Macroona Imbakbaka (Libyan Minestrone)

Disclaimer: This post contains a recipe highlighting a different country or culture. While I strive for authenticity, I sometimes need to make adjustments to recipes due to ingredient availability.

This month, the Eat the World challenge is taking us to Libya.

Libya is in Northern Africa, across the Mediterranean from Italy, which explains some of the Italian influence and the pastas found in some recipes like the one I made today.  

I’ve seen this referred to as Libyan Minestrone and this is a recipe that has many variations, often family to family or region to region.  However, most recipes seem to have chicken, pasta (usually ditalini), and a spicy tomato-based broth.

Check out all the wonderful Libyan dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us! 

 A Day in the Life on the Farm: Libyan Cheese Dip 
Sneha’s Recipe: Tajin Sfinari bil Zaytun/ Libyan Lamb Casserole with Carrots and Green Olives 
Palatable Pastime: Maghreb Chicken and Vegetable Stew 
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Macroona Imbakbaka (Libyan Minestrone) 
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Mbakbaka (Spicy Libyan Pasta) 
Kitchen Frau: Kufta bin Batinjal (Eggplant Kofta in Tomato Sauce 

And here are some dishes from the Sunday Funday crew (a few are repeats from above!)

  • Ejja - Libyan Frittata from Mayuri’s Jikoni
  • Libyan Harissa Paste from Cook with Renu
  • Libyan Lamb Stew with White Beans and Spinach from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
  • Macroona Imbakbaka (Libyan Minestrone) from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
  • Maghreb Chicken and Vegetable Stew from Palatable Pastime
  • Mbakbaka (Spicy Libyan Pasta) from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
  • Libyan Cheese Dip from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Pilpelchuma - Libyan Chili Paste from Food Lust People Love
  • Sharba Libiya - Libyan Mint and Lamb Soup from Pandemonium Noshery
  • Tajin Sfinari bil Zaytun/ Libyan Lamb Casserole with Carrots and Green Olives from Sneha’s Recipe

  • Recipe notes:

    -this recipe can make a huge batch, so I’ve allowed for some variation.  I used the smaller amounts in my recipe and still served my family of 4 with leftovers for a couple lunches!  When making the smaller amount, I shredded the dark meat and added it back into the soup, and saved the white meat in the refrigerator for other lunches/recipes.  The full batch (larger amount on the water & pasta)  would use the whole chicken.

    -the original recipe called for the chicken to be cut into pieces and did not call for it to be shredded.  I knew my family would prefer not to pick around bones, so I took that step prior to serving.

    Macroona Imbakbaka

    Adapted from The Libyan Kitchen

    1-2 tablespoon olive oil

    1 onion, diced

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 whole chicken

    1 jalapeno pepper, diced

    1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

    1 teaspoon turmeric powder

    1 teaspoon paprika

    ½ teaspoon coriander powder

    Pinch of ground cardamom

    Salt & pepper

    8-12 cups water

    8-16 ounces ditalini pasta

    Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the chicken and the onions.  Cook, turning the chicken occasionally and stirring the onions until the onions are soft and chicken is browned on all sides.  

    Stir in the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute.  Then, stir in the tomato paste, turmeric, paprika, coriander, cardamom, salt, and pepper and cook for a minute more.

    Stir in the water (enough to cover the chicken, less for a small batch, but be prepared to flip the chicken during cooking).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 2 hours or until chicken is tender and falling off the bones.

    Remove chicken from the soup and set aside to cool slightly.  Stir the desired amount of pasta.  Meanwhile, remove the chicken from bones and add back into the soup.  Once the chicken is added and pasta is cooked, serve.

    Amy Eats the World in...

    Cuba: Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef)
    Ireland: Cheesy Potato Soup with Irish Ale
    Thailand: Chicken Satay
    Kenya: Crunchy N’Dizi (Peanut Crusted Bananas)
    Sweden: Rodbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese)
    New Zealand: Kiwi Burge
    France: Fougasse (Provencal Flatbread)
    Argentina: Chimichurri Sauce
    Mexico (Halloween Special): Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
    India: Spiced Golden Mil
    Poland: Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
    Ethiopia: Buticha (Hummus)
    England: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron-Style Mini Cottage Pie 
    Georgia: Lobiani (Bean-Stuffed Bread)
    Mexico: Crispy Pork Carnitas
    Cambodia: Loc Lac (Shredded Beef with Lime)
    Israel: Chicken Albondigas (Chicken Meatballs)
    Finland: Sima (Lemonade) 
    Puerto Rico: Arroz con Tocino  (Rice with Bacon)
    Egypt: Ghorayebah Cookies
    Ukraine: Scuffles (Rohalyky) Cinnamon Crescent Rolls
    Portugal: Bitoque (Steak & Eggs) 
    Germany (Christmas Special): Lebkuchenherzen (German "Gingerbread" Cookies) 
    Trinidad & Tobago: Trini Macaroni Pie 
    Iraq: T'bit (Slow Cooked Chicken & Brown Rice) 
    Fiji: Fijian Creamy Lentil Soup (Dhal) 
    Senegal: Cafe Touba (Senegalese Spiced Coffee) 
    Colombia: Cañón de Cerdo (Colombia-Style Pork Loin Roast) 
    Soul Food (United States): Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce 
    Bangladesh: Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding) 
    The Netherlands: Dutch Farmer’s Cheese Soup (Boerenkaas Soep) 
    Laos: Khao Piak Sen (Lao Chicken Noodle Soup) 
    Jamaica: Chicken &  Pumpkin Soup 
    Vietnam: Vietnamese Chicken Porridge (Chao Ga) 
    Sudan: Red Lentil Soup (Sudanese Addas) 
    Luxembourg: Bouchée à la Reine (Vol-au-Vent)
    Uruguay: Pasta Caruso

    Lesotho: Borotho Bread
    Scotland: Tattie Scones
    Native American Tribes of North America: Wild Rice, Squash, & Corn Soup
    Guyana: Butterflaps
    Réunion Island: Rougail Z'Andouille
    Australia: Fairy Bread
    Turkey: Simit Bread


    1. Thanks for the great theme! Love your pasta dish. I think that Italy once colonized Libya too, but I'm not sure how long.

    2. Minestrone is always a hit. Thanks for hosting Amy.

    3. Looks great to put in a thermos for a brown bag lunch.

    4. That looks like a simple comfort food dish, but loaded with flavour. Love the idea of the pasta and shredded chicken together. I know my family would like this, too.

    5. This looks so delicious, I know my kids would love to see this for dinner.

    6. This looks beyond delicious. The addition of the chicken sounds amazing.

    7. Almost looks like the pasta my mum use to make for us when we were kids but without the chicken. A filling and healthy dish.