Spices for healthy living

Somali Chicken Soup

YIELD: 4 servings        PREP TIME: 40 min    COOK TIME: 2 hr 10 min



  • 1 rotisserie chicken, weighing about 2 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 quarts water
  • Chicken bouillon (“Better Than Bouillon” brand yields good flavor)
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Aleppo Pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom, ground
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red cabbage, coarsely shopped
  • Berbere Sauce (see recipe on Spice Your Life website)




Day 1:

PREP TIME: 15 min        COOK TIME: 1 1/2 hr

Remove meat from the rotisserie chicken, separating the meat from the skin and bones. Shred and save chicken meat into a medium-sized bowl, cover, and put into refrigerator to use on “Day 2”. Put 1 teaspoon canola oil into the bottom of a large stockpot and warm over low to medium heat. Place skin, bones, and cartilage into a large stockpot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the skin is crispy and the bottom of the pot is covered with browned (but not burned) bits of skin stuck to the bottom.

Add 2 quarts of water and heat to a simmer. While heating, scrape the bottom of the pot to release the browned bits. Simmer for 1½ hours. If the fluid level drops too much add additional water. At the end of that time, taste the broth. If the broth is not flavorful enough, add chicken bouillon. (I recommend “Better Than Bouillon” brand.) When the flavor is just right, remove the stockpot from heat and allow to cool. When the chicken stock is cool enough to handle, strain it through a fine mesh strainer. Put in refrigerator overnight.


Day 2:

PREP TIME: 15 min        COOK TIME: 40 min

The next day, remove the chicken stock from the refrigerator and spoon off the hardened fat from the top. The stock is now ready to use for your Somali Chicken Soup!

Allow the chicken stock to warm to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the bottom of a second stockpot and heat over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the chopped onions and ½ teaspoon of Kosher Salt to the pot and heat until the onion begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Next add the Aleppo Pepper, garlic, coriander, cardamom, and half the tomatoes while stirring continuously for ~30 seconds until the fragrance of the spices is released.

Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat. Then reduce heat and simmer for 30 more minutes to combine flavors. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl to remove the solids. Discard the solids. Return the broth to the pot, add the previously shredded rotisserie chicken, and bring to simmer over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes until the meat is heated completely.

While the meat is warming, place ½ cup cooked rice into each serving bowl along with some shredded red cabbage and thinly sliced radishes.

When the meat is heated, remove from heat and stir in remaining tomatoes and lime juice. Ladle hot chicken and broth over the rice/cabbage/radish in each bowl and top with chopped cilantro and a dollop of Berbere Sauce. Serve a lime wedge on the side of each bowl. Enjoy!



This recipe can be prepared in 1 day by performing all the steps described above in the same day OR by substituting store bought low-sodium chicken broth for the homemade chicken broth made on “Day 1” of this recipe. If using store bought chicken broth just follow the “Day 2” recipe and use either store bought shredded rotisserie chicken OR buy a rotisserie chicken and remove and shred the meat (discarding skin, bones, and cartilage) so it can be added to the broth 5-10 minutes before serving.

The chicken broth prepared using this recipe can be frozen for future use if you don’t want to make the soup right away.


Aleppo Pepper flakes