If you like mulligatawny soup, or even if you don’t like it that much, or you’ve never tried it, you have to try this recipe. This is the best mulligatawny soup recipe out there. Period. I adapted it with some changes from allrecipes.com. I think those slight changes only made it better, if that’s even possible. It’s that good!
Being a Seinfeld fan I’ve known about mulligatawny soup for a long while… Right, I learned about it from ‘The Soup Nazi’ episode, like millions of others I suppose. Remember the dialogue between Kramer and Elaine?
ELAINE: Do you need anything?
KRAMER: Well, a bowl of mulligatawny would hit the spot.
KRAMER: Yeah. It’s an Indian soup. It’s simmered to perfection by one of the great soup artisans in the modern era.
Contrary to what I learned from the show and what stuck with me for years, mulligatawny is not an Indian soup. It’s a purely English soup made after an Indian recipe. The name roughly translates from Tamil as ‘pepper water’. The original Indian recipe is not even a soup, it’s a sauce that is served with rice.
According to Wikipedia, the original version of mulligatawny soup recipe consisted of a broth from lentils, fried onions and curry powder. Today it typically describes a thickened soup that is strongly spiced with curry powder and nutmeg. Often you will also see vegetables, nuts and rice added. Some recipes make use of port wine.
So, this incredibly delicious soup is a Western invention, but it comes with wonderful Indian flavors. This is one of my two most favorite soup recipes. The other one is Ukrainian borscht with Ukrainian garlic rolls.
At the local spice store I can buy freshly prepared mild, medium and hot curry powder. I prefer mild hands down. Just my personal preference. If you like your soup spicier, substitute mild curry powder for medium or hot.
An even better alternative would be to make your own curry powder to suit your own taste.
I’ve used chicken breast, chicken thighs and beef meat in this recipe. The winner for me is beef. Followed closely by chicken thighs. Then followed by chicken breast. Chicken breast is good and is an excellent option for calorie conscious people. However, chicken thighs definitely add a lot of flavor and taste juicier. Good quality stewing beef or beef chuck is an excellent option as well. If you are using chicken thighs or beef, you can brown them about 1 minute per side over high heat. Browning chicken breast is a bad idea as it will become dry and rubbery later on, based on my experiments.
Vegetarian mulligatawny soup version
For the vegetarian option, instead of using meat, try adding sauteed oyster or other mushrooms with some onions toward the end of cooking. Satisfaction guaranteed! Don’t forget to substitute butter for olive oil and use vegetable broth.
Based on my research, it’s customary to add heavy cream to mulligatawny soup when serving, but I think the cream takes away from the depth of flavors in this amazing soup. My family loves it with the cream added though. I personally don’t. You decide for yourself.
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch cubes
- - or 2 chicken breasts
- - or about 1 lb beef chuck or stewing beef (stewed to full doneness prior as it takes longer to cook than chicken)
- - or 3 cups sauteed mushrooms
- ½ cup yellow onions, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 1 leek, thinly sliced (white part only)
- Half a stick / 56 g butter
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp mild curry powder (or medium / hot for more burn in your mouth)
- 5 cups chicken broth
- ½ apple, cored and finely chopped
- ¼ cup white rice
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup heavy cream, heated (optional)
- Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
- Saute onions, celery, leek, carrots, and butter in a large pot over medium heat until they start to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the flour and the curry, and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Add the apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is done.
- When serving, add heated cream (optionally) and chopped fresh parsley.