Monday, January 14, 2008

Mulligatawny Soup

Oh, I do adore soups. I'm sure I've gone on and on before about why I like soups - just the simple ease of them, they warm the tummy, great to freeze for another night when I don't feel like cooking, and you don't have to make all those different things . . . a protein, a vegetable, a salad, maybe a carb . . . you get it all right in the pot. Sometimes I serve soup with a side carb like a biscuit. Rarely do I make a salad, because a green salad doesn't always seem to go with a hot soup. Maybe a half a sandwich goes better with it, but I had had a half a sandwich for lunch. So, since there's rice in this soup, the meal is complete just the way it is.

I remember reading this recipe in a magazine back about 1971. It was probably Family Circle or something similar. I was still experimenting with curry powder back then, and this one doesn't have all that much curry in it, so it just has a faint hint of it. But it was the addition of apple that intrigued me. Somewhere around the same time I'd encountered a savory cold apple soup that became a regular on my summer entertaining menu. One of these days I'll post that one. I really enjoyed making things that surprised people. You just don't expect apple in a savory soup.

This soup comes together in a jiffy, actually. I had chicken √, celery √, carrot √, onion √, chicken broth √, rice √ and the spices √. Over the years I've adjusted the recipe quite a bit - more chicken, more curry, more onion, more carrot, more thyme. But the bones of the recipe remain the same. We went to see Atonement, the movie, the day I made this. It's a kind of a downer, although exceptionally well done. It made me want to get comfortable in front of the fireplace and be cozy. Soup fits in perfectly.

Mulligatawny Soup has its origins in India. Here's what wikipedia had to say about it:
  • Mulligatawny is a type of Anglo-Indian soup. It is regarded as the national soup of India. A literal translation from Tamil is "pepper water" ('Millagu' is pepper and 'Thanni' is water). Despite the name, pepper itself is not a vital ingredient. Rice and noodles are commonly served in the soup; the real dish the Anglo-Indians call "pepper water" is closer to Tamilian rasam (pronounced Russ-um) than mulligatawny. Variations differ very much. Sometimes, the soup has a turmeric-like yellow color and is garnished with parsley and chicken meat, and is more soupy, which takes on its Anglo-Indian adaptation to be a thick, spicy meat soup.
Interestingly, curry is not a specific ingredient listed above. But think India-n food, think curry. I really like the addition, whatever version this is. And it's very low in fat and sodium, providing you use low-sodium chicken broth. You could eliminate the rice too, if you wanted to make this a low carb meal.

Mulligatawny Soup
Recipe: adapted from a magazine article, c. 1971, but I have no notes about it.
Servings: 4
1 whole onion -- diced
2 whole carrots -- diced
2 stalks celery -- diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons curry powder - I prefer about 1 tablespoon
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple -- diced - I use half an apple
1/2 cup rice
1 cup cooked chicken -- diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half
1. Heat olive oil in a medium-deep pan, then add onion, carrot and celery. Stir and heat the vegetables, then sprinkle the flour over them, adding the curry powder as well. Cook for about 5 minutes.
2. Add chicken broth and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add rice and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes. Add half of the apple and seasonings and simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Just before serving, add the remaining apple and the chicken, plus the half and half and heat until the soup just barely comes to a simmer again.
NOTES : One of the keys to this soup is the apple - you just don't expect it in a soup. It's important to use a tart, firm apple, not one that will turn into mush (so use a Pippin or Granny Smith only).
Per Serving: 298 Calories; 8g Fat (25.0% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 15mg Cholesterol; 1129mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 1/2 Fat.
To print a PDF recipe, click title at top.

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