Murgh Shorba (Chicken Soup) Recipe

Murgh Shorba (Chicken Soup) Recipe
My hearty & delicious Murgh Shorba (Hindi for chicken soup) is the Indian version of comfort food. In fact, my son even calls it “comfort in a bowl.” In the north of India, the temperatures can drop into the low 40s (F) – if you can believe that, and it does get quite chilly. On days like that, tasty murgh shorba is usually prepared to help chase away the cold winter chill.

Now I like the texture of poached & shredded chicken in this recipe, but do feel free to use leftover chicken if you happen to have any on hand. For a complete, one-pot meal – just add a spoon or two of warmed, cooked, leftover rice into the bowl just before serving.

MURGH SHORBA (Indian Chicken Soup)


2 cooked, boneless/skinless chicken breasts – cut into small pieces or shredded (see below)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp curry powder {[url=]My Homemade Curry Powder Recipe[/url]}
½ tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
¼ tsp ground cardamom powder
¼ tsp ground fennel powder
salt & pepper, taste
1 bay leaf
1 to 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (or garbanzo beans)
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive oil)
4-6 cups liquid (water or chicken stock), as needed
juice of ½ lemon
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
pinch of smoked Spanish paprika for garnish


In a Dutch oven or soup pot on medium heat, add the oil. When hot, add in the onions along with the garlic. Sauté until just translucent & then add in the tomato paste. Stir for just a minute or so & then add in the spices (curry powder, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, red chili powder, ground cardamom powder, ground fennel powder, salt & pepper). Mix well to combine all of the spices & aromatics together. Let cook for about a minute or so & then add in the liquid base for the soup along with the bay leaf. Bring the soup to a gentle boil & add in the chopped tomatoes along with the cooked chickpeas. Now add more water or chicken stock if needed or until your desired soup consistency is reached. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover & let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Just before you are ready to serve the soup, add in the chicken pieces & let them warm through for a few minutes. Finish the dish with the lemon juice & freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Before serving, sprinkle the top of individual bowls with smoked Spanish paprika. Enjoy with toasted naan or pita wedges.


If you wish, you could add in some leftover cooked rice to the soup. Just add it in along with the chickpeas for a heartier version. You could also add in your favorite pasta, if you’re adding uncooked pasta – add it in with the chickpeas. If you adding in leftover, cooked pasta – add it on with the chicken pieces.

For more texture & a slightly nutty flavor, garnish with toasted almond slices or toasted pine nuts.

For an extra kick of spicy heat, add in some red chili flakes if you like.


To Perfectly Poach Chicken Breasts: this method never fails ☺.


2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, medium size
½ tsp salt
water as needed

Your favorite combination of aromatics/herbs such as thinly sliced fresh ginger, smashed garlic cloves, sliced onion, pieces of celery, carrot pieces, black peppercorns, a bay leaf, fresh herbs of choice & anything else you wish to add for flavor.

You will need at least a 2-4 quart saucepan with lid. The saucepan should be large enough to hold the chicken breasts in a single layer, so the chicken breasts will cook more evenly.


First, combine the chicken breasts along with your chosen aromatics – the chicken breasts should be in a single layer on the bottom of the pan with the salt and aromatics sprinkled over the top. Then cover the chicken breasts with enough cool water to cover the chicken by about an inch. With the pan on medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover & cook. Begin to check on the chicken after about 8 minutes, the breasts should be completely opaque & an instant-read thermometer should register at 165°F.

Depending upon the size of the chicken breasts, this could take anywhere from 8-12 minutes. When done, remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, place them on a cutting board & allow them to cool. You can either cut the chicken breasts into pieces or shred the chicken using the two-fork method.

If you wish you can strain the poaching liquid & use it in the soup or for another dish – it is full of flavor & should not be discarded.

 photo Murgh Shorba 2.jpg

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