Yakhni Shorba in Persian is a meat stew, soup or broth and is often used as a base for many other dishes. It is known as Yahni, yahniya or yakhni in Greek, Arab and South Asian cuisines. It’s a centuries old meat bone broth that was served to Alexander in Bactria.
In Pakistani cuisine it is either used to cook Pulao or given as an energy booster during cold and fever. Other than that it is served as a hot treat to entertain guests through winter and autumn months.
Just because its associated with illness and recovery doesn’t mean yakhni has to taste like medicines. As a child I associated it so strongly with winter flu and cough that for a long time I couldn’t think of yakhni without a feverish taste in my mouth. Then once I had this delicious yakhni served in teacups at a wedding feast that changed my whole concept of it.
Now I make my yakhni as a multi purpose broth/soup which is tasty and flavourful and can be added to different foods as a base or served as a very energising winter drink.
Mostly I use lamb neck for yakhni but you can also use chicken with bones for a lighter version. Bone broth is good for gut health and can be enjoyed not only as a healing elixir but makes a welcome addition to casseroles, and slow cooking, especially provides a great base for yakhni pulao (a Persian rice and broth preparation).
Next time, instead of throwing away the trimmings and bones from your lamb roast, you can use them to make this comforting and energizing yakhni shorba.
1/4 kg lamb or chicken bones or cutups with bones
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 inch thumb ginger
1 medium carrot, peeled
2 green chilli peppers, whole
7-8 black peppercorn
1 stick cinnamon
2 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
This Is What You Do :
Heat oil in a deep pan, add onions and fry till golden, add meat and continue to fry till onions and meat both are golden brown. Add all the spices and fry another minute. Add the remaining ingredients and fill the pan half with water.
Let the broth come to a boil once, reduce heat to lowest, cover the pan and let it simmer for at least 1 hour. Add more water if required.
Soup should be really thin and runny like clear soup. Strain and let it cool.
Once it’s cold, the fats will form a layer on the top. Skim away that layer.
Heat before serving as soup or freeze in ice trays to use later, when required.
Squeeze a little lemon for more flavour right before you serve.