Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dad's Sunday Afternoon (Guyanese) Chicken Soup

Did I ever tell you what an amazing cook my father is? No? Well let me tell you, he is an EXCELLENT cook. He really knows his flavors and has a very well developed palate.  He loves to experiment in the kitchen and is very meticulous and careful when he combines different flavors.  Its like he can taste a dish in his head before he actually cooks it and knows the exact ingredients to include so that it all comes together just the way he imagined.  I have never tasted a dish my father made that I did not like.

Although my mother cooked our day-to-day meals growing up, my dad would always cook something special and different on Sunday afternoons.  He loves trying different cuisines and experimenting in the kitchen, but there are a few of his signature dishes that would always suffice on Sunday's if he didn't know what to make, one of those dishes was his chicken soup. 

 Chop and rinse...

This was no ordinary chicken soup you know, this was a flavorful, good-for-you soup with lots of healthy vegetables and spices.  The broth was always so deliciously spicy, it made your eyes water and nose run, but you just kept eating it because it tasted so damn good.

This soup resembles a very popular soup made in Guyana that we like to call, Dhal soup (click here to see a recipe for dhal).  Honestly the recipe for Dhal soup is identical to this one except you would just add 3/4 cup of split peas to the base.

The first step is to put the pumpkin, spinach, onion, garlic and pepper
 in the pot and boil for 30min

I want to eat the computer screen right now.

My dad makes his base from pumpkin and a little bit of split peas which gives it a different flavor, but still one that is very tasty.  The pumpkin will melt throughout the cooking process and give the soup a nice smooth texture.  I am generally a soup lover so I couldn't tell you which one is my favorite, but the next time I make Dhal Soup, I will be sure to post the recipe so that you can see the difference in color, texture, as well as flavor (once you make it at home).

I love maggi cubes, they give the soup such a great flavor. 
They are one of the more popular brands of bouillon. 

How can this be a soup without the dumplings right?

Yield: 8 Servings

Dad's Sunday Afternoon Chicken Soup


For the Soup:
  • 2 lbs chopped chicken
  • 1/4 cup yellow split peas (not pictured)
  • 2 skinny cassava chopped into 2 inch pieces (I say skinny b/c the thicker ones are just harder to peel)
  • 4-5 edoes chopped in half or quarters if you bought large ones  (4-5 is about 1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 lb pumpkin chopped into 4 in pieces
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach (1 cup if using frozen spinach)
  • 1 green plantain chopped in 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 red scotch bonnet peppers or 3 wiri wiri pepper
  • 3 large chicken bouillon cubes (if you have small ones, use 6 cubes)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 5 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 onion 
  • 1 gallon of water (16 cups)
For the Dumplings:
(if you like a lot of dumplings then double this)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
For the Chicken:
  • 2 lbs chicken cleaned and chopped in medium size pieces 
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cassareep (click here for image)

  1. Pour 16 cups of water into a large deep pot and bring to a rapid boil.
  2. Clean, chop, and season the chicken, set aside
  3. After peeling, wash cassava, edoes, and plantain, set aside. 
  4. Rinse and chop spinach, pumpkin, onion garlic and scotch bonnet then put into boiling water with 1/4 cup washed split peas. So to start with, you will only have the split peas, spinach, pumpkin, onion, garlic, and pepper in the pot.  Cover with lid, reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil for 40 minutes.
  5. After 40 minutes has passed, use your pot spoon to mash the pumpkin on the side of the pot to see if it is soft and disintegrates easily.  The peas should also become very soft, if it is not, continue to boil until it is almost disappearing into the soup.  You are making the base of the soup here, so if it not done properly, your soup will not meld together. 
  6. Once peas are soft add the plantains, cassava, and edoes along with 3 bouillon cubes, 1 tsp salt, and bay leaves. 
  7. Some of us prefer to have lots of broth in our soup, if you feel this needs more water you can add another 2 cups at this point.  
  8. Turn the heat to low-medium and let the vegetables cook for another 20 minutes until they are medium-soft but still have some give to them. Stir ever so often. 
  9. While the vegetables are cooking, make the dough for the dumpling (it will be a stiff dough which is okay, it will keep together well once dropped into the soup) set aside.
  10. Cook the chicken in a separate pan in 1 tbsp of oil.  Saute until the chicken is cooked and nicely browned. 
  11. Once the edoes, cassava, and plantains are cooked through, add the chicken to the soup.  Let the flavors simmer together on low heat for 15 minutes. Give it a good stir.
  12. Break small pieces of dumpling dough and drop it into the soup.  They don't have to be equal in size, just drop 'em in there and watch them pop back up! The dumplings will cook in approximately 5 minutes. Stir the soup as your drop the dumplings in.
  13. Let it simmer for an additional 10 minutes and you're done!


  1. This looks amazing. I can't wait to try it.

  2. Thanks! Let me know how it turns out :)

  3. love your cooking skills and the pictures is amazing,keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks Anonymous and thank your for visiting!

  5. Yum!!!!!! I would love a bowl of this soup, looks so flavorful.

  6. the picture that u have looks good but when i try,it have pumpkin strings an that spoil the soup an i did everything exactly like u said.something not right

    1. So sorry that your soup got spoiled because of the strings. You could've let the pumpkin boil a bit more also it depends on the type of pumpkin you buy. You have to make sure to scrape out as much of the inside of the pumpkin as possible, sometimes it can be a little grainy. Maybe next time? Thanks for visiting!

  7. This recipe is awesome. I was sick and craving this soup today and it was exactly as I remember it growing up. Delish! Thank you so much for sharing. The pics and descriptive ingredients list are a huge help!!!!

  8. Can you do this 'chicken' soup with beef instead?

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      You can certainly include Beef if you like as well as any fish, you will just have to cook the fish separately of course and add it when this soup is actually done since fish tends to tear apart in soup the long it is boiled. Thanks for visiting!

  9. I loved this soup growing up, mom made it every time we were sick, thanks for the recipe!

  10. Yummy! I will trying making the vegetarian version of this....thank you!


  11. I must have ochroe (okra) when making soup.
    For this version add to step 4.
    I also prefer ripe plantains.
    But that is me.

  12. this looks marvelous - will try this week. I visited Guyana a couple of years ago adn tasted a soup there that was soooo good - hope this tastes wpmderfi; also. thanks for sharing

  13. Made this a couple days ago! Came out excellent! I added some barley as I love barley in soup. Thanks for recipe.

  14. The way you show the pictures is genius. Looks so appetizing!

  15. I just made this soup. It was amazing. Thanks for the recipe. I can't wait to try your other recipes. The best part is that it's simple :)

  16. Will have to try this recipe but would add the barley and maybe a handful of blk eye peas (my fav).

  17. Just made your soup. Delicious !!!!
    Thanks for sharing your recipe.
    Can't wait to try another recipe of yours.