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Mulligatawny Soup

The best chicken soup ever, Mulligatawny soup is a British-Indian fusion of bold and delightful curry spices in a rich and creamy coconut milk soup base. Packed with curried chicken and rice, it’s a meal-worthy soup that the family will love! This post has been updated with new photos and a streamlined, better-than-ever recipe.

Mulligatawny soup in a bowl

Meet my favorite chicken soup in the entire world. Yes, the tippity-top pick. The chicken soup I would pick if forced to chose just one to eat for the rest of my life.

This is the one: Mulligatawny soup. If you’ve never had it before, be prepared to have your soup world rocked.

A soup with a sketchy and largely unconfirmed history, mulligatawny is pure comfort food, full of flavor, both exotic and familiar at the same time. Literally “pepper water,” mulligatawny is sometimes credited to Indian cuisine, but more likely was created by the Brits, who love curries more than meat pies, bless their little stringy-meat lovin’ hearts.

Ingredients for mulligatawny soup

The spices called for are readily available in American grocery stores, and if you’re a DIY spice blend maker like I am, try my homemade garam masala. It’s da bomb, and flavors up mulligatawny soup beautifully — no heat, just boldly spiced.

Steps to prepare mulligatawny soup

I can’t even remember the last time I made regular chicken soup.

Two bowls of mulligatawny soup

Oh, and mulligatawny soup not only keeps well, but it tastes even better after an overnight stay in the refrigerator. Double the recipe and freeze some for those snowy days ahead when you need a warm soup hug now.

Karen xo

Mulligatawny Soup Recipe
Print Recipe
4.93 from 13 votes

Mulligatawny Soup

This classic spiced chicken soup is a winter favorite — so tasty, gently spiced and ultra comforting.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: British
Keyword: mulligatawny soup
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Calories: 362kcal
Author: Karen Gibson

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast or thighs, your choice, sliced into short, thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour

For the soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, divided usage
  • 1 small/medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (mild or hot, your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 sweet-tart apple (such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, peeled)
  • 14 ounce can coconut milk, well shaken
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 4-5 qt stock pot or dutch oven over medium until shimmering.
  • Toss chicken pieces with the seasonings and flour and add to pot. Brown chicken on all sides — cooking through completely — and remove to a plate or bowl and set aside.
  • Add another 1 tablespoon oil to pot (still on medium heat). When shimmering, add onions, celery and carrots. Saute until soft. Add garlic and saute, stirring until fragrant (just a minute or so).
  • Push the vegetables to one side, and add the remaining tablespoon of oil in the bare spot, heating briefly. Sprinkle the garam masala, curry powder, flour and a generous pinch of salt over the oil and stir to form a fragrant paste, then mix in with the vegetables, cooking briefly to bloom the spices. Add a small amount of the chicken stock and stir to smooth out any lumps formed by the roux.
  • Tip the remaining chicken stock into the pot and turn heat to medium-high. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, add the rice, and reduce heat back to medium-low. Partially cover the pot and to cook for 15 minutes. Grate the apple directly over the soup (to catch all the juices, too) and stir in the reserved chicken. Cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and add salt as necessary.
  • Turn heat to low and add coconut milk, stirring to mix thoroughly. Let heat through, and do one final tasting, adding salt and pepper to suit.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 362kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

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Recipe Rating




Linda

Thursday 17th of September 2020

I am a little confused about the directions. It states to coat the chicken pieces with the flour and seasonings and brown the chicken. Farther down it directs you to add the flour and spices to the pot to form a paste.

Can you clear up my confusion? Thanks.

SoupAddict

Thursday 17th of September 2020

It's two separate processes: first the chicken is seasoned (including with flour) and browned; and then other flour and seasonings are added to the soup pot to begin the soup cooking part of the recipe. It all creates a thick, hearty texture for the soup.

Tahliah

Sunday 19th of July 2020

Hi just wondering if you have a recipe for the curry powder? Or can recommend a brand?

SoupAddict

Thursday 23rd of July 2020

I don't have a recipe for a nice curry blend, but, if you're in the US, I recommend Penzey's Spices. They have several curry variations -- and I can't remember off the top of my head which one I have -- but they have high-quality spices with great flavor.

garby

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

I really like this recipe. You are right that the apple makes it, even though the soup is delicious without it. I know this recipe was published a while ago, but I have a tip for people who may want to save some for leftovers. I like to cook the rice on its own and add it to the soup one bowl at a time. Otherwise I had issues with the rice expanding too much and zapping the liquid from the soup. That said, I use jasmine rice (don’t care for brown). If using brown rice as the original recipe calls for, you might not have the same problem.

Sarah

Friday 23rd of November 2018

I found this soup on Pinterest the other week and OMG, it's just about the best thing I've ever had. You know it's a hit when the kids eat it down to the bottom of the bowl without complaining about something!

Annie

Monday 4th of April 2016

Just made this for an Indian-themed dinner party. I have to say, this is spectacular soup and my new favorite! The amount of spice is spot on, not too powerful but full of flavor. I hope my guests enjoy it as much as I do. Several of them are a little afraid of curry (must have had bad past experiences.) I think this is a great way to introduce someone to Indian food, especially if they assume it's all hot and spicy. Thank you for an awesome recipe!

SoupAddict

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

Ooo, I hope the dinner party is a success! This soup is an example of why I love curry so much - I'm not a big fan of spicy heat, either, but the flavors of the herbs and spices are so full and rich, you can't help but fall in love the flavors. I'd love to if you made some Indian food converts. :)