Mulligatawny Soup - sounds a bit exotic, but is also hearty and that's what we often like now that soup season is upon us.

I'm sharing the recipe I use from the Podleski Sisters (aka Looneyspoons) Crazy Plates (1999). I have just recently acquired Greta's newest "baby" - Yum and Yummer - and will look forward to trying some dishes from there. Not only does the new book have photos of each recipe, but a link to a "how to" video - for each and every recipe!

Meanwhile, at the recent FBC Conference, there I was right next to Greta at the soup station, in front of soup labelled Mulligatawny. What!? I thought... doesn't look like "my" - er... Greta's. It was puréed - and was not as appetizing as the chunky soup I have come to love.

So, off to do some research - what's the Mulligatawny story? Are you surprised that there's little agreement about this soup - other than it's origins as an English soup, made in India during the British Raj? The name itself is loosely based on the term "pepper-water" so presumably it was meant to be spicy. [Source] Pour through the online recipe variations and you'll seem some with meat/some not, often rice, curry, something sweet - such as parsnips, something tart - apples. Many of these ingredients appear in this recipe - and looking at others, you begin to see the many ways in which you add your own variations.

Though, seemingly disparaged by some in the UK, who better than Madhur Jaffrey to sing it's praises - "Made with care, this unapologetically old-fashioned, gently spiced fusion classic is... really a curry, a meal in itself". [Source]

Getting Ready:

  • prep vegetables (using food processor)
  • cut the chicken into 1/2 - 1" cubes
  • prep the apples
  • measure the spices
  • chop the parsley

1 cup each - chopped celery, onions, carrots

1 clove garlic, minced

1- 2 TB butter

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Though my knife skills are not bad, this is one time when I turn to my food processor. I pulse the celery, onions, carrots - each separately - to get a small rustic chop. (Don't wash the food processor just yet...)

Cook these and the garlic in the melted butter over medium heat, for 4-5 minutes. I use a Dutch oven.

Cut the chicken into 1/2 - 1" cubes and add to the pot. Continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink.

2 tsp curry powder
1/2 - 1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
3 whole cloves

Add this spice mix and cook for 2 minutes to let the spices bloom. (if, like me, you are a sissy when it comes to spicy - you can use only 1/2 tsp chili powder.)

1 can (19 oz) San Marzano tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth

½ cup uncooked, white rice (see Notes)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

The tomatoes need to be "squished" - you can either do this by hand, or if your food processor is still set up - pulse them a few times. (see Notes) Add the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low and add rice, salt and pepper. (Take care with the salt if your broth is not unsalted.) Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Important: Stir from time to time to prevent the rice from sticking (maybe even burning) to the bottom of the pot.

2 cups peeled, cored, diced apples (see Notes)
¼ cup parsley
¾ cup sour cream or yogurt
1 TB lemon juice

Remove lid. Add the apples and parsley and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sour cream and lemon juice.

Try to fish out the whole cloves before serving, or warn guests and offer prizes for whoever finds one!

The soup stores well for several days in fridge, but the rice continues to absorb liquid, so add more liquid if it gets too thick.

Notes and Tips...

  • Curry Powder - consider using my curry recipe - always great to have this on hand.
  • Chicken - I think this would be good (maybe even better?) with dark meat; many online recipes do not use meat at all.
  • Tomatoes - I have made this with half a can of tomatoes - equally good!
  • Rice - recipe calls for long grain, I use jasmine; could also use brown rice
  • Apples - recipe calls for Granny Smith - but I have used any apple that is good for pies - in other words, does not turn mushy; often it is Honey Crisp that I have on hand
  • Variation - Janet and Greta offered their own variation years later - using coconut milk instead of a dairy product; they upped the cloves to three, cut the apples back to one, added grated ginger, and used cilantro instead of parsley. Check it out.
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