Looking for an Indian chicken soup recipe that’s spicy, hearty, and comforting? I’ve got just the thing for you!
Here’s what you’ll need:
About this Indian Chicken Soup Recipe
Nothing beats a bowl of warm chicken soup on a cold, rainy day.
Sure, Campbell’s soup is nice, but for me, this Indian chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food. It has a good amount of fat and salt, the important pillars of all comfort foods, and it tastes amazing!
South Indian soups are usually called rasam. Traditionally, rasam is made with tamarind, tomatoes, and spices such as cumin and peppercorn. But there are many variations of rasam. There’s lemon rasam, nandu (crab) rasam, and of course, kozhi (chicken) rasam.
This chicken soup or rasam is easy to make. I often make a big batch using a whole chicken and freeze some for those lazy days when I don’t feel like cooking.
It’s a light soup that’s perfect for times when you don’t want anything too heavy. Plus, the spices used in this soup – mustard seeds, cumin, black pepper, turmeric – offer various health benefits.
Growing up, my mum would always make rasam whenever any of us felt under the weather. To this day, I believe that rice and rasam are magical ingredients that can get rid of colds and restore one’s health.
In my house, we say ‘I love you’ to each other by making rasam when someone’s feeling sick. I guess you could say it’s our love language.
Other yummy chicken recipes
Ingredients for Indian chicken soup
Here’s what you’ll need to make a bowl of this hearty soup:
For this Indian chicken soup recipe, I use a whole chicken, cut into 16 pieces, with the skin left on.
I usually don’t keep the skin on for other dishes, as it contains a lot of fat. But for this dish, I keep it on because the skin gives the soup a nice, fatty flavor. Trust me, it’s good!
People often say that there’s no such thing as too much butter. Well, the Indian version of this statement is, there’s no such thing as too much ghee. Ghee, or clarified butter, is often used in Indian cooking, and it adds great flavor to your dishes.
If you can’t find ghee, however, you can substitute it with vegetable oil.
I use a variety of whole and ground spices for this recipe.
If you’re new to spices, check out How To Store Spices Long Term for some guidance on how to prolong the shelf life of your spices.
At first glance, it may feel like this recipe requires a lot of spices, but here’s the thing. South Indian dishes often use a similar set of spices. If you’re keen to explore Indian cuisine, it’s totally worthwhile to invest in these spices. Once you have them, you can use them in a variety of different dishes.
Here are some of the basic spices used in South Indian cooking.
This Indian chicken soup recipe uses basic aromatics such as red onions, garlic, ginger, and chili. It also incorporates another aromatic that’s very prominent in South Indian cooking – curry leaves.
These leaves are usually sautéed in oil along with the other aromatics, and they impart a great flavor and aroma to your dish. You can probably get curry leaves from your local Indian grocer.
5. Carrot & Potatoes
When I first made this soup, I had a single, stray potato lying around in the kitchen and I didn’t know what to do with it. So, I decided to cut it into chunks and throw it into the soup along with some chopped carrots.
And I’m glad I did! The carrots are soft and wonderfully sweet. The potato chunks, on the other hand, soften and soak up all that soup. Biting into one of those soft, juicy potato chunks is absolute bliss. It brings this already comforting dish to a whole new level. So please don’t skip that potato!
How to make this Indian chicken soup recipe
1. Prep the chicken.
Wash the chicken pieces before coating them with turmeric and chili powder. Mix well and set aside.
2. Temper the whole spices.
Heat ghee in a deep non-stick pot on medium-high before adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds pop.
3. Add the aromatics.
Add the onions, chili and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to10 minutes. Add chopped garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes and ½ tsp of salt. Mix and cook until tomatoes become a little mushy.
5. Add chicken, ground spices, and water.
Once the tomatoes soften, add the chicken pieces, coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper and 1 tsp salt. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
Add water. On high heat, bring to a boil. Once the soup starts boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer.
6. Add vegetables.
After 5 minutes, add carrots, potatoes and ½ tsp salt. Mix well and cover the pot once again.
7. Let the soup simmer.
Cook the soup for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
8. Finally, garnish and serve.
Finally, taste and add more salt if needed before garnishing with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice on the side.
How to serve Indian chicken soup
Serve this soup with rice on the side. This is my favorite way to enjoy (or more accurately, devour) this dish. The perfect bite has rice, soup, and chunks of chicken and potato, YUM.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most famous soup in India?
Rasam is a very popular soup in South India. It’s a tangy, spicy soup made with tamarind, spices, and herbs. Typically, it’s eaten with rice, but it can also be served and enjoyed on its own.
While rasam is usually vegetarian, it is sometimes made with chicken or even crab to enhance its flavor and aroma.
What can I add to my chicken soup to give it flavor?
Chicken soup derives its flavor from aromatics, spices, herbs, and the chicken itself. So to give your soup delicious flavor, use bone-in chicken pieces, as the bones will impart a lovely flavor.
Be sure to include aromatics such as onion and ginger along with spices and fresh herbs for a flavorful soup.
How do I make chicken soup taste better?
If your soup tastes underwhelming, you can add more salt and pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs to lift its flavor. You can even try a dash of soy sauce or fish sauce to enhance the umami flavor.
What gives chicken soup the most flavor?
While spices and herbs are important, salt is arguably the most critical ingredient for a flavorful soup. Too little salt and your soup ends up tasting underwhelming. Too much salt and the saltiness overpowers all other flavors.
Salt can be in the form of sea salt, soy sauce, or even fish sauce.
What is the best herb for chicken soup?
When it comes to chicken soup, you can use just about any herbs you like! Bay leaves are always a good choice for any soup. For Indian style soups, curry leaves and cilantro are great options. For Western style soups, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and parsley can be used instead.
What spices go well with chicken soup?
For chicken soup, whole spices such as cumin, ground spices such as turmeric, and other spices like paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder are great options.
What kills spice in soup?
If your soup is too spicy, you can cut through the spiciness by adding acidic ingredients to your soup. Do this by adding a squeeze of lemon juice, a little vinegar, or more tomatoes to your soup.
What gives chicken soup its yellow color?
Adding turmeric will give your chicken soup a beautiful golden color and is a great way to use this anti-inflammatory spice in your cooking.
Helpful guides on Indian cooking
Indian Chicken Soup
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 16 pieces
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 red onions, diced
- 1 bird's eye chili, chopped
- 2-inch ginger piece, chopped
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 litre water
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 potato, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Wash the chicken pieces before coating them with turmeric and chili powder. Mix well and set aside.
- Heat ghee in a deep non-stick pot on medium-high before adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds pop.
- Next, add the onions, chili and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to10 minutes.
- Add chopped garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Then, add the tomatoes and ½ tsp of salt. Mix and cook until tomatoes become a little mushy.
- Once the tomatoes soften, add the chicken pieces, coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper and 1 tsp salt. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add water. On high heat, bring to a boil. Once the soup starts boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer.
- After 5 minutes, add carrots, potatoes and ½ tsp salt. Mix well and cover the pot once again.
- Cook the soup for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Finally, taste and add more salt if needed before garnishing with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice on the side.
And that’s how you make Indian chicken soup!
The next time you’re craving comfort food, or someone you love has the sniffles, make a batch of this chicken soup and apply to face. It’s comforting, hearty, and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Once you have this, there’s no going back to canned chicken soup! You have been warned!