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Chikhirtma

Chikhirtma – Cozy up with a piping hot bowl of chikhirtma – our Georgian chicken soup combines tart lemon, tangy dill, and creamy egg yolks to create a velvety, smooth broth to complement the chicken and vegetables. We are big soup lovers, and just like the old book series from the 90s, this chicken soup is good for the soul.

While you’re thinking about soup, try our beef and barley soup and our Zuppa Toscana Instant Pot copycat!

A single serving of chikhirtma garnished with red chili flakes, dill, and cilantro.

WHAT IS CHIKHIRTMA?

Everyone needs to have a chicken soup recipe in their pocket. Make ours at the onset of cooler temperatures, when you’re feeling under the weather, or save it for when you’re craving pure comfort food. If I had to choose just one recipe, this would be mine! Okay, beef paya soup is up there too!

Chikhirtma is a traditional Georgian chicken soup known for its rich chicken stock that’s thickened and flavored with tempered eggs. While each family recipe is a little different, the base is the same, made-from-scratch chicken stock, tempered eggs, lemon, and bright herbs like cilantro and dill.

Like many recipes from Georgia (Georgia, the country, not the state), the famous soup takes the most simple ingredients and transforms them into a complex and beautiful meal you’ll love.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Chicken Stock: I prepare homemade chicken stock using a broken-down whole chicken. Dill and cilantro stems add tartness and the garlic and onion round out the broth. It wouldn’t be complete without whole spices like peppercorns, coriander, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves.
  • Chicken: I use a whole chicken, but use chicken thighs and legs or a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken to shorten the cooking time.
  • Garlic: A whole garlic head cooks in the broth, and becomes a flavor bomb.
  • Butter: A stick of butter may seem excessive, but it provides richness, and it’s a necessary ingredient for the roux.
  • Carrots: Carrots add bulk and a beautiful pop of color.
  • Flour: Create a blonde roux using flour and butter.
  • Soy Sauce: Cut some of the acidity with umami-rich soy sauce.
  • Egg Yolks: Egg yolks thicken the soup and compliments the tartness of ingredients, like lemon and dill.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice lends a tangy traditional Georgian flavor.
  • Herbs: Garnish with fresh cilantro and dill.

HOW TO MAKE CHIKHIRTMA

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

For the Chicken Stock:

Tie the stems of the cilantro and dill bundles, and cut off the leaves; reserve ¼ cup of each to garnish the soup.

Cut off and discard the top third of a garlic head, leaving the head intact.

Dill and cilantro bunches tied up and trimmed of leaves to be added to the soup.

Simmer whole chicken, cilantro stems, dill stems, and garlic head in a Dutch oven for 1 hour.

Add all the ingredients for the broth that will become the base for homemade chicken soup.

Remove the lid and scoop up the garlic head; set it aside. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and shred it, discarding the skin, bones, and cartilage.

Reserve the cooked chicken and garlic head to add to the soup later.

Use a colander to strain the broth into a mixing bowl.

Chicken stock in a mixing bowel after being strained.

Squeeze the garlic head into the broth using tongs, and whisk to combine. Set the broth aside.

Squeezing cloves out of a garlic head with tongs.

For the Georgian Chicken Soup:

In the Dutch oven, add butter, carrots, and onions; cook over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes.

Saute carrots and onion in butter.

Add flour and stir for 5-7 minutes to build a blonde roux, then deglaze with soy sauce.

Create a roux with butter and flour.

Add 2 cups of the reserved broth; give it a quick stir, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth to the chickhirtma to finish.

In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice. Continue whisking while slowly adding 2 cups of the reserved hot broth.

Then, remove the Dutch oven from heat and whisk in egg mixture. Stir to combine.

Eggs tempered with lemon juice and hot broth.

Return the chicken along with any accumulated juices to the pan.

Shredded chicken being added back to the soup.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro, dill, and red pepper flakes to serve.

Chikhirtma with the added tempered eggs.

EXPERT TIPS

  • Before squeezing the lemons, rub them on the countertop with your palm; this allows more lemon juice to release. 
  • Do not simmer the soup after adding the eggs; doing so will cause the eggs to curdle.

INSTANT POT CHIKHIRTMA

For the Chicken Stock:

  1. Tie the stems of the cilantro and dill bundles, then trim the leaves; reserve ¼ cup of each to garnish the soup.
  2. Cut off and discard the top third of the garlic head, leaving the head intact.
  3. Add the chicken, cilantro and dill stems, and garlic head to an Instant Pot, along with the remaining broth ingredients. Bring soup to a boil using the saute mode. Secure the lid and set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 30 minutes with a natural release.
  4. Remove the lid and scoop up the garlic head. Set aside.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet to cool. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin, bones, and cartilage. Keep the legs intact if you prefer, but I remove the skin.
  6. Strain the broth into a mixing bowl using a colander and discard any solids.
  7. Squeeze the garlic head into the broth using tongs, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

For the Georgian Chicken Soup:

  1. In the Instant Pot, add butter, carrots, onions, and salt; cook on saute mode until the onions become translucent and soften for about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Add flour and cinnamon. Stir for 1-2 minutes to build a roux, and then deglaze with soy sauce.
  3. Add two cups of the reserved broth; give it a quick stir and simmer on saute mode for 5 minutes.
  4. In another mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and lemon juice together. Continue whisking while slowly adding the 2 cups of hot broth. Then, unplug the Instant Pot and whisk in the lemon juice and eggs mixture.
  5. Stir to combine. Do not simmer once the eggs are added.
  6. Add the reserved chicken and any accumulated juices.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh cilantro, dill, and red pepper flakes to serve.

