Sharba Libiya Bil Dajaj Walzaatar ~ Libyan Chicken Thyme Soup

Each time the MENA Cooking Club challenge is declared, my eyes first go on to the soup before any other recipe! Somehow, if you go through the challenges I have participated so far, I have been doing majority soups, and here is one more to add to it!

This month, the country that was chosen was Libya. Just like all countries in the Gulf, Libya is rich in its own way as far as history and culture are concerned. However, for the past few years, we have been seeing some disturbing trends as far as the liberation of this beautiful country is concerned. You can read some of the news here. It is testing times in all ways... Innalillahi wainna Ilaihi raajioon (We are from Allah and unto Him we return), we pray that this country unites and finds peace in the best way possible.

From the recipes chosen, the others were Sfinz, a very interesting sweet dish indeed and Libyan Lamb Stew, I decided to make this simple yet delicious soup which was a total hit at home, mainly because of the chicken in it! The flavors are very simple, the ingredients are so readily available and this can be in itself a meal! Off to the way it was made...

Sharba Libiya Bil Dajaj Walzaatar ~ Libyan Chicken Thyme Soup
Serves 4 - 6
Recipe adapted from here


500 gm chicken with bones, cut into small pcs
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves
2 split cardamoms
1 long pc cinnamon
2 bay leaf
2 small onions, sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/4 liter water
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup macaroni
2 tsp dried thyme - zaatar (or fresh thyme)


Wash the chicken well, set aside to drain.

In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Fry the whole masalas till the flavor is infused. Add in the onion and saute till soft. Add the chicken pieces and tomato paste and give it a nice stir. Cook for around 5 minutes or till the chicken appears whitish. Add the chopped tomato, half the parsley, turmeric and red chilli powder along with 1/2 liter water. Sprinkle in salt as well. Close and cook for three whistles on high flame. Switch off and allow the pressure to go by itself.

Open the lid, take out all the chicken into a bowl. Also take out the cinnamon and bay leaf and discard them.

Into the prepared chicken stock, add remaining water, along with the macaroni and pepper. Close the lid and cook for a whistle on high flame. Switch off and allow the pressure to go by itself.

Meanwhile, separate the chicken from its bones. Discard the bones (or chew on them like I do! Hehe...).

Add the chicken back into the soup along with the remaining parsley and keep it on simmer for five minutes. Sprinkle in the thyme and give a gentle mix. Adjust salt and pepper as required.

Enjoy the beautifully red colored soup warm with some lemon squeezed on top! Delicious, really...


You can definitely cook this on normal stove top. I used the pressure cooker only to speed up the process.

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