Saag Shorba

We like saag sorba at our local restaurant, Bombay House, and this is an attempt to imitate it. I found on the web that sorba (or shorba) is a chicken stock-based soup from the Punjab. If I generally disdain soup, you can imagine that its presence here is because it’s delicious.

This soup is not vegetarian; perhaps it could be adapted for vegetable broth. To make it vegan would be an even greater stretch.

On my first try, what I made was very tasty, but perhaps a bit too strong as I doubled the spices on a whim. It also had an after-bite to it that Bombay House’s does not. That’s not necessarily bad, especially if not used merely as an introduction to the meal, but as the meal.

(This is the first rewrite after a successful first try. Additional things to try: 2-cut the chicken stock with a little filtered water, 3-use more milk and less cream if not serving as the main dish.)


8-10 servings; the recipe scales well.


½ cup butter
½ cup flour
2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp garam masala
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup minced carrot (optional)
2 qt chicken stock (or cut it with a little filtered water)
1 cup cooked chicken, minced (optional)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup milk
1 cup heavy cream or yogurt
½ cup wilted spinach, finely chopped
fresh-ground pepper


1. In a large soup pot, make a roux with the butter and flour. Set aside on a plate to cool scraping out all the roux. Oil the pan with olive oil.

2. Stir in the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and garam masala, blending well. Bloom for a minute. Add in the chopped onion and continue to cook, but don’t over-caramelize the onion. Add in minced carrot at this point, if desired, since it needs time to soften.

3. Add stock, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

This is the stopping point beyond which you must commit to serving the soup: what you have now can be refrigerated and reheated (prepared a day in advance).

4. Add the minced (already cooked) chicken breast, sugar, salt and the milk. Bring back up to temperature and add the spinach. Stir well.

5. Only on the way to the table, stir in cream or yogurt. Serve with a bit of black pepper.