Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

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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.

How to Make Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

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

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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102 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Carly

    Does this soup store in the fridge well?! I have an event and I was hoping to make it 4 days in advance. Any advice?! Thx.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Cat

    Can this soup be frozen?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Eleni

    Delicious change of pace! Thanks for a great recipe my mother & I really like.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. WENDY

    Can you omit cream or substitute? and use less curry so not too spicy without losing flavor?

  5. daryl

    …first time making this exact recipe, and apparently i knocked it outta the park…i gave a couple bowls to people at work,and now i have to make it again for work tomorrow

    xxxxxyyyyy

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