Season's Best: Chicken Shorba For The Soul
Image Credit: Chicken Shorba

Shorba is a Middle-Eastern soup-like preparation that makes for an ideal winter dish. Though similar to soup, shorba, in comparison, has a thicker consistency. The melange of the juicy flavour of chicken; the mildly spicy taste rendered by cumin seeds and white pepper powder; and the creamy taste of the ghee make shorba a must-have dish.

The word 'shorba' is said to have been derived from the Arabic word 'Shurbah', which loosely translates to 'soup’, and is believed to have originated in Persia. However, the dish is now popular across the world, including in India, where it is often served as part of a lavish meal.

Shorba is prepared by boiling meat stock that is flavoured with seasonings. It is often served with bread, but it can also be savoured on its own. Shorba is also recommended for those suffering from coughs and colds, as the warm, soothing dish gives much-needed relief. 

The recommended dish below is Chicken Shorba. It is made with chicken stock cooked with ghee or butter, a few cumin seeds, sliced garlic, a little bit of corn flour to thicken the shorba, white pepper powder, a little bit of garam masala powder, and garnishing of chopped coriander leaves. Chicken stock is prepared by slow-boiling chicken in water, which is flavoured with salt to taste, bay leaves, and black peppercorns.   

There are non-vegetarian and vegetarian shorba preparations, made as per local tastes, but the essence of the dish has been retained despite its global popularity. 

Here is a recipe for Chicken Shorba: 


    250 grams Chicken with skin

    2 Bay leaves or tej patta

    1 tablespoon Corn flour

    5-6 Black peppercorns 

    1 teaspoon cumin seeds 

    3 tablespoons Ghee 

    1 1/2 tablespoons Garlic (sliced)

    1 cup Coriander leaves (chopped)

    2 teaspoons White pepper powder

    1 teaspoon Garam masala powder 

    Salt as per taste preference 


    Boil the chicken in a large pot of water with the bay leaves, black peppercorns, and salt to taste, on low flame, for about half an hour

    Strain the chicken to collect the broth in a separate bowl

    Once the leftover chicken cools down, chop it into shreds, and keep it aside 

    In a pan, heat the ghee, add cumin seeds and sliced garlic, and stir for about two or three seconds

    Add one tablespoon of corn flour and stir well for about a minute

    Add two cups of the chicken stock, and stir over low flame for about a few seconds

    Add the shredded chicken, and stir well 

    Add salt as per taste preference and three teaspoons of white pepper powder, and stir well 

    Add more chicken stock, depending on how thin you want to make the shorba, and let it  boil for about 4-5 minutes, over low flame

    Add one teaspoon of garam masala powder, and stir

    Garnish the Chicken Shorba with chopped coriander leaves, and serve hot

Chicken Shorba can also be made by adding potatoes, sweet corn, or broccoli.