Kuku Soup for the Sick

DAY 1 – It begins as a tickle in your throat. You wake up one morning and your voice is hoarser than it should be and the raw sound doesn’t go away as the morning progresses. Your nose is mildly congested and the stairs at work wind you more than they usually do.

DAY 2 – You try to tell yourself you’re not getting sick, and if you just go about your day as normal than your body will follow suit. Except that you keep washing your hands at work because you keep coughing and don’t want to be known as the employee who spreads germs. And your colleagues, ever considerate, let you know you’re not looking your best and recommend medications. Which you are slowing caving to, but that means admitting you’re… bah… sick.  

DAY 3 – It’s Saturday and you wake up at 7:30 am (after less than five hours of sleep because you were too uncomfortable to fall asleep and not because you were out enjoying the Friday night). Your body decides it needs to be distracted from itself. Your pillow and blanket have magically moved from your bed to the couch and the television movie network is turned on as you settle into your Saturday with ginger tea, honey, toilet paper (because your tissues are fancy like that) and the remote. After the first movie it’s only just reaching 9:30 in the morning and you need something stronger than the ginger tea.

Enter Kuku Veggie Soup.

As a recently relinquished vegetarian the only thing I had on my mind when my cold struck was chicken broth. When I was a vegetarian (aka whenever I lived in Canada over the past two years – I’ll show you factory farm) and my nose would start to run I always secretly craved chicken broth. Hot, delicious, healing chicken broth. So when Movie #1 finished (I watched three before 2pm) I busted out the kuku (chicken in Kiswahili), vegetables, a cutting board, and some spices to prepare a hot and steamy pot of homemade remedy deliciousness. 


Nusu of the kuku

Kuku nusu (½ chicken), skin and small bones removed
1 large purple onion
3 leeks
4 carrots
3 large potatoes
Spices of choice. I like: Bay leaves, basil, paprika,  mustard powder, masala, and pepper
8 – 10 cups of water
Cooking oil

Just because you're sick doesn't mean you can't have fun.

Quarter inch thickness for my leeks please.



Nothing says potatoe like a sail boat on the ocean on a sunny day.

Chop up the onion and leeks for tenderizing. Cut the carrots and potatoes into big-bite chunks. If not pre-skinned, separate the skin from the meat of the kuku (giggle, giggle… kuku… how great is Kiswahili?) Also take out any minor bones so there are no unpleasant surprises in your soup. Season your chicken to taste. 




Caramelize the onions slightly before the pot goes all kuku.

Heat the cooking oil in a pot that will happily serve five or six large portions. Add the chopped onions and leeks, browning slightly on low heat.

The kuku, leeks, and onions are having a party. Water is about to arrive.

Put in the chicken. Once one side of the meat browns, turn over. Fill the pot with water and turn up the heat. Sprinkle in spices, and don’t forget the bay leaves.

Sail boat and smiley face no more.

Finally add the potatoes and carrots.

Bubble, bubble, boil, and... make delicious soup? (Sorry Shakespeare)

Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, covered, for one hour.

One bowl of Kuku Veggie Soup

After an hour, remove the kuku from the pot and separate the meat from the bones. Cut the meat into shreds and replace in the pot.

Fill a hearty bowl and enjoy! 


The terrain of a sick Saturday on the couch.


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