Chanka de Pollo (Bolivian Chicken Soup with a Touch of Incan Legend)

Hi everyone. Chanka is a nice strongly flavored chicken soup with potatoes, beans, and green onions. It's a great dinner for a cold night. Below the recipe, I'll tell you where the word "chanka" comes from. You'll need:

Several large pieces of chicken breast, skinless
1 cup of habas (broad beans or butter beans)
3-4 large potatoes, whole, peeled
2 tablespoons of chopped green onions (heads and tails)
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon of butter
Some people add
Salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the head of the onion and the tail separately. In about 1 quart of water, boil the chicken with the chopped onion head for about 20 minutes. While you are waiting, wash and peel the potatoes and boil the broad beans separately (if you can't find any, use peas) for about 1/2 an hour with some salt.

When the chicken is half cooked, add the potatoes, whole.

Meanwhile, in a little pan on very low flame, melt the butter and stir in the chopped green onion and parsley and continue stirring for about 2 minutes.

Remove the broad beans (or peas) from their pot and strain the water from them. Add the broad beans, and the green onions and parsely to the soup. Serve hot.

This soup should be thick, not a thin broth. If you've used too much water, strain a little off before adding the beans, onions and parsely. Or you can take the potatoes out and cut them into cubes, then add them back in. Their starch will thicken the soup as they cook and soften.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.


The Chanka were a tribe that inhabited an area of Peru near Cuzco (North of it). In the 1400's they invaded the Incas, who at the time were just another tribe, causing the Incan Emperor Viracocha to escape the city alongside his first-born son and heir to the throne. They left behind a small group of warriors to defend their city, led by another of Viracocha's younger sons, Inca Yupanqui (known as Pachacutec before he began his reign). They were few and nearly defeated, but legend has it that the stones of Cuzco themselves seemed to come to life. They rose up from the ground and hurled themselves at the Chanka attackers helping Inca Yupanqui defeat the Chanka despite the odds.

Inca Yupanqui, despite not being the heir to the throne, took over the throne and began what would become a long series of Incan invasions and conquests of other civilizations that inhabited the Altiplano. He began near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and after several years his son Túpac Yupanqui was put in charge of further invasions, extending up into Ecuador. During his 33 years of reign, the Incans, who until then had been just another small tribe in the Andes, invaded and took over control of the entire Andes Mountain Chain, an area covering over 3000 miles covering Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and parts of Bolivia. Until the Spanish arrived, the Incas were the true "conquistadors" and "colonizers" of Western South America.

Legend also has it that Inca Yupanqui used the rocks that helped him defeat the Chanka to build the great fortresses of Sacsaywaman, Ollantaytambo, and Macchu Picchu and ordered all Incans and their enslaved subjects to worship at these places in honor and gratitude to the stones that had helped him defeat the Chankas.

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