South India Chicken Soup

This is a recipe from The Chicken Manifesto and comes from the Konga Nadu area of India, which I adapted with simplified ingredients for the van. This meant using spices that I had, for example ground cumin rather than cumin seeds. I also added greens (broccoli and beans) and a dollop of yogurt to serve. 

We've been in Brunswick Heads for a while, and even though it's not cold, the perpetual rain showers make it feel like soup weather. We're also cooking big pots of food to share with Johanna, Luke and Willow while they wait for a new little human to come into the world. I've been making pots of soup to fill their freezer ...

Unlike most chicken soups I've cooked, this one cooks the chicken in water/stock, then adds it later to a paste flavoured broth prepared in parallel.


pot of soup, 4-6 people

2½ hours, most of that cooking time.

Equipment (main)
  • Chopping boards and knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • soup pot, plus saucepan for cooking chicken and rice
  • pan for frying spices
  • Blender for puree-ing, mine in the van is a hand held.
  • Chicken, I used 1kg of thighs
  • 2 litres chicken stock
Frying spices/flavours

  • oil
  • onion, 1 large diced
  • peppercorns, 1 tbsp
  • ground cumin, 2 tsp
  • ground coriander, 2 tbsp
  • fennel seeds, 2 tsp
  • cloves, half dozen
  • ground cinnamon, 1tsp
  • curry leaves, about 20 dried
Extra spices/flavour

  • dried chilli, 1 tsp
  • sesame seeds, 1 tsp
  • grated coconut, about ½ cup
  • sesame oil, 1 tbsp
  • minced ginger, 2 tbsp
  • minced garlic, 1 tbsp
  • turmeric, 1 tsp
  • chopped tomatoes, 1 x 400g tin
Coriander leaves and yoghurt to serve
Basmati rice or naan bread (we did naan)


  1. Slow cook the chicken thighs in stock for a couple of hours
  2. Sáute/roast the 'frying spices', enough to bring out flavour and soften the onion, then allow to cool.
  3. Add the cooled spices from the pan to the 'extra spices/flavour' into a container suitable for blending, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. When the chicken is done, remove it from the stock and shred. (I put it back into the stock)
  5. (If serving with rice, put the rice on to cook.)
  6. Add the puree to a pot and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the reserved chicken stock with the shredded chicken and veggies and simmer for 10 mins.
  8. In the van I toast the naan in the toaster
  9. Add the shredded chicken, season with salt and serve with fresh coriander on a dollop of yoghurt.


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