On mulligatawny soup

On the matter of mulligatawny soup, I stand divided against myself, doesn’t really know what the real thing is, or if there is a real McCoy for this altogether. I have tasted mulligatawny from a couple of restaurants in India, each time the soup presented itself as a concoction different from the one I had before. The texture ranged from being moderately thin to thick enough to almost cut with a knife. Ingredients varied a lot too, but the flavoring spices were probably the same. The soup originated in Anglo-Indian kitchens, while India was under the colonial rule, and the name probably is derived from Tamil words “Milagu thanni” which literally translates to “pepper water”


When I hear the word "thanni", out of all respect for the venerable mother language Tamil, I think of water, flow and clarity. So if I am to conjure up the image of a soup from this name, my first instinct will be to think in line of a consommé, a rasam of sorts. On the contrary, it turns out that this soup nowadays has the status of a complete meal in a bowl, texturally more complex than I originally thought it would be.


There was this one remarkable bowl of Mulligatawny I had, from the roof top restaurant of erstwhile Classic hotel ( nowadays goes by the name Madurai Residency)in Madurai, from where looking at the lighted up ancient city on a mild weather evening was almost an ethereal experience. It was a warm and hearty bowl of chicken soup with vegetables and lentils, with layers of flavor coming from spices like cumin, nutmeg and cloves.


Here is my mulligatawny soup recipe, based on the trace of memory I have about the soup mentioned above, guided by several other recipes around, and utterly devoid of curry powder for good. This is my favorite soup for now. I told you “SOUP” at the beginning of this year, and I am sticking to it.

Mulligatawny soup


Cooked basmati rice – 1 cup
Chicken split breast – 1 piece
Diced mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, beans, corn, radishes etc) – 2 cups
Vegetable bullion cubes – 2
Masoor dal or any other quick cooking lentil – 1/4 cup
Onion Diced – 1 cup
Ginger, finely grated – 2 tbsp
Garlic, finely chopped – 1 tsp
Cloves – 6
Nutmeg powder- 1/8 tsp
Cinnamon powder – 1/8 tsp
Lemon -1
Celery seeds – 1 tsp
Coconut milk – 3/4 cup
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro, chopped – 1/4 cup + enough to garnish
Cumin – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper – Coarsely crushed – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Olive Oil – 1 tbsp

Heat oil in a sauce pan. Sauté onion, garlic and ginger till the onions are translucent. Add, cloves, turmeric, nutmeg powder, cinnamon powder, cumin, celery seeds, and masoor dal, mix well with a spoon. Add 5 cups of water, crushed bullion cubes and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Add the chicken piece and vegetables. Turn the heat to medium; add some salt and cook covered for 15 minutes without stirring. Meanwhile blend coconut milk and rice together adding a cup of water till the mixture turns into a coarse paste. Add it to the soup, stir well, turn the heat to very low, and cook covered with out stirring for 10 more minutes. Turn of heat, take the chicken piece out. With the help of a fork and knife shred it into small pieces. Add the pieces back to the pot. Squeeze the juice from a lemon and add to the soup. Add ¼ cup cilantro and crushed black pepper. Turn of the heat. Keep the soup covered for 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro, with a wedge of lime on the side and some crusty bread.


Priya Suresh said...

Omg, wat a comforting,filling,hearty and delicious soup..

Anonymous said...

Very nice photos!

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Wow looks yummy and I love it.. very comforting and soothing one.

Swathi said...

Delicious comforting soup

Vrinda said...

I am disappointed when someone says it is not exactly like rasam, but it is true though. Nice photos.

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

Every time I visit ur blog ur name strikes me! Love the name spicyana :-)
That's a great and comforting soup!

Hale said...

Thank you ver much for your nice words and visiting my web site. You pictures are beautiful and delicious recipes.

delphcotecuisine said...

gorgeous pics


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...