Lime in Chicken Soup: How I Mixed Up My Traditions

By Rebecca Lehrer

Lime is not a German Jewish thing, it turns out.

Co-founder Rebecca’s take on soup for your soul. The more lime the better.  Buen Provecho!

My whole life I thought that putting lime and cilantro in chicken soup was a Jewish thing. Because lime and cilantro are super common in Germany and Poland, right? It turns out that it is Salvadoran. I only realized this a couple of years ago when I was with Neil and my aunt at a marketplace in San Salvador. We ordered chicken soup, lime came with it, and then basically my brain exploded. All I knew is that my Mami did it this way. So while it may not be traditionally Jewish it’s certainly my Mash-Up Jewish tradition!

Lime in Chicken Soup Traditional Jewish chicken soup, served with lime and cilantro. Because that’s how we do.


1 whole chicken

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (more depending on your cilantro preference)

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

6 cloves of garlic whole or quartered, your choice

1 cup of rice (optional)

3 Bay Leaves

1 tablespoon of salt + more to taste

20 black peppercorns

5 allspice berries

4 limes, cut in half

2 large potatoes (or 6 small potatoes), chopped to 1/2 inch cubes

2 medium onions, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes

2 carrots, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes

4 stalks celery, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes

guisquiles (chayote), chopped to 1/2 inch cubes

3 small zucchini or yellow squash, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes

1 turnip, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 lb of green beans (ejotes), cut in half

Good substitutes: corn, cabbage, yucca root


Put the whole chicken (with giblets, if that’s your thing) and all chopped vegetables in a large pot. Add salt + bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice berries, garlic, cilantro and parsley. Cover with water. Bring to a boil.  Bring down to a gentle simmer and add rice (optional). Cook for 1.5 hours at gentle simmer, adding water as needed to keep everything covered. After 1.5 hours chicken should fall apart with touch of a spoon.  Break chicken apart in the pot.  Leave the bones, people can pick them out of their bowls. Salt and pepper to taste. The longer you cook it, the better it gets, but it can be served after 1.5 hours. Serve with half a lime, and pass more sliced limes and thick Salvadoran tortillas.

Let your soul be satisfied. Enjoy!