Mulligatawny soup is a great soup for leftovers. The recipe I found was one of those ideas on what to do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I didn't have leftover turkey in late January (god forbid) but what I did have was a lot of similar ingredients to the recipe already in my pantry. So I ended up taking this soup and really making it fit what was in my cupboard.
The key to a good mulligatawny is the acidity and the warm Indian spices. The spices are what I would say define this soup. However the rest of the elements can be open to interpretation. I ended up using the traditional lemon and granny smith apple to bring the acidity to the soup but I saw recipes that omitted the apple and just had lemon. I think subbing in lime would work just as well too if that's what you had on hand. Also, the protein can be chicken or turkey but you can use whatever cuts you prefer. Chicken is traditional but using slightly dried out turkey from Thanksgiving leftovers is a perfect option to bring back to life in this soup.
The other element I played with was the grain. The recipe suggested basmati rice but I used red lentils instead because I had just the amount needed on hand. The key if you choose to use lentils is to use the red/orange ones (like these ones) because traditional lentils won't cook up as fast as you need them to in this recipe. So go forth with this knowledge and use what you got and make one hell of a good winter soup, just don't sub out the spices or you'll regret it.
adapted heavily from this recipe
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1 medium Granny Smith apple, medium dice
2 medium carrots, medium dice
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
6 cups of chicken stock (we used homemade)
2 lbs chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened light coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
cilantro leaves for garnish, we also added some avocado on top
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put chicken thighs in a casserole dish, season with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast chicken in the oven until temperature reaches 165 degrees internally. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, dice up into small bites.
2. Heat other 2 tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and allow to cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add apple, carrots and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until apple is tender and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle flour, curry powder, garam masala, cumin and cloves over vegetable mixture. Stir until fragrant and flour has cooked down, about 2 minutes.
4. Slowly add stock and stir until flour/spice mixtures is all dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. At this point I chose to use my immersion blender and blend these ingredients together before adding the other meat and lentils. The original recipe didn't say to but I didn't love the idea of eating chunks of cooked apple. I'll leave you to make the call.
5. Add diced chicken, lentils, coconut milk, and lemon juice and return soup to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Server immediately topped with cilantro leaves and avocado (if using).
We also bought some pre-made naan at the store for dipping. Next time I'd love to make some of my own naan at home but since it was a weeknight I decided to choose the quick options.
I made a Vine video for this but unfortunately accidentally erased it so all I have is this pretty picture of the final product. Enjoy!