Chicken soup with an Indian curry twist! My Mulligatawny features chicken, coconut milk, apple, vegetables and rice, for a hearty, warming soup.
When the weather gets cooler, there is nothing like a bit pot of Mulligatawny Soup to warm you up. It’s definitely a soul-soothing soup and particularly suited for Fall, with the addition of a little apple.
There are a lot of variations of Mulligatawny soup, some with chicken or beef and vegetables or others with just vegetables. Some have rice. Others use lentils. They all share the wonderful warming flavours of coconut milk and curry.
I’ve gone with a chicken Mulligatawny Soup here, that starts with a classic onion, carrot and celery mixture. That’s combined with a bit of rice and some quick-cooked chicken pieces (or use leftover chicken, if you have it!). Added to the broth is a bit of shredded apple, coconut milk and curry paste, for a lightly creamy, flavourful soup. To finish off the soup, garnish with a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro.
Mulligatawny. Fun to say. Easy to make. Delicious to eat!
The lovely thing about Mulligatawny Soup is that, like a classic Indian curry, it’s so adaptable to a adding a wide variety of vegetables, swapping out the rice for lentils or skipping the chicken and making a vegetarian version that is still wonderfully hearty.
Ingredient Notes for Chicken Mulligatawny Soup
Chicken: You can use boneless chicken breast or chicken thighs here. I most often use chicken breast, myself. Alternately, if you have leftover cooked chicken, you can skip the chicken cooking stage. Meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken would also work.
Curry Paste: I love Madras Curry Paste for this soup. I find it a bit more complex in its flavour, than curry powder. I use Patak’s™ brand myself, which is easily found in the with Indian curry pastes and sauces at most grocery stores.
If you’d like to use a curry powder instead, the amount needed will vary, but as a general rule, substitute about 1 teaspoon of curry powder for 1 Tablespoon of curry paste.
You don’t want to use Thai curry pastes here, as the flavour profile is different.
Ginger: I’m a big fan of ginger paste and I always have a tube in my fridge. If you don’t, substitute ginger powder (just needs a bit) or fresh grated ginger.
Rice: I use basmati rice. You can use white or brown. A long-grain rice would work as well. As noted above, an alternative to rice in this soup would be red split lentils.
Apple: Any apple is fine here. I shred the peeled apple with a box grater.
Cilantro: Hate cilantro? Feel free to skip it or substitute some parsley, for colour.
Coconut Milk: You can use regular or “lite” coconut milk. The lite version will make a slightly less creamy soup.
The 2/3 cup measurement is exactly equal the the mini (160ml) cans of coconut milk that are available from Thai Kitchen™, so if you have one of those you just add the whole can. If starting with a regular sized can of coconut milk, you’ll want to empty it out into a bowl and stir well before measuring out the 2/3 cup needed for the soup.
Top Tip! Coconut milk freezes well, so if you have only used part of a can, pour the remainder into a zipper-type plastic bag and freeze. I like to grab my sharpie and label the bag with the contents and approximate amount before adding to the bag, because even though you’re sure that you’ll know what it is later, my experience is not so much :)
Cook’s Notes for Chicken Mulligatawny Soup
This soup is a wonderful use for leftover cooked chicken or make use of a store-bought rotisserie chicken, if you like.
The spiciness of this soup is completely within your control, depending on how much curry paste you add. I find one level tablespoon of Madras curry paste just about perfect. Add a heaping tablespoon for more spice or a scant tablespoon for less spice.
If using anything other than Madras curry paste, the amount you need to add will vary. Start small (1 tsp) and add as you go, until you reach the spice level you want.
Leftover soup will thicken as it sits in the fridge, as the rice will soak up some of the broth. You can thin it if you like with a bit more broth, but I prefer just to enjoy it in it’s more stew-like state myself.
Make it Vegetarian! Skip the chicken and swap in vegetable broth for the chicken broth. For added goodness, swap out the rice for red split lentils and add some extra veg, such as green beans, cauliflower and/or broccoli.
If using lentils and/or additional vegetables, simply simmer in the broth (before adding coconut milk), until the lentils and/or vegetables are tender, however long that takes, then proceed to add the coconut milk etc.
More Soup Recipes You Might Like …
Chicken Mulligatawny Soup
For cooking the chicken:
- 1 tsp butter or ghee
- 2 cups chicken uncooked, cut into bite-sized pieces
For the base soup:
- 1 tsp butter or ghee
- 1/4 cup celery finely diced
- 1 1/4 cups carrot diced
- 1/2 cup onion finely diced
- 1 tsp ginger paste or 1/8 tsp ginger powder or 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp Madras curry paste *see notes
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup apple peeled and shredded
- 1/4 cup basmati rice
To finish the soup:
- 1/4 cup cilantro fresh, chopped
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Additional cilantro chopped
- Drizzle of coconut milk if desired
- Heat 1 tsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until cooked through. Remove from pot to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat another tsp of butter in the same soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring until onions are softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add ginger and curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, shredded apple and rice. Return the cooked chicken to the pot and stir in.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the carrots are tender (taste test the carrots, to be sure).
- Stir in the cilantro and coconut milk and stir/warm for a few more minutes. Taste soup and add salt and pepper, as needed (You'll probably need some). If you feel you'd like a bit more curry, stir in a touch more of the curry paste now, as well.
- Serve warm, garnished with additional chopped cilantro and a drizzle of coconut milk, if you like.