Soup doesn’t have to be cream-based and loaded with calories for it to be hearty and comforting. Chock full of veggies, turmeric, herbs and chicken, this golden bowl of deliciousness is guaranteed to fight off colds – perfect for flu season and for the sniffles everybody around Karachi seems to be getting because of the changing, unpredictable weather; one of the few things that makes Karachi, well, Karachi.

Ingredients:

5 litres of water (it will reduce quite a bit, don’t worry)

1 whole chicken (you can switch this up to just light or dark meat, whichever you prefer – 6 thighs or 5 breasts)

5 carrots, cubed (the redder the better – and sweeter!)

5 stalks celery, cubed (easily available at Fresh Basket PK at Badar Commercial, The F Word, Z’ Organics)

2 medium onions, cubed

7 cloves of garlic, minced

1 thumb-sized knob of ginger, minced

1 large potato, cubed

1 medium sweet potato, cubed

1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 5 cloves, 2 bay leaves – take a muslin cloth and put these whole spices in the centre – this will make it easier to take them out once the soup if done, you can leave them in if you prefer a more pronounced flavour – gather the edges of the muslin cloth and tie them with food-grade twine / string

1 small knob of turmeric (amazing if you can get your hands on the fresh stuff, if not, substitute with 1 teaspoon of powdered turmeric)

2 cups of pre-boiled pasta (egg noodles taste particularly great because their richness is mellowed out by the broth)

Salt and pepper to taste – try to use pink Himalayan pink salt, not only is it local to Pakistan (extracted from Khewra mine in Punjab) but it also has a range of health benefits like lowering blood pressure, strengthening bone, decreasing muscle cramping, increasing hydration

A bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped

Directions:

In a deep pot, add 5 litres of water and your chicken, muslin bag of whole spices (cloves, cinnamon, star anise and 2 bay leaves), ginger and garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, turmeric, salt and pepper.

DON’T use chicken with skin on – it’ll lead to a cloudy, gelatinous soup

Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and the reduce the heat to medium – let everything simmer till the chicken is cooked – it usually takes 30ish minutes. Turn off the heat.

Take the chicken out and shred it. Put the shredded chicken back inside the pot and turn on the heat to a medium.

Add in the cooked pasta of choice and let it get heated through completely.

Turn off the heat and mix in your bunch of chopped parsley (you can swap this out for coriander or any other herbs that you want – rosemary and sage work well too).

It’s a fab recipe to have on hand that is adult and kid friendly, alike. What’s great about it is that you can vary the ingredients depending on the season. Whenever you feel like your kids are coming down with something, be it a viral or bacterial, switch up the veggies in the recipe to whatever is seasonal and you have a bowl of delicious, immune-boosting soup.

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