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Chourba Beïda | Algerian "white" Chicken Soup

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Soup or Chourba in Arabic is an essential part of the Muslim Ramadan iftar table. Not only does it replenish vital vitamins and minerals missed during the fast, it also symbolizes the "meal of poor". nearly 80% of the world is living below the poverty line and more than 40% of the Muslim countries are living in extreme poverty. For the poor, soup or gruel is a daily meal. Elhamdullah we here in Algeria, Algerians and foreigners for the most part don't fall in this category it's when we meet poverty in life only then we tend to realize and see things that we could not see in life. And we appreciate the value of things and feelings of others who suffer. Everyone gets a chance to see the real bitterness in every aspect in life and the cure for it. 

Whoever walks with his brother to help fulfill a need of his, every step taken will be charity.
Ibn ‘Abbaas, Jaami’ al-Oloom

As I've mentioned chourba is prized and omnipresent part of the Ramadan table. There are several types of chourbas from around the various regions of Algeria. Ones using sharp spices, fragant herbs, summer fresh tomatoes or even the basicest of ingredients. Today I'm going to share an Algerian soup recipe that really speaks to the soul. It uses very basic kitchen ingredients. 
My version of this northern Algerian soup is lighter than most Algerian chourbas. It reminds me in a way of a Greek Avgolemono soup. I've used the chicken backbone and neck so the soup is flavorful yet economical. You may use whatever part you like.

Traditional this soup is thickened slightly with a mixture of smen (fermented butter) olive oil, lemon juice and about 3 egg yolks called a el-3akdaMy version is lighter as I'm only using one instead of 3. 

Chourba Beïda 
("white soup" from Alger )

  • Backbone of one chicken.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • saffron
  • 1 generous handful of chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Handful or parsely, chopped roughly
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped roughly
  • Generous pinch of dried mint
  • Generous handful of vermicelli pasta
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • about 5 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 L of water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of maïzena (corn flour or corn starch)
  • Salt
  • Lemon

  1. Clean your chicken very well.
  2. Place the chicken in pot of water (I use a 6L Earthen pot kinda like this one that I fill with about 4L of water)
  3. Add in the peppercorns, cinnamon, saffron, onion, garlic, chickpeas and bay leaf.
  4. Bring to boil, then simmer. (Skim off the scum that floats on top of the soup as needed.)
  5. After about 30 minutes, the chicken should be done.
  6. Remove the chicken or just strain the whole soup (this is easier)
  7. Remove the meat from the bones. Disgard the bones.
  8. Put the strained soup back on the fire; add the chickpeas back in also.
  9. Bring up the fire to a boil, add in the pasta, mint, parsley and cilantro.
  10. Ladle some of the soup into a bowl, which you have added the maïzena to. Disolve the maïzena then add into the soup.The soup will now thicken.
  11. Once, the pasta is cooked al-dente, add in the beaten egg. Allow to cook slightly.
  12. adjust seasoning and squeeze the juice of one lemon into.

๑۞๑ You can use other pastas here like orzo (la langue d'oiseau) ... or even frik.


  1. Essalam Alaikum Sis, Masha'allah looks yummy! I love this soup very much, in fact I have a craving after looking at yours that Insha'allah tomorrow I will make it for dinner! :D

  2. humm la bonne chorba avec mon état c ce qu'il faut merci pour le partage bisous


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