Mulligatawny Soup

Indian home cooks will often throw together a pot of mulligatawny using chicken and rice leftover from other dishes. I like to do the same—especially when cold winter weather calls for something hot and spicy!


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4–6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, pureed*
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes**
6 cups chicken stock
2–3 tablespoons besan flour***
~ water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups cooked rice, as accompaniment
2–3 limes, quartered, for garnish
2–3 fresh cilantro, for garnish
*Puree the onion in your food processor until completely smooth.**Use canned tomatoes from Modena, Italy or Pomi brand tomatoes found in fine grocery stores—Their flavor is superb!****Besan is made from chickpeas and is available in Indian markets or online stores. Do not substitute all-purpose as it changes the flavor of the soup. If you can’t find besan flour, try grinding dry chickpeas in your food processor.
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat until sizzling.
  2. Add the chicken brown lightly. Remove and set aside.
  3. Heat several tablespoons of oil in the pan and add the onions. Sauté until soft.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger, stir well and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili, and bay leaves and cook for two minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.
  6. Add 1/4-cup of the tomatoes, stir well and cook for one minute. Add the remaining 1/4-cup and repeat.
  7. Stir in a half cup of the stock. Continue adding the stock, a bit at a time.
  8. Add the chicken to the soup.
  9. Bring to a lively simmer, then reduce heat to medium.
  10. Meanwhile, place the besan flour in a skillet set over a medium flame. Roast, stirring frequently, for one minute. Adjust the heat to prevent burning.
  11. Vigorously whisk enough water into the roasted besan flour to create a thick, smooth liquid paste.
  12. Whisk the besan paste into the soup and mix well.
  13. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  14. Add the salt, pepper, and garam masala.
  15. Squeeze in the lime juice.
  16. Divide rice among serving bowls and ladle the soup over. Garnish with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.



Preparation Time: 
45–60 minutes.