Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

SoupIndianChicken SoupCurry

Chicken Mulligatawny curry soup! So EASY to make and absolutely delicious, you will want to make over and over again.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Mulligatawny Soup

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 Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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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More mulligatawny trivia. According to food historian Janet Clarkson in her book, Soup a Global History, William Kitchiner had this to say about the dish: "It is a fashionable soup, and a great favourite with our East Indian friends, and we give the best receipt we could procure for it... the more familiar name of curry soup would, perhaps not have had sufficient of the charms of novelty to seduce him from his much loved mock turtle."

 

Links:

Chicken Noodle Soup here on Simply Recipes

Vegetarian Mulligatawny from Karina, the Gluten-free Goddess

Curried Turkey Soup, a Mulligatawny made with leftover turkey, here on Simply Recipes

Mulligatawny Soup

Showing 4 of 65 Comments / Reviews

  • Dj

    Easy. This was delicious. Next time I would add only one apple—just my preference.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Karen

    I finally found a curry powder I love, so had to try this recipe. Easy and oh so delicious. I went to grab the rice and found I only had brown basmati left to use. Added it when I added the chicken and it cooked perfectly. Even the picky eater really enjoyed! Thank you for posting it!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • L. James

    Made this tonite, wonderful! I never knew that I could enjoy curry so much, I just found your website and love it,
    I also used 2 bone in chicken breasts, simmered them in the liquid, and sauté the veggies while the chicken was simmering , otherwise followed the recipe, I did not want the veggies to become too soft, and
    Strained the broth before adding it to the veggies.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Janice

    Not tried it yet would like to know how the lady got on doing it in the slow cooker

  • Ms. Meems

    What a glorious soup! So satisfying and homey. Have made a few times with bone-in thighs and different curry powders. Our favorite used a curry powder with coconut and extra chilies. Also cook rice separately or use leftovers added at the last minute to preserve as much of that sublime broth as possible. If time allows, make and chill for several hours or overnight so flavors bloom–add rice right before serving. Have also made Elise’s Cooked Turkey Mulligatawny with a rotisserie chicken…wonderful too! Both soups were hoovered up at our home. Thanks for the terrific recipes, Elise!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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