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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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.

More from Elise

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

71 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Mulligatawny Soup

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Maya

    I made this soup in a pressure cooker and it was soo good .. just beautiful taste and so easy to make . I was wondering if anyone tried it without the rice ?

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Amanda

    Delicious. Good depth of flavor. The apples and the curry together is an extraordinary combination. I added the tiniest habenero and it just added a slight bit of background heat.
    I cooked everything together for about an hour before finally adding the cream.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kathy

    This looks great. My question is. Besides the little bit of cream at the end. Only 2 cups of stock and 2 cups of water does not seem like enough liquid for all of the ingredients.

  • Rich Land

    Fantastic recipe! Made it last night and my wife and I just kept commenting on how easy it was to make for a dish so delicious! I followed the recipe as written. We also liked the “mullligatawny trivia” – it added a fun perspective. Many thanks! Up next: Hank Shaw’s recipe for Shrimp and Grits! Your weekly meal planners are so helpful.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Dj

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

    xxxxxyyyyy

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