it in whole and leave whole peices of garlic inside, the more the taste of it, the more you put. Put in how many carrots and potato’s as the many people you are feeding.
    For a regular pot, like a whole chicken if you are using, (this can be made with lamb or meat too) 2 spoons of chawaitch and 1 spoon of chicken soup flavor. Some add paprika.
    The cilantro – people add a whole bunch in the end, 20 min cooking time, whole, on top of everything, besides the chopped cilantro in the soup (omit if children don’t like) and then remove it before serving. Extra color, extra taste.

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