Exquisitely flavorful MULLIGATAWNY SOUP is a melting pot of different spicy and rich taste profiles married in one fine dish. This Southern Indian dish radiates with vibrant colors matched with powerful ingredients balanced with the mildness of the stock. A one-pot chicken and rice soup that is definitely a gastronomical experience.
I am a total fan of spicy food; I mean wooh! Just thinking about spicy dishes makes my mouth water.
One of the dishes that struck me the most is the mulligatawny soup from southern India. The version that I created uses simple ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store.
Today, I’ll show you how you can make one at home!
What is Mulligatawny Soup?
Mulligatawny is a southern Indian dish that is basically curried soup made with pepper. The name was derived from a southern Indian language which translates to “pepper water. It’s great that the traditional recipe was recorded in cookbooks so we can really grasp the original taste. Nowadays, Mulligatawny soup doesn’t really resemble the original recipe.
The popularity of this dish skyrocketed when the British brought the recipe to the west. A lot of variations of this dish were created because of this.
The western taste profile heavily influenced a lot of mulligatawny soup variations. Personally, I think it’s a good thing that the recipe adapted to a new audience but I also value authenticity.
What makes Mulligatawny Soup?
The original recipe was made from pepper broth which means pepper is a key ingredient to any version of Mulligatawny. This recipe is as vibrant in flavors as it is in colors from the combination of different spices. Don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients for this dish, I’ll simplify the list for you below.
We already know that pepper would play a great part in bringing the dish to life. Now, let’s talk about the other important spices such as cumin, garlic, cayenne pepper, and curry powder. The combination of these ingredients gives a hot sensation that will definitely linger in your mouth.
I love how these spices marry together all the taste profiles of the other ingredients. You might think that this might come off as too strong. Don’t worry, the other ingredients will do the trick.
Meat and Fat
When I say meat, I don’t just mean protein meat. This mulligatawny soup is loaded with chicken thigh goodness as well as the sweetness of chopped apples.
You can choose between olive oil or unflavored canola oil. There will be a difference in taste but it will only be evident with the chicken. Frankly, either tastes great. Lastly, everything tastes better with butter.
The greens that I used for this recipe are mainly Onion, Celery, and Carrots. The veggies release a natural sweetness when subject to heat so this adds balance to the strong flavors above.
Any great dish will have a balance in flavors which the Basmati Rice brings. The plain and fluffy rice gives a great texture to the soup as a whole.
The meat used makes the broth or stock for this recipe, I used chicken stock for this recipe. An addition of Coconut milk makes the whole consistency thicker and more flavorful. You can adjust this by adding water which also cooks the rice.
Soup Recipe Variations
If you want a meatier Mulligatawny soup, you can change the chicken to beef. This will give you a richer meaty taste but remember to change the stock as well. The stock must complement the meat used. This also works for other meats such as seafood and lamb.
Don’t eat meat? No problem! You can easily switch the chicken to red lentils, and the broth with veggie stock. Switch the butter with ghee or vegan butter to retain that soft richness. I honestly think this is a great recipe especially when you want to start a vegan diet but you love spicy food.
Coconut Milk Substitute
Greek yogurt is a good substitute for coconut milk in curry dishes. It gets the right consistency with only a few changes in the flavor. You can also try to use sour cream as it beautifully blends in with the dish through the lime juice.
This Mulligatawny soup also goes well with almond, soy, or oat milk which are great for a vegan variety.
Can you freeze Mulligatawny Soup?
Yes, you can. Simply let it cool down to room temperature and seal it in a freezer-safe bag or an airtight container. This would last for about a week or so because of the cream or milk in it.
However, you can extend the shelf life of this dish by holding the cream. Make the soup up until you’re about to add the milk or cream. The frozen soup should last for about 2-3 months. Add the cream or milk when you reheat this dish and you’re good to go.
What to serve with Mulligatawny Soup?
You can even add homemade ricotta cheese. One pairing I find totally amazing is with fried plantains. The sweetness of the treats goes well with the powerful flavors and creaminess of the soup.
More Soup Recipes
Looking for other soup recipes to warm your belly? Go ahead and check these out.
How to Make Mulligatawny Soup
Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel. Take out excess fat from chicken. Slice chicken into strips. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add cumin, garlic, and curry powder. Thoroughly mix and set aside, until ready to use. Place a 12-inch non-stick cast iron or skillet over medium-high heat, then add oil. When oil sizzles, add chicken to the pan in a single layer and brown both sides; about 3-4 minutes per side. You may do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
Add butter or oil, as soon as butter melts add onions, bay leaves, garlic, curry, and cumin spice. Sauté for 3 minutes. Throw in celery and carrots, continue cooking for 2 more minutes Stir in chicken stock or water, cook for about 1 minute.
Return chicken back to the pot together with coconut milk, rice, and apples. Bring the pot of soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Season with cayenne pepper. Then add lime juice. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley or cilantro Serve with flatbread, crusty bread, or rice.
Watch How To Make It
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- 1 ½ pound (about 4-5) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat
- 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
- ½ teaspoon (1g) ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon (1.5g) cumin
- ½ teaspoon (2.5g) minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon (1g) curry powder
- 1 tablespoon (14ml) olive or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons (28g) butter
- 1 large onion , chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 teaspoons (10g-15g) minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon (6.39g) curry powder
- ½ teaspoon (1.5g) ground cumin
- 2 ribs celery , chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 carrots , chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cups (480ml) chicken stock
- 1 cup (237ml) water
- 1 can coconut milk , (sub with 1¾ cup of homemade coconut milk)
- ⅓ cup (61.67g) uncooked basmati rice
- 1-2 apples , cored, peeled, and chopped
- ½ teaspoon (1g) cayenne pepper
- juice from lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
- Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel. Take out excess fat from chicken. Slice chicken into strips. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add cumin, garlic, and curry powder. Thoroughly mix and set aside, until ready to use.
- Place a 12-inch non-stick cast iron or skillet over medium-high heat, then add oil. When oil sizzles, add chicken to the pan in a single layer and brown both sides; about 3-4 minutes per side. You may do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
- Add butter or oil, as soon as butter melts add onions, bay leaves, garlic, curry, and cumin spice. Sauté for 3 minutes.
- Throw in celery and carrots, continue cooking for 2 more minutes.
- Stir in chicken stock or water, cook for about 1 minute.
- Return chicken back to the pot together with coconut milk, rice, and apples.
- Bring the pot of soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.
- Partially cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Season with cayenne pepper. Then add lime juice.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.
- Serve with flat bread, crusty bread, or rice.
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.