Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can’t eat this soup standing up – your knees buckle!

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!If you’re a Seinfeld fan, then you’re certainly familiar with the Soup Nazi.  Heck, even if you aren’t a Seinfeld fan, I would venture to guess that you are familiar with the Soup Nazi.  The Soup Nazi ran a popular soup shop in NYC, and he made his customers follow a very strict set of rules in order to purchase a bowl of his soup.  If they didn’t follow the rules?  “No soup for you!”

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!The funny thing about the Soup Nazi is he is a relatively small character in the overall timeline of the show.  There are 180 episodes of Seinfeld over it’s 9-year run, and the Soup Nazi only appears in 2 episodes.  Nevertheless, his name is forever linked with the show.

In one episode, Elaine asks Kramer if he needs anything.  Kramer responds that a good bowl of Mulligatawny Soup from the Soup Nazi would hit the spot.  Elaine asks what Mulligatawny Soup is, and Kramer answers, “It’s an Indian Soup, simmered to perfection by one of the great soup artisans of the modern era.”  While Mulligatawny Soup is certainly not as well known in the world of soups, I have to agree with Kramer here.  It’s one heck of an amazing soup!  In fact, you can’t eat this soup standing up – your knees buckle!

Mulligatawny Soup

I didn’t grow up eating many international foods.  In fact, I wasn’t really exposed to Indian foods until I met Laura.  She loves Indian food, and over the years I’ve come to really enjoy various Indian dishes myself.  For me, one of the biggest roadblocks for Indian food was the fact that I didn’t know what was in it.  I’d see a creamy sauce poured over rice, but I had no idea what went into that sauce.  That scared me.  It shouldn’t have scared me, but it did.  So I avoided Indian food – even when Laura would rave about how good it was.

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!Not too long after we moved to upstate New York, I had the opportunity to co-host two small cooking classes with Suvir Suran.  To be fair, co-host is a big stretch.  I was more like Suvir’s sous-chef, and I certainly didn’t deserve to be standing next to one of the legends in Indian cooking.  Suvir appeared on Top Chef: Masters and also ran Dévi, a New York City restaurant that specialized in Indian home cooking.  Dévi was the first Indian restaurant in the US to earn a Michelin star.  Needless to say, I learned a lot working alongside Suvir for those cooking classes.

The most important thing I learned from Suvir?  There is nothing to be afraid of in Indian home cooking.  That, and always chop cilantro right before you use it.  (I had chopped the cilantro a couple hours early in preparation for our class – oops.)  Oh, and don’t double the cayenne or salt when you double a recipe.

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!Mulligatawny Soup is a relatively new soup for me, but I have to say that this has earned a spot in the yearly rotation of winter soups.  This soup is creamy and delicious!  Yes, it’s got a notable Indian flare thanks to the curry powder and turmeric, but the flavor will keep you coming back for more.

I will admit that I was a bit skeptical about using 2 green apples in this Mulligatawny Soup.  Apples in a soup?  What in the Sam Hill!?  However, once the apples simmer in the soup for a bit, they take on the flavor of the rest of the ingredients.  In fact, I wouldn’t have even known the soup had apples if I hadn’t made this recipe myself.  Laura guessed they were chunks of celery, and I would’ve guessed they were potatoes.  Nope, apples.  But the tartness from those apples adds an important element to this recipe.  Don’t omit them – even if it does sound a bit odd to put diced apples in soup!

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!If you’ve never had Mulligatawny Soup, then put this one on the menu for a cold day.  Or perhaps you’ve had this soup, but never made it at home – put a batch on the stovetop this weekend!  This soup is the ideal type of comfort food for chilly winter days!

Did you make a batch of this Mulligatawny Soup at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!

Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!
4.89 from 9 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 372kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced
  • Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ Tbsp grated ginger root
  • 2 green apples peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz. can coconut milk
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup uncooked basmati rice
  • ½ cup uncooked red lentils
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (see note)
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • plain Greek yogurt for garnishing
  • chopped Italian parsley for garnishing
  • red pepper flakes for garnishing

Instructions

  • Using a large pot or Dutch oven, add butter and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced onions, celery and carrots; stir until well combined. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add spices (curry powder, salt, cumin, pepper, thyme, paprika and turmeric); stir until well combined.
  • Add garlic, ginger, apples and tomatoes; stir until well combined. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk, chicken broth, rice, lentils and chicken; stir until well combined. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
  • Heat half-and-half in microwave or separate pot; stir into soup.
  • Before serving, garnish bowls of soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle of chopped parsley and red pepper flakes.

Notes

Rotisserie chicken works great for this recipe!
4 cups of chicken stock produces a thicker soup.  If you prefer a thinner version, add 2-4 more cups of chicken stock.

Mulligatawny Soup is a creamy, curry-flavored soup that originated in southern India.  This unique soup is delicious!  In fact, you can't eat this soup standing up - your knees buckle!

Looking for more Indian recipes?  Check out these other favorites:  (Laura requests that Chicken Tikka Masala on a fairly regular basis – she says it’s better than a restaurant!)

