Mulligatawny Soup


This creamy chicken soup with a hint of curry orginated in 18th century colonial India. Many variations exist, including vegetarian versions. Some versions are based on a clear broth, others can be as thick as a stew. This version in in between. The mild curry flavor comes from the spice mixture called garam masala. Garam masala is a blend of familiar spices including cinnamon, cumin, cardamon, nutmeg and black pepper and is available these days in the spice section of most major supermarkets.

The recipe can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth and cooked lentils for the cubed chicken.

4 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
2 cups cooked basmati rice
Lemon wedges for garnish

Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add garam masala and next 4 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add chicken broth. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Stir in chicken, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide rice among bowls. Pour soup over. Garnish with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.

(Fun fact..this was the soup made famous in the “Soup Nazi” episode of the old Seinfeld Show)

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  1. I’ve been looking for a good Mulligatawny Soup recipe. Some I’ve seen use apples and curry. I was surprised yours doesn’t have any curry but I think that using the Garam Masala would be perfect for those that aren’t curry lovers. Just a hint is sometimes just enough.

    I think I’ll try this and may even go ahead and add the apples to it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. a delight Kathy, think I will make mine on the thicker side…

  3. Had to take a look – this is a soup from my childhood though I haven’t had it in a very long while. Your version is pretty close to my grandmother’s though hers was thinner and spicier. I know this will taste great!

  4. Looks very delicious and healthy. I love the addition of coconut milk. I can imagine the beautiful flavour. I love coconut n cooking and baking.

  5. Mmmm the soup looks so creamy and delicious!

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