Bengali Chicken Soup

Bengali Chicken Soup

Bengali Chicken Soup

Well, I’m not sure where all of you live, but here in western Canada, winter has arrived. When I get home from work each evening, the house is chilly and dark, and some primeval gene urges me to seek out warm, comforting food. For my husband and I that generally means soup: the thicker, the better! Here is a soup that will warm you to your toes, and has comfort written all over it. I have adapted the recipe from the newest in the must-have Canadian series by Shelley Adams, “Whitewater Cooks with Passion”. My version is much spicier, and the first time I made it, the consistency was more like a stew, which was fine for the both of us. You may need to add a bit more broth as well, or enjoy the thicker version!  The recipe calls for a couple of unusual ingredients: sauerkraut, and kecap manis. I was really intrigued and delighted by this. Both ingredients add a slightly exotic accent to this already super flavourful potage.  For the full-on winter experience, serve the soup with hot buttered onion or garlic naan. You may feel like hibernating after a meal like this, but then hey, isn’t that what winter is all about?

I will be bringing a giant pot of this winter pick-me-up over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. I know that some of the gang have already been hit hard by some frigid temperatures, so I’m sure they will appreciate it. If you haven’t joined us yet, please check us out through our wonderful host at The Novice Gardener.

This soup will warm you to your toes!

This soup will warm you to your toes!

Bengali Chicken Soup



 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 – 5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes

1 ½ teaspoons turmeric

6 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk

½ cup jasmine rice, rinsed and uncooked

2 cups sauerkraut, with liquid

½ cup carrots, peeled and sliced

1 cup potatoes, peeled and sliced

½ cup kecap manis*

1 cup cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Mix chicken spices together in a large bowl. Add the thighs and mix well, to coat the chicken on all sides.

Place in a parchment lined baking dish and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside. Once it is cooled, shred or chop into pieces.

While the chicken is baking, heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté over medium high heat, until the onions are soft.

Add the coriander, curry powder, ginger, chili flakes and turmeric to the onions and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant.

Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, rice, sauerkraut, carrots, potatoes, chicken and kecap manis and bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour. Check for your desired thickness. If too thick, add more chicken stock.

Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

Serve this with hot, buttered garlic or onion naan!

*Kecap Manis is a thick, sweet soya sauce from Indonesia, which is sold in all Asian markets, or in the Asian section of your grocery store.

Serve with hot buttered onion or garlic naan for the full-meal deal!

Serve with hot buttered onion or garlic naan for the full-meal deal!

45 Responses to “Bengali Chicken Soup”

  1. Johanne Lamarche

    I can’t believe I am reading a recipe after Thanksgiving dinner ! But it is cold and snowy and I will have a nice turkey stock to make a soup and this is an intriguing combination of flavors to try! Stay warm Juliana.

  2. Natalie Browne

    This looks delicious! I have Whitewater cooks with friends. It has some great recipes, as well. I’ll have to keep an eye out for Whitewater cooks with passion.

    • chefjulianna

      Yes, I have 3 of them and I cook from them all really often. I have never been disappointed yet! I think you will love the new one too! 😀

    • chefjulianna

      Ah yes, we all need a little bit of balance in our kitchen! I think this soup would certainly swing the pendulum over to the savoury side! 🙂

  3. Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake

    This looks delicious! Winter is definitely starting to settle here in the UK but it’s still pretty mild, I’m heading to Atlanta on Monday and it’s already much colder out there so this soup would do very nicely!

    • chefjulianna

      Oh my, parts of the US have really been hit with a ton of snow! Not too sure about Atlanta, they may be a bit too far south. Hope your visit is not too cold and snowy! 🙂

      • Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake

        Yeah they haven’t had snow here yet luckily. They had a snow storm in November last year and I flew in just after it had hit, was stuck in the airport for 5 hours after we landed! They don’t ever get very much, but when they do the whole city basically shuts down because they’re so ill equipped to deal with it – much like the UK!

  4. trixpin

    I love a stewy soup! Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (and English chef) calls them “stoups” in his recipe books, although the literal meaning of the word is rather more religious.
    This looks so warming and hearty – definitely a winter warmer 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      Stoups! I love this! That tends to be my kind of meal: one pot, thick and comforting! Sure glad that you like the look of this one! 😀

  5. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs

    Oh Julianna…does this look so delicious. I would definitely keep it more stew like, because a thick warm stew on a cold wintry day is pure comfort. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.. it’s absolutely perfect. Happy Fiesta Friday, my friend.. ❤

    • chefjulianna

      My pleasure to share this with all of you, Prudy! It’s that time of year to share something warm and cozy! Have an awesome week! 🙂

  6. petra08

    This is a gorgeous soup! Like you I like them thick and yours is just loaded with goodness. I can imagine if you have any leftovers it will taste wonderful the day after! I like the spice combination, perfect to tuck in to on a cold, dark winters night!

  7. chefjulianna

    Hey Petra! Well, we always have leftovers, because it is just my husband and I, but you know, it tastes so much better the next day! Mother nature just works her magic and the food tastes even better! 😀 Have a great week, my friend! 🙂

  8. indusinternationalkitchen

    This looks like such a wonderful recipe. Even though I have never seen a soup recipe like this, this one has so many ingredients I love ! I cant wait to try it – I love that you are always introducing us to new ingredients. I am definitely going to hunt for Kecap manis now! thanks for sharing this awesome and ‘flavorful’ soup recipe! 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      Oh thanks for the lovely comment, Indu! You can find that Kecap Manis in most Asian markets – at least around here it is quite easy to find, anyway. We have a huge Asian population in the Vancouver area, so most things Asian are readily accessible. Good luck and I hope you love the soup! 🙂

  9. Pang @circahappy

    Adding sauerkraut, curry powder & kecap manis to the soup sounds exotic to me, too. But by the look of it, I truly would love to try to make it. I love spicy stew with naan during winter. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe, Julianna. Happy New Year to you. xoxo

  10. shenANNAgans

    Must be the air-conditioning in the airport lounge, could go a bowl of this to warm up. Prob wouldn’t go with the giant bowl of salad tho huh?!


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