How to cook a South Russian chestnut soup (RECIPE)

Follow our recipe for this impossible to pronounce Caucasian region soup  - “Shkhomchkhanthups”.

Follow our recipe for this impossible to pronounce Caucasian region soup - “Shkhomchkhanthups”.

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Did you know that the French are not the only ones who make chestnut soup? Welcome to the Adygean vegetarian first course - the Shkhomchkhanthups!

By the end of spring, the flowers of edible chestnuts - ‘white candles’ – bloom on the picturesque charming streets of Mayko, the capital of the Adygea Republic. For many people, Adygea is a quiet backwater in the middle of nowhere. That’s partially true since it has idyllic features such as unspoilt countryside with rocky mountains in the distance. 

The healthy and beneficial properties of chestnuts have been known for a long time. Chestnuts are rich in vitamins E, C, B12, and lots of minerals. All in all, they are simply delicious. 

Of course, everyone knows that chestnuts are the pride of French cuisine. However, not only! All year round in the sunny Republic of Adygea, a spicy chestnut soup with the unusual and difficult to pronounce name, Shkhomchanthups, is generously prepared. Despite the terrifying set of syllables, it is cooked easily and quickly.

Spices and seasonings are an important component of Adyghe cuisine. If they fry chicken (chatlibzh) or twist cheese rolls, then it is necessary to add coriander. If they make a kind of sausage (necutl), then they prepare it with red pepper. 

The most favorite local spice, however, is garlic salt. Multicolored, with the addition of dill, coriander, chaman, jata, savory and other herbs, it can be found on every table. If you don’t have one, then substitute it with separate ingredients – at least garlic and salt.

Your tongue will be tied in knots when you try to pronounce the name of this recipe for the first time - Shkhomchkhanthups. Don’t worry, I had the same experience. But when I found out what it was, I was eager to cook it. It turns out to be a very tasty soup, especially if you prepare it with traditional Adyghe tortillas. 

Ingredients for 6 portions of soup:

  • White beans - 80-100 g 
  • Chestnuts - 300 g
  • Onion - 1 pc
  • Garlic clove - 1 pc
  • A pinch of dill
  • Adyghe salt, or just sea salt - 1 tsp with a slide 
  • Spices and herbs to your own taste


1. Rinse the beans, soak in cold water for a couple of hours, then boil them in the same water until half-cooked. 

2. Cut onions into small cubes, and do the same with garlic.

3. Stew the chopped onion on a frying pan for a couple of minutes.

4. Peel chestnuts from the upper skin and boil for a few minutes. Take them out to remove the second skin, cool and chop. 

5. Add the fried onion to the saucepan with the beans, gradually add the chestnuts and salt.

6. Boil for 10-15 more minutes. In the end, sprinkle the soup with herbs (cilantro) to your taste.

7. Enjoy your meal!

READ MORE: A gateway to Ural cuisine with Russian posikunchiki (RECIPE)

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