06 March 2008

Indian (Chicken) Mulligatawny Soup

(En français ici.)
For my 21st birthday, my mom gave me a gift certificate for a cooking class at this amazing gourmet deli, Putnam Market, near Skidmore College where I was earning my degrees in French and Creative Writing.

The theme of the class was Indian Food, and, although I've since gotten very into cooking Indian and have a lot of the basics down, I recently came back to this, one of my first ever Indian-recipe experiences. This soup is absolutely delicious, can be made very spicy or not, with chicken or vegetarian. It seemed very complicated to me at the time, and I've simplified it some, although it still takes a little patience... well worth it though!

Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

2 cups split red lentils
8 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
(or 8 cups water and 2 cubes chicken or veggie bouillon)
1 tsp turmeric
2 potatoes
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced
1 cup water (or coconut milk)
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless or boned and skinned
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice

- Combine the lentils, chicken stock and turmeric in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. (I actually bring water to a boil in a kettle - which is faster - and then pour 8 cups of it over the 2 cups of lentils - once the pot is hot - and add the bouillon and turmeric.) Turn down heat, cover (leaving lid slightly ajar) and simmer gently for about 20 min.

- Meanwhile back at the farm...(er, while the soup simmers), peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces and put aside. Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces, put into a bowl, sprinkle salt and pepper on it and toss. Put aside. After the soup has cooked about 20 min., add the potatoes and re-cover, simmering until potatoes are cooked (about another 20min.).

- During the second simmering period, heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add the chopped garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Fry, stirring continuously, until the spice mixture starts to brown. Put in the chicken pieces and stir another few minutes until the chicken starts to firm up. Add 1 cup water (I had some extra coconut milk lying around and substituted it for the water with yummy results) and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down heat and simmer 7-10mn until the chicken is cooked.

- Once the potatoes are done, remove soup from heat and purée it if you want everything nice and smooth. Then pour in chicken and spice mixture. Add the lemon juice. Taste for seasonings. If it's too thick you can add broth or water to thin it out.

- Put in bowls (garnish with cilantro, if you can stand the stuff, or perhaps parsley if you're like me) and EAT IT!

***For the VEGETARIAN or VEGAN version, cook the potatoes in the spice mixture instead of the chicken and add them to the soup only at the end. They may take a bit longer to cook than the chicken and/or need a bit more water.


Anthony said...

hooray! i've been trying to finagle a decent version of this soup for some time now. i'm going to make yours as soon as we go shopping again. thanks, hopie!

Hopie said...

no problem. happy indian soup cooking. (it'll remind you of our vegetarian indian dinners for 2 on bleeker street ;-) )

Anonymous said...

Amy just intoduced me to your blog-yum! I wanted you to know that lately I've been making pie crust with sheep's milk yogurt instead of cow's milk (because it turns out I'm allergic) and the results are amazing. Best pie crusts i've ever made. Buttermilk works well too. Somewhere ercently I saw an oil crust made with water; when I find it I'll send it along. Thanks Hope! Love you. -ruth

Hopie said...

Hi Ruthie!
Sheep's milk yogurt sounds good - I'll have to try it. I've been making my pie crust with goat's milk instead of cow's milk. I use goat's milk in most of my baking when it calls for milk and it seems to work well.

Always happy to hear what you're cooking!
Love you!

David said...

Is there such a thing as perfection? In love, no (unless you're Jesus or Buddha or one of Those Guys). In film, never (even though Hitchcock thought his were). In plumbing -- okay, I have no idea. In soup? Yes! This soup was perfection itself, a heavenly, sensual, fragrant, delicate yet provocative blend of spices. Bravo, le chef!

Ohhhkay, maybe try a sprinkling of curry leaves or (if you're not Hopie), cilantro on top (Katharine's idea, mmmm).

You know, I'll bet that's how it was for Jesus, too. Sure, we sit here 2,000 years later and go "Blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are the merciful, Sermon on the Mount -- whoa! Amazing!" But I'll bet his disciples were saying "Nice one, Jesus, but you weren't loud enough and nobody could hear in the back."

Anyway, a close-to-perfect soup and I'd have it every day if I could.

David said...

oops, now I see that you put "garnish with cilantro or parsley" at the bottom. See, it was perfect. Sorry, Jesus, get in line.

Hopie said...

Wow, no one's ever compared me or my soups to Jesus, Buddha, Hitchcock or the to-be-discovered prophet of plumbing before! I'm speechless!

Actually in the photo the soup is garnished with curry leaves, so good call, but I didn't think most people would have any since you have to go to an Indian grocer to get them.