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Ema’s Chicken Soup (M’rrq D’mama)


The entire family always looked forward to Friday night, when Mom made her locally famous chicken soup. The aroma filled the house and warmed the heart. Sometimes, this hearty soup filled with vegetables and herbs was enough for dinner by itself. In fact, when I make it now, the aroma wafts up and down the street, and the neighbors sometimes knock on the door asking what wonderful dish is brewing in my kitchen. Since making it in my own home, I now add matzo balls, but the secret to this soup is the parsnips and cilantro, which provide a nutty and refreshing finish.


Prepare Ema’s Chicken Soup


Place the carrots, celery, parsnips, and celery root in a large pot. Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables and add the consommé powder and pepper. Add the water, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Carefully skim off any foam. Continue cooking for one hour.


Carefully remove the chicken and let stand until cool enough to handle.


Remove the chicken meat from the bones, shred the meat, and return it to the pot.


Add the cilantro and dill to the pot. Season with the turmeric.


Cook on low heat for an additional 15 minutes.


While the soup continues to cook, prepare the dumplings (matzo balls) according to the box directions, adding the seltzer water to the mixture.


Chill the dumplings in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.


Bring the soup to a boil for a few minutes, add the dumplings to the pot, boil for five minutes, and then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.


Ladle the soup and chicken into serving bowls and top with one dumpling per bowl.


Recipe excerpted from Sharing Morocco: Exotic Flavors from My Kitchen to Yours with kind permission from the author. (Greenleaf, 2014)