Isn’t there a Seinfeld quote to go with pretty much every situation?
Kramer: “A hot bowl of mulligatawny would hit the spot.”
Kramer: “Yes, it’s a delightful Hindu concoction simmered to perfection by one of the great soup artisans in the modern era.”
That has to be one of my all-time favorite episodes. Ever.
Last year on a visit to one of our favorite local eateries I decided to try a bowl of Mulligatawny. It immediately became one of my favorite soups. It’s thick and hearty, filled with chunks of vegetables, and has just enough kick to warm you up.
I’m currently on the hunt for a perfect mulligatawny. This recipe comes close – it has a lot of nice qualities. First of all, I love the flavor – all of those amazing spices- oh so yummy. I also love the creaminess of the soup. That comes from the cream of course, but also the rice and the potato. As the soup simmers some of the potato chunks dissolve a little and the rice continues to soften until it all blends together into creamy goodness. In fact, I think next time I’ll try omitting the cream and adding another potato (diced small) to see if that will do the trick. A dairy-free soup is a good thing around here.
One more thing I love about this recipe is the fact that it uses cooked chicken. I tossed some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot last night and left them alone for about 2 1/2 hours. I pulled them out, cut them into chunks and then put all of that in the fridge – ready for today’s soup. Another option is to use up the leftovers from that roast chicken you had on Sunday. The amount of chicken in this soup can be flexible – it calls for 3 lbs, but you could do less. I really wouldn’t add more than 3 lbs or you’ll just end up with more of a casserole consistency.
This mulligatawny recipe was originally found here, but I’ve made some tweaks so I’ll type it up below.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garam masala
pinch of cayenne pepper (add up to 1/4 tsp if you like the heat)
3 lbs cooked chicken, chopped
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 large onions, chopped
3-4 carrots, diced
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white part only)
11 cups chicken stock (stock is best, but I used canned broth and it was great)
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
1 large (or 2 medium) potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup heavy cream
chopped cilantro (for garnish)
Combine minced garlic with all of the spices (cumin, cloves, curry powder, ginger, cayenne pepper, garam masala) and set aside. In a large pot (and I mean LARGE) heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add celery, onions, carrots and leeks and saute until veggies are crisp-tender (about 5-8 minutes). Add garlic and spices and stir to coat the vegetables. Continue to saute for another 2 or 3 minutes – the garlic and spices will become fragrant.
Add in all 11 cups of chicken stock and rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add potato chunks. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until potatoes and rice are softened. Add lemon juice and cream and heat through over medium-low heat. Taste soup and add salt and pepper and additional curry powder and cayenne pepper if you would like.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.