Skip the take-out and make this Chicken Tikka Masala at home!  Simmered in a flavorful yogurt marinade, this classic Indian dish is packed with incredible flavor!Chicken Tikka Masala

These Coconut Rice and Madras Lentils Burritos are easy to make and packed with flavor!Coconut Rice and Madras Lentils Burritos

This Masala Hummus Toast is a unique summer appetizer that will have everyone coming back for more!Masala Hummus Toast

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26 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon can i use vegan butter / mushrooms and coconut cream i never had mulligatawny soup before am indian and i approved this perfect for raining days in Singapore and after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. Hey Ramya! Soups are a great place for vegan substitutions, and I think your ideas sound great here. This is a really tasty recipe, and it’s great for cold and rainy (snowy here…) days. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    A new one for me David. I’m not keen on Indian food (too many trips there and too much spicy food), but this looks mighty tasty. I like the flavor profile (except the curry), so I’ll keep this one handy for the next time we have some cooked chicken to use up. Thanks for sharing…

    1. So the curry powder adds a noticeable layer of flavor in this soup, Ron – after all, there’s 1.5 tablespoons of powder in there. I’m not sure what would happen if you omit it. However, this is a really tasty soup…and that’s coming from a guy who is still somewhat wary when it comes to Indian flavors in his food. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    We love Indian food, although I haven’t tried this soup — it looks so hearty and delicious! Glad Laura opened up your culinary palate!!

    1. This is a unique soup for sure, Michelle – I mean curry powder in soup? But it’s delicious! And it’s a great way to warm up on a snowy day. 🙂

  4. Well why have I never heard of this?! It sounds wonderful, and all of those fabulous ingredients – wow! I used to make my own curry powders. Why I don’t know, when I’m retired and have free time is beyond me. There is one from Penzey’s that I’ll use occasionally when I’m just making something Indian-inspired. But it’s also so easy to just use cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, allspice… this is from reading Ron’s comment about making something Indian without the curry! Cracked me up!

    1. I made my own curry powder one time, too, Mimi – it was fantastic! But it did take a bit of time. I do want to try my hand at it again sometime, but for now the pre-made powders are a great time-saver. I do highly recommend this soup…it’s fantastic on cold winter days!

  5. 5 stars
    What a fantastic soup with such amazing flavors. A great bowl of soup is necessary during this snowy winter! I love Seinfeld and just recently began rewatching, starting with the very first episode. It’s so funny to watch because their characters aren’t really developed yet. I’ll need to work my through to the Soup Nazi!

    1. The winter started mild here, but it’s mild no longer – we’re getting hit with ice and snow daily now. Umph. It’s days like this when soup tastes even better! Now as far as re-watching Seinfeld…I really should do that. I don’t think I’ve ever watched in order. I’ve seen almost all of the episodes, but I’ve just caught them here and there on rerun. Great idea for cold winter nights!!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard of Mulligatawny Soup (As I’m not well familiar with Indian cuisine), but this dish looks and sounds utterly comforting and delicious. We’ve been having very strong and cold winds lately – this recipe would be a perfect way to deal with the weather!

    1. Like you, I’m not as familiar with Indian cuisine, but I have been dabbling in it here and there over the years. This soup is fantastic! It’s hard to beat a bowl of good soup on a cold, snowy day!

  7. 5 stars
    David, you know how much I am a fan of soups and curries and your Mulligatawny Soup looks amazing! Combining two of my favourite meals into one! I must make this. It’s a first for me as a soup. I use green apples in my celery soup so I’m no stranger to that. And this has got chicken in it too. Lovely. It’s a whole meal in one. Thank you!

    1. Yes! I do know you are a big fan of curry – you should try this in a soup. I have to say this is a tasty soup…and it tastes even better on cold days. 🙂 Thanks, Neil!

  8. not a huge fan of curry powder (too much turmeric) but i don’t mind sri lankan curry powder so much. must be a different combo of spices. This looks great but maybe not for our summer!

  9. 4 stars
    Ermmm… I guess this is some kinda fusion soup, because mulligatawny is a literal tamil word, mulliga is actually milagu meaning black pepper and tawny is thanni meaning water. It’s pepper water, namely the south Indian dish called “rasam”, we do have it as a soup especially if you have a cold, the pepper spices will knock the cold out of you 😉 there are several varieties of rasam, and i guess someone made a fusion dish. If you go to an Indian restaurant in South India and get this soup , it won’t be so thick, and it will probably be a lot more peppery.

    1. Interesting! Thanks for sharing the background here, Senthil. I certainly can’t speak to the origins of this soup, but I can say that it is fantastic! It’s great for cold times of the year when you just need comfort food to warm you up! I do hope you try it out!

  10. Growing up in the U.K. we had Mulligatawny soup regularly in the winter months. However, I do not remember the soup containing actual chicken. Is this an American addition?

    1. Hey Valerie! That’s a really good question about the addition of chicken here. I couldn’t tell you where this got added…although I can say that it’s quite tasty! I’m sure you could omit the chicken, though. Either way, this is a flavorful soup that’s perfect for cold winter months!

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