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!
This post may contain paid links. For more information, please see our disclosure policy.
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!”
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!
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.
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 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 taste of those Indian spices will keep you coming back for more.
Vegetables in soup? Completely normal. Apples in soup? What in the Sam Hill? I will admit that I was a bit skeptical about using 2 green apples in this Mulligatawny Soup. 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!
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!
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 large carrot peeled and diced
- 1½ 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 cloves
- 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 stock see note
- 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
- Using a large pot or large Dutch oven, add butter and place over medium 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.
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!)