There seem to be as many Mulligatawny recipes are there are cooks in India. I used to make one for my family years ago that we loved, but darn it all if I can’t find the recipe. Seriously! In an effort to recreate this Anglo-Indian soup I’ve taken components from primarily this recipe and this recipe, and combined them with veggies that my mom integrates into her dishes when she cooks for me. I love that the crock pot does the flavor combining for me, but I can still pull it together in the afternoon and have a delicious meal by dinnertime. It works to pop in the crock pot before you go to work for dinner as well, if you have a warm setting on your pot. When I eat it I feel like my mom is by my side. Never a bad thing.
Mulligatawny, or “pepper water” is one of the original fusion foods. The story goes like this.
During the time when the British colonized India, a General had taken over the former Maharajah’s palace. He wanted to hold ‘proper’ dinner for military big wigs and other British hot shots. He instructed the cook (Indian) in the dinner plans and included a soup course. What to do? The cook had no idea what a soup was because it was not common to Indian cuisine at the time. Not wanting to loose his job (or worse!) he did some research and stumbled upon this “soup.” Essentially, he thinned down curry and/or a lentil dish with stock and added more veggies. Voila! Soup!
The mulligatawny must have gone over well with the big wigs because the dish has blossomed in our cuisine today.
Note: about the precooking
- Why would I precook ingredients before putting them in the slow-cooker? The answer is simple; precooking allows the food to develop more flavor. It is absolutely necessary? Well, no…but the flavor will be a little different than I envisioned…but who am I anyway?
Note: about adding a dried red pepper
- As is this recipe has some kick, but if you like your food with more fire, include a dried red pepper in the crock pot in the last hour. Pepper water ye shall have.
Note: arrowroot and white beans for thickening
- Arrowroot is gentler on the tummy than flour, but if you don’t have Arrowroot, go with the flour.
- I like to avoid the high fat that comes from cream and coconut milk. It’s also hard on my tummy (my tummy is high maintenance). Instead, I use blended white beans for thickening which adds fiber and lots of amazing flavor.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 medium scallion(s)
- 2 cup(s) Carrots, chopped
- 2 stalk(s) celery, with leaves if possible, chopped (large)
- 4 clove(s) garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp ginger root, grated
- 4 oz mushroom(s), 1/6ths
- 3 breast(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 Tbsp ground Cumin
- 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1/4 Tbsp ground turmeric
- 3/4 tsp table salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 large tomato(es), chopped
- 1 pound(s) uncooked string beans, trimmed
- 1/4 cup(s) mango chutney (any respectable fancy grocery store will have it)
- 4 cup(s) organic chicken stock
- 1/2 cup(s) canned white beans with liquid
- 1/3 cup(s) water
- 1/2 medium zucchini, large dice
- 1 item(s) red bell pepper(s)
- one dried red pepper (optional)
- Heat pan and add olive oil. Chop and drop your veggies as follows in the next step. The precooking can be done the night before if you prefer.
- Chop white and green parts of scallion, add carrots, celery (with leaves), garlic, ginger, and mushrooms. Stir just enough that veggies don’t stick, but you’re trying to get a nice brown color on them (that’s called caramelization…sounds good, yes?).
- While veggies are cooking, cut chicken into bite sized pieces and put in a bowl. Mix cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, and arrowroot powder in a bowl. Sprinkle over chicken and toss to coat.
- Add chicken to pan with veggies and brown all over.
- Put chicken and veggies into crockpot along with chicken stock, tomatoes, string beans, and chutney.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. After this point, uncover and stir in zucchini, red bell pepper, dried red pepper (optional), and the beans blended smooth with the water. Cover and cook on high for 45 mins to 1 hour.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy a heart and stomach-warming treat. This recipe makes 6 generous servings and is about 7 WW points plus each.