Have you ever had mulligatawny? Best soup ever! It’s basically a curry soup, most often made with chicken, vegetables, apples, and rice. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it’s the perfect example of how one culture acquires food from another, and adapts it to their own taste.
Mulligatawny is the ultimate “fusion” food, invented centuries before anyone would even know what that meant. It hails from the early days of the British Raj in India.
According to Lizzie Collingham in A Tale of Cooks & Conquerors, the colonialists, wanting a first course for their dinner, requested of their Indian cooks to make them soup. The cooks obliged with what most approximated soup in their repertoire, a light tonic broth made with peppers, tamarind, and water (“molo tunny” in Tamil), dressed up with some vegetables and meat.
Over the centuries the soup evolved to what we know today—a creamy curry chicken soup with apples, rice, and vegetables. It’s a simple, wholesome soup, and a classic in Anglo-Indian cuisine.
Chicken Mulligatawny Soup RecipePrint
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- 1 1/4 pound (570 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat
- 2 cups (475 ml) chicken stock
- 2 cups (475 ml) water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon sea salt)
- 1/4 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 2 tart apples, cored, peeled, and chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 (60 ml) cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain yogurt for garnish
- 1 Tbsp minced chives for garnish
1 Sauté onions, celery, carrots in olive oil and butter, add bay leaves, curry powder: Heat butter and olive oil on medium high heat in a large (4 to 5 quart), thick-bottomed pot. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the bay leaves. Add the curry powder and mix to coat.
2 Add chicken, stock, salt: Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat with the curry mixture. Add the stock and water to the pot. Add the salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
3 Remove chicken, let cool to touch: Remove the chicken pieces from the pot. (They should be just cooked through. If not, return them to the pot for another 5 minutes or so, until they are cooked through.) Place on a cutting board and allow to cool to the touch.
4 Add rice, apples: Add the rice and the chopped apples to the soup. Return to a simmer on high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.
5 Shred the chicken, return to soup, add cream: While the apples and rice are cooking in the soup, shred the chicken, discarding any tough bits. Once the rice and apples in the soup are cooked, add the chicken back to the pot. Heat for 5 minutes more. Then stir in the cream.
Serve with yogurt and chives.
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