British colonialists in response to Indian cuisine designed this style of soup, at least so the story goes. Translated from the Tamil, the word literally means pepper water, which seems odd to me since there is very little pepper flavor in the soup. I did some searching on the web to learn more about the soup and I discovered that the various recipes that call themselves “Mulligatawny” have almost nothing in common, save a collection of Indian spices. This is my father’s version. I couldn’t find any other recipes out there that included a banana. I’ll have to ask him how his soup came to have one in it. Perhaps he slipped and fell into the soup. When I first started making this recipe my kids were wee (little). Though they loved the flavor, it was a tad too spicy for them. To make the soup less spicy add one extra potato, an additional can of coconut milk and two more cups of chicken stock. The toned down version has the same general feeling of the original but not quite as much heat.
Mulligatawny Soup (10-12 servings)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 leeks, white part only, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 carrot, chopped medium
- 1 red pepper, medium dice
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 zucchini, medium dice
- 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
- 1 stalk celery, medium dice
- 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 ripe banana
- ½ can full fat coconut milk
- 28 ounce can peeled plum tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened)
- 4 cups chopped cooked chicken (optional)
Heat oil and butter in large stockpot. Sauté the chili flakes, onion, leeks, shallot, carrot, red bell pepper for 6-8 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, for 1-2 minutes. Add the all of the remaining ingredients except the rice, flaked coconut and chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 60 to 90 minutes, until all of the vegetables are tender.
Either use an immersion blender or put through a food processor in batches and process all of the soup until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste (the need for salt will depend highly on the type of chicken broth used).
Add the flaked coconut.
To serve ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with 2-3 tablespoons of cooked rice set carefully into the soup. You can also add cooked chicken with the rice as well.
This soup is better the second day.