Indian Mulligatawny Soup

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

This soup hails from the Tamil region of southern India (the first Indian region inhabited by Jews). The name means “fire water,” but this soup is not that spicy. It is loaded with flavor and packed with protein from the chicken as well as the chickpeas. It is very easy to make and fun to eat, especially if you serve it over rice, with peanuts, coconut, and raisins sprinkled on top.

Learn more about the history of Indian Jewry and find more Jewish Indian recipes.

One 3-pound chicken, cut up
6 cups chicken stock or water
1 onion stuck with 6 cloves
1 stalk of celery
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of parsley
Salt to taste
15 whole peppercorns
1 cup packaged coconut
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
6 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/8–1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup soy creamer or water
Salt and pepper to taste
Coconut, raisins, peanuts
Basmati rice (see Tina's Tidbits below)
  1. Cook the chicken in a 4-quart pot with the next 8 ingredients for 1 hour or until the chicken is tender. Strain the broth, and remove the skin and bones from the meat.
  2. Put 2 cups of the strained broth into a blender and add the cup of packaged coconut. Blend until the coconut is pulverized. You have now created fresh coconut milk. Strain this coconut milk over a bowl through cheesecloth or a doublemesh strainer to remove all the solid particles of coconut. Throw away any coconut solids.
  3. If the blender is gritty, rinse out the container. Add the coconut milk and chickpeas to the blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Combine all of the dried spices with the flour in a small bowl. Set aside. Melt the margarine in a 3-quart saucepan. Whisk in the flour mixture and the garlic, and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in the coconut milk mixture and the remaining broth until smooth and thickened.
  6. Add the creamer (or water) and the chicken pieces, and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Serve.
Additional Notes
  • To make this soup into a meal, place a scoop of cooked basmati rice (very fragrant rice) in the bottom of the soup bowl. Pour the soup over the rice, and pass dishes of the optional condiments for guests to sprinkle on top of their soup.
  •  Coconut milk is not milk at all but the white liquid derived from grinding coconut with water and then squeezing the pulp to extract as much flavor as possible.