Friday, March 22, 2013

Mulligatawny Soup

Here's a chicken soup recipe with an interesting history. The British craved a nice soup when they were in India, and this is the result. It's a blend of the British and Continental combination of onion, carrot, and celery with Indian curry spices. Like many soups, there are many variations out there, so feel free to add and delete to make this fit your taste. Note: Don't worry if you don't have all the spices. Simply add more curry powder if you don't have cumin, coriander, or tumeric. Do taste, however, as you add curry powder. Some powders are hot and spicy, others are mild. So, add some, taste, then add more, until you get a taste you like.


1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 Tbs chopped ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 pound chicken, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp ground cumin (see note)
1 tsp ground coriander (see note)
1 tsp tumeric (see note)
1-3 Tbs curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
up to 1 tsp of salt
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds


Start cooking the brown rice by measuring it into a saucepan, rinsing it, then covering it with the cup of water. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer for 30 minutes. Prepare the rest of the soup while the rice cooks.

Place the olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, ginger and garlic into a heavy bottom soup pot. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to get translucent. Add the chicken and spices, using just 1 tablespoon of the curry powder to start, and continue to cook until the chicken begins to turn from pink to white. Add some of the chicken stock if the chicken starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the remainder of the chicken stock, along with the white wine and lemon juice, then cook for another 10 minutes or so. Stir in half of the parsley and green onion, then add the cooked rice. Stir everything together. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary, and more curry powder to taste. Serve in bowls, topping each serving with a 1 Tbs dollop of yogurt, a sprinkle of parsley, green onion, and toasted almonds.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip:  Tumeric powder is bright yellow, being the dried and ground flesh of the root of tumeric. It's used extensively in both Chinese and Indian medicines, mainly as an anti-inflammatory. I doubt that the small amount used in this recipe holds much medicinal value, but I like the way it tastes, reminiscent of a mild ginger, to whose family it belongs. Tumeric is also the main ingredient in curry powder, which is why it's easy to omit tumeric in this recipe and simply increase the amount of curry powder. The yellow color is sometimes used as a dye, so if you spill some on clothes or counters, wash if off quickly with soap and water.

No comments: