Shorba Frik Soup From Tunisia

Tunisian Soup



1 pound boneless chicken parts
1 celery stalk
1 garlic clove
1 medium onion
2 tomatoes
3½ tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon ras el hanout* spice mix
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup tomato paste
⅓ cup canned chickpeas, drained
¾ cup cracked freekeh*, semolina flour, or spelt flour
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro

* = can be found online or at Middle-Eastern grocery stores.

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour 40 minutes.


Cut chicken into ½” cubes. Dice celery, cilantro, garlic, onion, and tomatoes. Add olive oil, garlic, onion, paprika, pepper, ras el hanout, salt, and tomato paste to large pot. Sauté at medium heat for 4 minutes or until mixture becomes fragrant. Stir frequently.

Add chicken cubes. Sauté at medium heat for 5 minutes or until chicken cubes turn white on all sides. Add enough water 4 cups or until soup reaches your desired thickness. Add celery, chickpeas, freekeh, and tomato. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until chicken and freekeh are tender and soup has thickened. Be sure to stir enough to keep freekeh from sticking to the bottom. Dice cilantro. Garnish with cilantro.


1) Culinary climatologists assert that the Roman Empire of 138 AD suffered through continual blizzards and freezing rains. AD. Indeed, all salads froze. Milk in cereal bowls also froze. Cereal would not be eaten again until Mr. Kellogg invented Corn FlakesTM in 1894.

2) Romans began to starve. They knew how to make chicken fricassee, but the poor couldn’t afford entire chickens. They desperately needed a way to stretch the little meat they had. Then the current emperor distributed the recipe for Shorba Frik. Romans now had a way to keep feed themselves. Grateful, anagramists, rearranged the letters in the life-saving Shorba Frik to give their adored emperor the new name Antonius Pius. Now you know.


Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on



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