Monday, January 9, 2012

Mulligatawny Soup

We've been on a real soup kick lately. And it hasn't even been cold. In fact, I'm sure it hit the triple digits outside at least once while we ladled soup into bowls. But I'd like to think we can will a little more winter weather by cooking up a pot of spicy and delicious Mulligatawny soup. Some of us native Californians actually do like a little cold now and then.

Typically I make a very basic chicken and rice soup. It's completely satisfying, easy to throw together and I'm sure I'll get around to posting the recipe one of these days. But having recently undertaken a systematic re-watching of all nine seasons of Seinfeld, the amazing Soup Nazi episode was fresh in my mind. It's a classic for a reason.

Jerry: You will be stunned.
Elaine: Stunned by soup?
Jerry:  You can't eat this soup standing up. Your knees buckle.

While Jerry pines for the crab bisque, Elaine gets the Mulligatawny on Kramer's recommendation and her knees do, in fact, buckle. Being a fan of most Indian flavor profiles, I adapted this recipe for Mulligatawny soup based on what I happened to have on hand. If you have the time to make your own stock, obviously this is superior. It doesn't take much in the way of skill and will ultimately taste better. But I'm a working woman with limited time on Sunday evenings and I stand by this method 100%.

While I don't normally eat soup standing up, after tasting this I really doubt it would have been possible. Consider me stunned.

Mulligatawny Soup
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small yellow onions, diced
  • 2 red jalapenos, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground brown mustard seeds
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground chile powder
  •  2 lemons, juiced, about 1/4 cup
  •  2 teaspoons salt

Salt chicken breasts liberally, cover with cold water, bring to a boil. cook 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Shred chicken and set aside.

Sauté onions and jalapenos with olive oil in heavy bottomed pot until onions start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and carrots and sauté another 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and spices, simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. Return chicken to pot, add lemon juice and salt. Serve in bowls with short-grain brown rice and a dollop of nonfat greek yogurt.