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A single serving of chikhirtma garnished with red chili flakes, dill, and cilantro.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • Refrigerate  Store the leftovers in an airtight container; it will keep for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze  If freezing, I recommend setting aside a portion of soup to freeze without adding the eggs. Allow the reserved soup to cool, then add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Chikhirtma freezes for 3 months.
  • Thaw – When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheat  Warm leftovers on the stovetop over low heat, so the eggs aren’t disturbed.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where does chikhirtma originate from?

The origins of chikhirtma are unclear (though most attribute it to the Persian empire). Now, the soup is prepared in kitchens all over Georgia as a light lunch with homemade bread and as a flu remedy; chikhirtma is also well known for being a ‘hangover cure.’

Can I skip the chicken stock and make chikhirtma soup?

If you’re in a hurry and need to cut the cooking time, opt for a store-bought chicken stock (about 2-3 quarts) to flavor the soup. Since you’re skipping the stock-making process, add the cilantro stems, dill stems, garlic, onions, and whole spices to the soup while simmering- so you don’t miss any signature flavors. I suggest putting them in a spice ball to avoid straining them.

Follow the instructions, and skip to the- for the homemade chicken soup section. When you get to step three, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 20-30 minutes to develop the flavor and break down the garlic head.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Make the soup a few days ahead and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Then, follow my instructions for reheating; this is also a great freezer meal, though I recommend leaving the eggs out until you are ready to prepare the meal if you choose to go this route.

Did you try this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback. Consider rating the recipe and leave a comment below. 

A single serving of chikhirtma garnished with red chili flakes, dill, and cilantro.

Chikhirtma (Georgian Chicken Soup)

Tressa Jamil
Cozy up with a piping hot bowl of chikhirtma – our Georgian chicken soup combines a handful of ingredients to create a velvety, smooth and savory soup you'll love.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Georgian
Servings 8 bowls
Calories 348 kcal
Ingredients
  
For the Chicken Stock:
  • 2½ – 3 pounds whole chicken, bone-in, and skin on
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems, and ends reserved separately
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, stems, and ends reserved separately
  • 1 garlic head, end removed
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 large white onion, quartered
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • teaspoon whole allspice,
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
For the Georgian Chicken Soup:
  • 1 stick butter, salted
  • 5 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup lemon juice, about 2 lemons
  • black pepper, coarse ground, to taste
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to garnish
Instructions
 

For the Chicken Stock:

  • Tie the stems of the cilantro and dill bundles, and cut off the leaves; reserve ¼ cup of each to garnish the soup.
  • Cut off and discard the top third of a garlic head, leaving the head intact.
  • Add the whole chicken, cilantro stems, dill stems, and garlic head to a dutch oven, along with the remaining broth ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is tender, for about 1 hour.
  • Remove the lid and scoop up the garlic head; set it aside. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and shred it, discarding the skin, bones, and cartilage. Keep the legs intact if you prefer, but remove the skin.
  • Use a colander to strain the broth into a mixing bowl. Discard any solids.
  • Squeeze the reserved garlic head into the broth using tongs, and whisk to combine. Set the broth aside.

For the Georgian Chicken Soup:

  • In the dutch oven, add butter, carrots, and onions; set over medium heat and cook until the onions become translucent and soften for about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add flour and stir for 5-7 minutes to build a blonde roux, then deglaze with soy sauce.
  • Add 2 cups of the reserved broth; give it a quick stir, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • In another mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice together. Continue whisking while slowly adding 2 cups of reserved hot broth. Then, remove the dutch oven from heat and whisk in lemon juice and the egg mixture. Stir to combine.
    Note: Do not simmer once the eggs have been added. 
  • Return the chicken along with any accumulated juices to the pan.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro, dill, and red pepper flakes to serve.
Notes
Adapted From:
  • So many of the dinner recipes we make regularly at home come from Milkstreet, including the inspiration for this recipe!
Expert Tips:
  • Before squeezing the lemons, rub them on the countertop with your palm; this allows more lemon juice to release. 
  • Do not simmer the soup after adding the eggs; doing so will cause the eggs to curdle.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Bowl | Calories: 348 kcal | Carbohydrates: 12 g | Protein: 20 g | Fat: 25 g | Sodium: 1108 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 4 g
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 6 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Lauren

Friday 7th of April 2023

Discovered this dish after reading about a woman who travelled to the country of Georgia and sang the praises of this soup. Found your recipe and decided to make it for myself. Quite delicious and wonderfully unique! Thanks for sharing.

Tressa Jamil

Friday 7th of April 2023

I love the backstory, and I am glad you had a chance to try it out. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for your kind words.

Bianca

Saturday 16th of July 2022

Felt a little down the past few days and this soup was the perfect dish to get me back up again! So delicious, just pure comfort food!

Tressa Jamil

Saturday 16th of July 2022

Oh, I feel the same way! I am happy it was able to brighten your day!

Fede

Saturday 16th of July 2022

This soup is a proper comfort food, taste delicious and it is easy to make.

Tressa Jamil

Saturday 16th of July 2022

It's our go-to soup for that reason; I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Giangi

Friday 15th of July 2022

I love earthy, rich soups, and your recipe is all of that. I will try it this weekend. Thank you for sharing

Tressa Jamil

Friday 15th of July 2022

It's light, tasty, and still so filling. You'll have to let me know what you think once you've made it!