This nourishing and spicy “Jewish Penicillin” is my favourite meal to prepare for the family when they need a boost. It has a great collection of polyphenol-rich spices, anti-viral allium vegetables and plenty of warming flavours. I prefer to keep the spices like cloves and peppercorns whole, but feel free to remove them before serving.

INGREDIENTS – Serves 2-3

2–3 bone-in chicken thighs (350g), skins removed and reserved (optional)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion (180g), thinly sliced

3 celery sticks (175g), thinly sliced

6 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed

30g fresh ginger, sliced

2 bay leaves

4–5 thin slices of fresh turmeric or 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1⁄2 tsp black peppercorns

3 cloves

Small bunch of parsley, leaves and stalks chopped separately

100g brown basmati rice, thoroughly rinsed

1.2 litres chicken stock or vegetable stock

160g spring greens, finely shredded


Spring greens: spinach, pak choi or hispi cabbage


If serving with crispy chicken skin, preheat the oven to 180oC fan.

Spread the chicken skins flat on a baking tray, sprinkle with a little salt and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Leave to stand (they will crisp up as they cool), then season lightly and break into shards.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat, add the chicken thighs and brown all over for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onion and celery for 5 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaves, turmeric and whole spices and fry for a further 1 minute.

Add the chopped parsley stalks and rice. Return the chicken to the pan then pour over the stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste (it may not need it if the stock was salty).

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool slightly. Pull the chicken meat from the bones, roughly chop, then put into individual bowls. Check for seasoning, add the shredded greens to the pan and simmer gently for a couple of minutes until wilted, then finish with the parsley leaves.

Ladle the soup into the bowls and top with shards of the crispy chicken skin, if you like.

Dr Rupy COOKS – Healthy, Easy, Flavour – Published by Ebury