Amu’s Gingery Chicken Soup With Lentils & Potatoes

December  3, 2021
16 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Alya Hameedi. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

This combo of starchy red lentils, creamy potatoes, and fiery ginger is my ideal chicken soup. It’s the bowl my mom would make whenever I had a cold or tingle in my throat. The spicy pepper, warm turmeric, and perky green chiles quickly cleared up whatever ailed me. I hope you try it and make it a classic in your life, too. And if you’re on a real soup kick, check out my Spicy Chicken Soup With Sweet Potatoes & Cabbage, and fill up your freezer.

Want to make it your own? Here are my tips for lazy, cozy soup: Make a broth with roughly chunked aromatics (use what you got—skin-on onions, flaccid carrots, wilty celery) and chicken legs, which are loaded with bones and connective tissue for deep flavor without searing or roasting. After a couple episodes of Crime Junkie, drain the broth and return it to the pot. If you’re done for the day, stick it in the fridge and reheat in a day or two. Or turn on another podcast and keep going. To the hot broth, add whatever you’re feeling. Yukon golds instead of sweet potatoes? Kale instead of cabbage? Let that simmer while you pick the meat off the bone. At this point you can portion it into deli containers and freeze for a rainy day. Before digging in, add sizzled spices, chopped tender herbs, or lemon juice or vinegar for some pep in your step. And have fun with toppings. Think creamy yogurt or sour cream, crunchy crackers or chips, and fresh chiles or herbs. You can make chicken soup with whatever you’ve got—no need to leave the house or even put on pants.
Sohla El-Waylly

What You'll Need
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Amu’s Gingery Chicken Soup With Lentils & Potatoes
  • Broth
  • 2 whole chicken legs
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 (5-inch) piece ginger, smashed
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Soup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as sunflower or grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Plain yogurt, for serving
  • Torn cilantro, for serving
  • Thinly sliced Thai green chiles, for serving
  1. Make the broth: In a medium Dutch oven, combine all the ingredients. Slowly pour 6 cups of water on top. Bring to a boil over high heat. If foamy white scum floats to the top, skim it off with a ladle, spoon, or small sieve. (Don’t worry about getting all of it—just try to get as much as you can without losing too much broth.) Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 1½ hours, until the chicken is tender and the broth is flavorful.
  2. Strain the broth into a large heatproof vessel (I use a big metal bowl). Return the broth to the Dutch oven. Transfer the chicken to a plate and discard the aromatics.
  3. Make the soup: Bring the broth to a gentle simmer. Taste the broth and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the potatoes and lentils and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pick the chicken meat off the bone, trying to maintain large chunks. Reserve the meat and discard the bones and skin.
  5. Once the potatoes and lentil are done, in a small skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and turmeric. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop, about 1 minute. Scrape the spiced oil into the soup and stir to incorporate. Add the reserved chicken meat and stir until warmed through. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Divide the soup into bowls and top with yogurt, cilantro, and chiles. Store ungarnished leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jody Hatch
    Jody Hatch
  • Tanya Mur
    Tanya Mur
  • starheartsuz
  • em oh
    em oh
Sohla El-Waylly is a Food52 Resident, sharing new riffable recipes every month that'll help you get creative in the kitchen. Watch her cook on YouTube in her new series, Off-Script With Sohla. Before she started developing fun recipes for home cooks, she worked as a chef in N.Y.C. and L.A., briefly owning a restaurant in Brooklyn with her husband and fellow chef, Ham El-Waylly. She lives in the East Village with Ham, their two dogs, and cat. Find out what else she's up to on Instagram @sohlae

10 Reviews

Jody H. March 31, 2023
I had the chicken, the lentils, the potatoes...but not the yogurt. I did have probiotic cottage cheese which subbed in fine, the Serrano pepper topped it off deliciously. My daughter tasted it at every stage and the spice oil made the soup! Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe. I just save every Sola recipe.
starheartsuz December 6, 2022
What's a guy going to do when they miss the chicken in chicken soup? Jackfruit, baby. My partner is veg and I don't eat much meat these days, and lezbehonest I love the challenge. I made my own veggie broth and boosted it with shitakes, kombu, peppercorns and extra ginger and garlic. After sizzling the spices I broke up the young jackfruit into the pan with an sliced shallot. Let those mingle and sear a bit and added it to the soup. Served it with the toppings recommended and pan fried corn tortillas. What coziness! Thank you Sohla!
em O. October 13, 2022
Loved this soup and about to make it again. I used 3 chicken thighs, boxed broth instead of water for making the broth. I added diced carrots and will keep that addition. Going forward I will also double the lentils as I prefer a thicker soup and I will also double the spices in the oil. I didn't have fresh chilis, but a few drops of hot sauce or grains of cayenne did the trick.
em O. October 13, 2022
oh! also highly recommend a squeeze of lime if you have it around
Bkerrigan17 January 18, 2022
Great and super simple! I couldn’t find any good green chiles so I put a bit of green cholula on top - still tasted perfect. Thanks Sohla!!!
Sheri B. January 17, 2022
I made this recipe exactly as written - I did make the broth the day before and deboned the chicken so all I had to do today after work was heat and add potato/lentils
I even did the spiced oil - excellent! It is truly the best soup recipe I've made in a long time! Easy & delicious! Thank you Sohla!!
Nanette January 11, 2022
We enjoy everything Sohla cooks.
Tried this recipe - using a boxed stock - and it was delicous. Having a hard time sourcing fresh cilantro (another victim of the supply chain?) still the finished soup was delicous. Gingery, savory and completely delicious. Today is -4 outside and we will make a batch of Amu’s Gingery Chicken Soup with Red Lentils. Happily eat it. Thank you Sohla!
miatortilla December 28, 2021
Made this soup as I was feeling super under the weather with congestion and a horrible headache. This was the life juice I needed to not make me feel like compete turds. It was flavorful, spicy, and comforting. I browned two chicken thighs in my instant pot before adding in all the broth ingredients (set it on high for 30 minutes instead of simmering on the stovetop). For the soup, I swapped lentils for leftover cabbage and served it with all the toppings (swapping yogurt for a squeeze of lemon juice). Will definitely make this again!
Tanya M. January 1, 2022
Interesting - did you use both the chicken thighs and the legs or just the thighs? I'll also try this in my instant pot - thanks!
MarvinG December 27, 2021
no clue about this recipe - fricking Food52's app won't let me out of their review hell. I'll update if I make this.