• Turmeric soup with chicken meatballs (gundi) (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

This is the simplest of simple soups. Serve it with some Arabic, or other flatbread (like this Iranian taftan), some olives, chunks of white cheese, and cucumber and tomato wedges to the side for an easy, quick spread. Like all simple dishes, success here depends on getting the basics right - do take the time to make your own chicken stock.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (27 votes)


  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 600 g minced chicken
  • 200 g (1⅓ cups) besan (chickpea flour)
  • 3 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 x 440 g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • lemon wedges, to serve


Chicken stock

  • 2.5 kg chicken wings
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the stock, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Add 2.5 litres water, or enough to cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, skimming any impurities that rise to the surface, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally. Strain the stock, then discard the solids. Stand to allow fat to rise to the surface, then skim off all fat. Return the stock to a saucepan and simmer until reduced to 2 litres. You can make the stock in advance and refrigerate, or even freeze it until you need it. (Tip: it’s easier to remove the fat layer, if the stock has been refrigerated.)


Combine the onion, garlic, chicken, besan, spices, bicarbonate of soda, parsley, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix to combine well, then knead until a little springy - the mixture will be sticky. Divide into 16 even-sized pieces, then roll each into a ball.

Add the chickpeas and chicken balls to the stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, skimming any foam that rises to the surface, or until the meatballs are cooked. Divide meatballs, stock and chickpeas among bowls and serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing over. 


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.


This recipe is part of our 10 ways with turmeric column. View previous 10 ways with… columns and recipes.


When she doesn’t have her head in the pantry cupboard, Leanne Kitchen finds time to photograph food and write cookbooks. You can view her work on her website.