Split Pea and Rice Soup with chicken is a super easy, one pot dish. Gently spiced, full of classic flavours, healthy and plain delicious.
This recipe was first published in 2014 and updated in December 2019
A bowlful of gently spiced split pea and rice soup to combat the cold weather that has finally arrived? Yes please.
For the record, I love all seasons. Aside from enjoying all the seasonal food on offer, I love the scenery and I truly enjoy watching the countryside around me change through each new season.
But let’s not overlook how our cooking can change with the seasons. Winter brings out a need in me to ditch the salads and eat satisfying, wholesome, comforting food. Food such as soup, pies and big bowls of chilli. I have a feeling I was made for winter.
And talking of soup, let's get back to this rather tasty spiced split pea soup.
As if the flavours of this soup weren’t enough to guarantee my happiness, there's the colour too. Hello there, yellow!
Really, with all the rice, potatoes and chicken hanging around in this dish, it's verging on a stew. Yes, this spiced split pea soup is quite hearty.
What are Split Peas?
Quite simply, split peas are peas that have been grown specifically for drying.
Once dried, the dull-coloured outer skin of the pea is removed, and the peas are then split in half - hence the name!
There are 2 types of split peas: green and yellow. Green split peas are sweeter and less starchy than yellow split peas.
And there are 2 good reasons why the peas are halved once dired rather than being left whole:
- splitting the dried pea results in a faster cooking
- it also eliminates the need to presoak the peas
Split peas are highly nutritious, being rich in protein and fibre, and low in fat. Good news all round.
They are an ideal addition to soups and stews since there is no need to soak them before cooking, and they turn very creamy when cooked.
Split peas are a commonly used ingredient throughout many cuisines. You may have come across the following dishes already:
Ingredients for Split Pea and Rice Soup
The flavour base for this soup relies on a mix of garlic, ginger and chilli in the base, followed by a combination of cumin, coriander & turmeric.
Not exactly rocket science, but damn good stuff all the same.
I've included chicken in this spiced split pea soup to help turn it into a satisfying main meal.
The chicken can be left out altogether for a lighter meal - perhaps adding some red pepper to bulk it out a little. Vegetarians could easily replace the meat-based protein with some chunks of pan fried paneer cheese and vegans could use roasted chickpeas instead.
How to Make Spiced Split Pea Soup
This soup is very easy to make and, despite a cooking time of 1 hour, there is very little hand-on time:
- fry the onion, leek, garlic, ginger and chilli until softened
- sprinkle in the spices and fry for a further minute
- add the split peas, chicken breast and stock, then simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
- remove the chicken and continue to cook the soup for a further 20-30 minutes until the split peas are soft but have not broken down
- meanwhile, shred the chicken
- once the soup is cooked, add the shredded chicken, cooked rice, cooked potato and the coconut milk. Heat through then ladle into bowls
A scattering of fresh coriander and spring onions is all this Split Pea Chicken Rice Soup needs to finish it off.
Find More Soup & Stew Recipes:
Split Pea, Chicken and Rice Soup
- 1 tablespoon Groundnut oil
- 1 Small onion – finely chopped
- 1 Leek – finely sliced
- 1 Garlic clove finely chopped
- Ginger (a piece the size of a cherry tomato) – peeled, finely chopped or grated
- 1 Red chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon Ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Ground coriander
- 1 Bay leaf
- 80 g/ 3 oz Yellow split peas
- 1 Skinless chicken breast
- 600 ml/ 2½ cups Stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 125 ml/ ½ cup Coconut milk (half fat is fine)
- 50 g/ 2 oz Cooked rice
- 100 g/ 4 oz Cooked potato – peeled and cubed
- Salt & Pepper
To Serve – optional
- 2 spring onions – finely sliced
- A handful of coriander leaves
- In a large saucepan, fry the onion, leek, garlic, ginger and chilli in the groundnut oil over a low-moderate heat for 5 minutes until softened
- Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, bay leaf and salt & pepper and fry for a further minute
- Next add the split peas, chicken breast and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
- Take the chicken out and let cool for a few minutes. Continue to cook the soup for a further 20-30 minutes until the split peas are soft but have not broken down
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken (use a couple of forks to rip it into pieces)
- Once the soup is ready, add the shredded chicken, rice, potato and the coconut milk. Heat until warmed through then serve garnished with the fresh coriander and spring onion if desired