Mulligatawny Soup

I first had Mulligatawny Soup when I worked at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe circa 1977.  It was on the winter menu at Alpine Jacks – the casino restaurant I ended up managing circa ’79 or so.  (It’s now the Sierra Cafe and has gone through yet another renovation…)  But back in the day, it was one of the most popular of the soups – rich, thick, creamy, curry-rice-and-apple-laden wonderfulness.  It was slightly spicy with just enough sweet to offset the heat.


As per a typical hotel kitchen, certain folks did certain things and soups were not a part of my routine, so when I first tried to replicate it years ago, I had only my memory and taste buds to go by – and Tahoe in the ’70s didn’t leave much in the way of memory.  It’s actually too bad, because they also made an outstanding hot and sour soup with short ribs in it that I have never come close to replicating!

But I digress…

The Tahoe soup was really thick but every time I made it and tried to thicken it, it came out too pasty.  I finally decided to just try for a good soup and not try to make theirs.  I rather like the end result.

This is one of the few soups that I kinda sorta follow a recipe.  There’s plenty of room to add your own personal touches, so have at it!

Mulligatawny Soup

It can definitely be streamlined using boneless chicken breasts and chicken broth.

  • 1 chicken, cut up
  • 4-6 qts water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • A couple of garlic cloves, chopped
  • A few ribs celery, chopped
  • A few carrots, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 granny smith (or other tart apple) peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 pt heavy cream
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • S&P to taste

Pourwater into pot and add chicken.  Bring to a simmer and cook chicken.  When chicken is just done, remove it and cool.  Boil the stock down a bit to intensify flavor.

Add the rice and let it cook about 15 or so minutes, stirring once in a while so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Do a quick sauté of the onions, spices, and other veggies (less apples) while the rice is cooking. (a bit of butter or oil – I usually use butter…) Add them to the broth.

Pull the chicken from the bones and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Add to the pot.  Keep it simmering.  Add the coconut milk and  heavy cream.  Keep simmering

Add the apples.  Taste.  Add more curry, S and/or P if desired.

Cook a bit longer, stirring occasionally (don’t want it to stick!!) It should get nice and creamy and thickened.A great garnish is some chopped pistachios sprinkled on each bowl as it’s served.

Toppings can include chopped pistachios, plain yogurt,  sour cream, or some chopped chives…