Over the years I’ve had many different variations of Mulligatawny. I’ve had chicken, lamb, and even vegetarian versions. Some chunky with large pieces of vegetables, some pureed until velvety smooth…some sweet with apple, some spicy with jalapeno. I’ve had some versions that are heartier than others, with red lentils, split yellow peas, or rice to thicken them. I can’t speak for their authenticity, but I can say that every bowl of Mulligatawny I’ve ever had has been delicious.
This batch came out fantastic, but if I had a jalapeno and a couple of tomatoes on hand I surely would have added them to the mix. Along with maybe a little bit of red lentils, since I really like the body they lend to soups. I sautéed the veggies this time, but sometimes I roast them for an even deeper flavor. Also, I completely pureed this batch so it would have a smooth, creamy texture, but that’s only because that’s what struck my fancy on the day I made it…this soup is just as amazing with the rustic pieces of veggies left whole.
(Yield: Serves 6-8 as a first course or 4 as a main served with basmati rice or Indian bread)
3 c chicken stock
12 to 16 oz (¾ to 1 lb) chicken breast, cubed
2 TB olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium (8-12 oz) yellow summer squash, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cardamom pods, crushed and outer pods removed
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon each coriander and cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper (or more or less to taste)
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
2 TB lemon juice (or more to taste)
Fresh minced parsley or cilantro (for garnish)
In a 3 quart pot, bring chicken stock up to a boil; add chicken and simmer until fully cooked (no longer pink), about 5-8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken and set aside. Carefully pour chicken stock into a separate bowl and set aside.
Add oil to the pot that you poached the chicken in and heat over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, summer squash, and garlic and cook (stirring occasionally) until veggies are starting to soften (about 7-10 minutes). Add cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne and sauté 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. Transfer the soup back to the pot and add chicken, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Warm the soup over low heat until heated throughout. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and serve garnished with fresh minced parsley or cilantro.