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September 27, 2010

Recipe for mulligatawny soup with chicken


In the days of the Raj, when the British ruled India in the 19th Century, their Tamil servants would cook a stew with curry spices and coconut milk, sometimes vegetarian, sometimes with chicken. And when the British returned home, they brought with them a version of that stew that became mulligatawny. There are dozens of recipes for this hearty soup. The name means "pepper water", though the soup need not be made particularly hot; you can use a sweet curry powder in place of the hot curry I love. Garnish with peanuts, raisins and apple -- traditional embellishments for a main dish curry -- and you'll really have a meal in a bowl.

Mulligatawny soup with chicken

Adapted from Soups and Stews by Sandra Rudloff, this recipe serves 4.


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp hot curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of ground cloves
1 cup diced carrots
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup cooked long-grain or basmati rice
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
For garnish: 1/4 cup each of chopped peanuts, raisins, and diced apple


Cut the chicken into small dice. In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is white and not yet starting to brown. Add the onion and garlic, and continue to cook until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown.

Stir in the curry powder, ginger and cloves, along with the carrots. Cook for 1 minute, until the spices are fragrant. Pour in the chicken stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

Uncover the pot and add the cooked rice to the soup. Heat for 2 minutes, making sure to break up any clumps of rice. Stir in the coconut milk, and serve immediately, garnished with your choice of peanuts, raisins and apples (I use all three!).

Print recipe only.


Posted by: Christine | September 28, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Now I know why I just stocked up on coconut milk at the market today. Beautiful soup, and nice backstory.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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