Chef Einat Admony, chef-owner of Taïm Falafel in New York and D.C., grew up eating this Yemeni chicken soup every Friday, and her family had a special version for Passover. “For seders at my old restaurant, Balaboosta,” Admony writes, “I served a riff on it along with other dishes that combine the cultures of Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe and Mizrahi Jews in the Middle East and North Africa. Showcasing the flavors of where I come from serves as a bridge between Jewish cultures.” Admony likes to make the soup itself ahead of time; she then uses a portion of the broth to cook the matzo balls just before serving, which prevents them from getting mushy.
6 – 8 Servings
Tbsp. ground cumin
Tbsp. ground coriander
Tbsp. ground turmeric
tsp. freshly ground black pepper
tsp. ground cardamom
tsp. ground cloves
skin-on, bone-in chicken drumsticks (about 2 lb.), patted dry
Tbsp. vegetable oil
large onion, cut into ½” pieces
head of garlic, most of outermost skins removed, roots trimmed
small butternut squash, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1¼ lb.), peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
celery stalks, cut into 1″ pieces
dried bay leaves
quart low-sodium chicken broth
tsp. ground cumin
tsp. ground turmeric
cup finely chopped cilantro
cup vegetable oil
Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, crushed, or ¾ tsp. ground fenugreek seeds
tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
cup matzo meal
Mix cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, cardamom, and cloves in a small bowl to combine.
Do ahead: Hawaij can be made 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Generously season chicken with salt. Heat oil in a large heavy pot (at least 7 quarts) over medium-high. Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 12–16 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to pot. Cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaves, broth, and 3 quarts cold water, then return chicken to pot. Cover and bring to a boil, skimming any foam from surface. Add cumin, turmeric, 2 Tbsp. hawaij, and ½ cup cilantro. Reduce heat so soup is at a bare simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is very tender and broth is fully flavored, about 1 hour.
Whisk eggs, oil, cilantro, fenugreek, salt, a pinch of pepper, and ¼ cup broth from soup in a medium bowl to combine. Whisk in matzo meal; cover and chill dough until cold, at least 30 minutes.
Working one at a time, shape dough into ping-pong-size balls (about a heaping tablespoonful each) and add to soup. Cook matzo balls until they have puffed up and look light, 20–30 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls to serve.