Chicken soup is one of the most traditional Egyptian soups. It is very comforting in a cold weather or when you feel sick or having a bad day or just any other day. We usually add a special type of pasta called “Lisan asfoor”, it has a funny translation in english as “bird’s tongue”. I guess because of the way that pasta looks, it is shaped like little tongue! Anyway, the soup is definitely yummy despite of that name and has nothing to do with tongues. Egyptians stir that pasta in little butter or oil until golden browned then add the chicken stock to it to and simmer for 30 minutes. It could be very close to noodle soup “kind of”.
The Egyptian recipe of the chicken stock or soup usually has onions, bay leaves, tomatoes and something called “Mastic” or also known as “Arabic gum”. Mastic has a very special smell that makes the chicken soup different from anything else, it hypnotizes you to that soup right away! I made a little twist in the traditional Egyptian soup by adding leek. Boiling that leek along with the bay leaves, tomatoes, onions and mastic add tons of flavors to the broth. Hope you enjoy the recipe below!
This is how the mastic looks, it is like some little rocks. When they are added to the boiling water, they totally dissolve releasing an amazing smell to the soup!
1 large whole chicken
2 tablespoons of flour or 2 tablespoons of vinegar to wash the chicken
2 teaspoons all spices
1 large sliced onions
1 teaspoon paprika
1 lime juice
8 cups of water
1/4 sliced leek (greens and white parts mix)
4 bay leaves
6 cardamom seeds
1 tomato cut in halves
1/2 stalk celery (optional)
1 or 2 mastic rocks
1 cup pasta lisan asfoor
2 tablespoons butter or corn oil
salt and pepper
Peel and slice the onions.
In a small bowl, sprinkle some salt, pepper and the paprika on the onions and rub them well and set aside for now (this step is very important to expedite the good marinating flavors in the chicken).
Wash the chicken and pat dry it (despite that it is advised nowadays not to wash the chicken). I usually wash it few times, add some flour and wash it again. If in rush, I just add 2 tablespoons of vinegar inside the chicken then rinse and pat dry it.
With the knife, make a few pokes in the thighs to allow the marination to get through.
Rub the chicken inside, outside, under and over the skin with some salt, pepper, lime juice and 7 spices.
Now, put the onion mix under the chicken skin, inside and around.
In a large pot, add the water, bay leaves, cardamom seeds, leek, mastic and celery.
Add a bit of salt and pepper (to be adjusted at the end anyway, 1 teaspoon of salt for now will do)
Bring to boil.
Then add the chicken, breast down.
Bring to boil then simmer down for 60 to 90 minutes,
Adjust salt and pepper.
Now you have a very tasty chicken stock.
P.S. You can take that chicken out and stir fry it in some olive oil. Or sprinkle some olive oil and oregano on it, then place it in the oven at 400 degrees F until browned from outside.
For the Lisan Asfoor soup or noodle soup:
In a separate pot, add 2 tablespoons of the corn oil or butter.
Stir the pasta “Lisan asfoor” in it until a bit golden color. Then add the chicken stock you just made.
Bring to boil then simmer for about 25 minutes or until the pasta is soft.