As its name suggests Libyan Soup holds a special place in Libyan cuisine. It's an aromatic soup that combines olive oil and a typical Libyan mix of herbs and spices. During Ramadan, it takes pride of place on every Iftar table. There are countless versions of this soup, and everyone has their own favorite recipe. While the classic Sharba Libiya is with lamb and mint, this is a lighter version with chicken and thyme which is particularly suitable for breaking the fast.
Ingredients:about 400g chicken
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
7 cardamom seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp tumeric
salt and pepper
fresh thyme as needed ( you can use dried thym instead )
1/2 cup lisan asfour (bird's tongue) orzo pasta
about 11/2 litre boiling water
Cut and skin the chicken,chop the onion, tomatoes and the parsely.
Pour the oil in a pot, add chopped onion, drop in the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf, stirring until the oil is infused. Remember to split open the cardamom seeds.
Add the chicken, tomato paste and stir
Add the spices, fresh tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 litre boiling water, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Then add about 1 litre water and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces, cinnamon sticks and the chicken pieces, de-bone the chicken pieces and cut into bite-sized chunks set aside. Add the remaining amount of parsley, and lisan asfour (orzo), cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Turn of the heat, drop the chicken pieces back in, rub a handful of dried thyme between the palms of your hand straight into the pot, then give the soup a final stir.
Pour the hot soup into small bowls and Serve with lemon wedges and fresh bread.