Mamta's Kitchen

Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

Steve Lister


Mulligatawny soup or Pepper Water (mulgatany, muligatani, mullgatani, mulligatani, mulligatawny, mulligtany) is an Anglo-Indian adaptation of a Tamil soup Milagu Thanni or Rasam. 'Milagu' means pepper and 'Thanni' means water. Pepper in Mulligatawny soup applies to chilli pepper, not black pepper. Tamil Rasam soup is usually vegetarian, unlike Anglo-Indian Mulligatawny. In its thinner form, it is often eaten with boiled rice to calm down an upset stomach.

With only the tinned Beef Mulligatawny soup and the ones you get at takeaways to base my recipe on, I wasn't sure how this would turn out. In the end, it turned out very well, spicy and full of flavour, a soup with a curry flavoured background. It should not be confused with being a full blown curry. Don't be put off by long list of ingredients, it is an easy dish to make.

Serves 5-10 people, depending upon it being a starter or main course.


  • 75-100 ml. olive oil

  • 400 gm. or 2 onions, peeled and finely diced

  • 400 gm. 5 average sized carrots, thinly sliced

  • 350-400 gm. skinless chicken fillet (about 2 breasts), chopped into bite sized pieces

  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika*

  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds*

  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds*

  • 2 tsp. fenugreek powder*

  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder*

  • 2 tsp. green cardamoms*

  • 2 tsp. cracked black pepper*

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder*

  • 2 tsp. onion granules

  • 1 tsp. ground ginger powder (or 2 tsp. fresh, grated ginger)

  • 1 tsp. sea salt

  • 3 tsp. garlic purée

  • 400-500 gm. split red lentils (rinsed) (dhuli masoor dal

  • 2 litre chicken stock (2 chicken stockpots or cubes in 2 litres of hot water)

  • One 400 gm. tin of chopped tomato

  • 2/3 lemons, to give 100 ml. lemon juice and their skin

  • A small handful of fresh coriander leaves for garnish (optional)


  1. Peel 1 of the lemons with a potato peeler and then chop the peel finely. Keep aside

  2. In a large pan, soften and brown the onions.

  3. Add carrots and soften.

  4. Add chicken and fry until it browns a little

  5. Add spices* (smoked paprika, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek powder, turmeric, cardamoms, black pepper, chilli powder) onion granules, ginger powder, salt, and garlic purée. Mix in and cook for a minute or so.

  6. Add the lentils and mix in well so everything is coated and combined

  7. Add stock and tinned tomatoes, bring to boil then turn to simmer

  8. Once simmering, add the lemon juice and chopped lemon rind (skin).

  9. Cook out for a good 30-60 minutes, until it thickens up. You may need to add a little more water if it gets too thick

  10. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

  11. Also see Soup Selection.

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