Canja de galinha (Chicken soup)

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Brazilian, Food, Soups
Tags: ,

Source: Modified from the series “Cozinha Regional Brasileira” (Brazilian Regional Cuisine,, book 4 (São Paulo)


History: “Canja de galinha” is a very common supper dish in the Northeastern states in Brazil, but in this series it’s in the book for São Paulo (from the Southeast), so I believe it’s common in other parts of Brazil as well – which makes sense, since it’s easy to make, quite cheap (chicken has always been among the cheapest sources of meat in Brazil), and it has that “we’ve always had it” quality that passes between generations. It’s also the supper of choice when one is under the weather, which sometimes gives this quite nice dish a bad rep.

Variation from the original: I don’t think there is any “original” recipe for chicken soup – everyone has it’s own – but since I started from the book, here’s what I did differently (besides the quantities): only used chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken (that’s what I had), used cooked rice instead of cooking it in the soup (I had leftovers), and cut the chicken in cubes instead of making “pulled chicken”.

Ingredients from specialty stores: None


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in small (1/2” cubes)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped in small cubes
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • water
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • chopped parsley or cilantro

Trim the fat off the chicken, cut it in small cubes, then season it with salt and pepper, then reserve. In a pan, heat the oil then add the onion, garlic and carrots, sautéing them until the onion starts becoming soft. Add the chicken and toss it for 3-5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the bay leaves, then enough water to cover the chicken, plus 1/2”. Cook it for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is done.

When the chicken is done, add the rice, and cook for another 2-3 minutes (to heat up the rice). Serve it hot with chopped parsley or cilantro



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