Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Month of Soups: Mulligatawny Soup

I love the unexpected in soups. The apple in this one is very nice. This is, at essence, at chicken and rice soup with exotic flavors from spices. According to Wikipedia, “mulligatawny” is an Anglo-Indian soup whose name comes from the spices included; it means “pepper water”. But who would ever eat “Pepper Water Soup”? “Muligatawny” just sounds cooler!

The word also is that this is not really an Indian soup, but rather, the English modified a spicy lentil and pea soup to create this. Some versions of the recipe include rice, some include lentils, some have both. Feel free to adapt my recipe to fit your tastes. I certainly do all the time. Count how many times I add a cinnamon stick to layer the flavors! And there’s always garlic. The spices give an oriental flair to this soup.

You can buy coconut milk canned. But, it is easy to make your own. Go to and you’ll find a quick and easy recipe that works well in this soup and other dishes requiring coconut milk.

Mulligatawny Soup (serves 8)

2 T olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 leek, diced

2 large carrots, cut into coins

2 ribs celery, cut into bite-size chunks

2 tart apples, skin-on, diced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 large knob of fresh ginger, grated (or 1 T ginger powder)

3# chicken pieces, skin-on; all thighs and legs, or add in a breast half.

8 c chicken and/or turkey broth, divided

2 bay leaves

1 T garam masala

2 T curry powder

1 cinnamon stick

1 T whole cloves

1 T turmeric

2 cups cooked rice (Basmati is the most often used in Mulligatawny)

½ c coconut milk, + ¼ c

cilantro, shredded, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat oil in large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven. Over medium heat, sauté onion, leek, carrots, celery, and apples. Add garlic and ginger when onion is translucent. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continually. Remove vegetable mixture from pan and set aside.

Add chicken pieces to pot and brown on all sides. Put into oven and roast covered for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool. Turn heat to 275°.

While chicken is cooling, puree veggie mixture with a little broth. Leave a few chunks for texture. Put remaining broth in pan. Add veggie mixture to the broth. Add bay leaf other spices. Stir to blend. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for 20 minutes.

While broth is heating, remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Shred the chicken and discard the bones. Add chicken meat to the broth mixture. Add rice and stir well. Put pan in oven for 30 minutes, covered.

Remove from oven. Remove bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Add in ½ cup coconut milk. Blend in thoroughly and serve immediately with a drizzle of coconut milk on top and a sprinkle of shredded cilantro leaves.

Mulligatawny is even better when served with traditional naan bread. Delicious for sopping up the bottom of the bowl.

DH’s Rating: 4.5 Tongues Up. “Really good. What are those chunks in there?” Better he not know about the apples.

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