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Mulligatawny Soup

Despite the brilliant sunshine that graced Seattle with its presence yesterday, the calendar still says we are smack dab in the middle of February. This means that we have at least a few more weeks of cold weather to get through before things start to warm up. The only good part about this I see is that these lingering cold winter days mean that I get to enjoy warm soups for just a wee bit longer. Soups like this tummy warming Mulligatawny soup that is sure to hit the spot on a cold winter’s day.

I was inspired to create this recipe not by a cookbook, not by a restaurant and not by watching a cooking show. No, I was inspired to create this recipe by watching Seinfeld, everyone’s favorite 90s sitcom about nothing. You see, Ryan and I love to watch a couple of episodes of Seinfeld every night before bed. The episode that inspired this recipe was probably one of the most famous, you know the one. The one with the Soup Nazi. The one where scores of people line up around the block to order some soup so good that they follow a strict set of rules in order to be able to order a cup of it.  Now this isn’t the Soup Nazi’s recipe, but with madras curry, garam masala, chicken, rice, veggies and coconut milk I bet you’ll find your self craving it just as Kramer did.

Mulligatawny soup in a white bowl with white ladle

Mulligatawny Soup

Inspired by the 90s sitcom about nothing, this curry spiced soup with chicken and rice is sure to hit the spot on a cold winter's day.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings



  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup uncooked basmati or other white rice
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk


  • Heat butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted stir in onion, celery, carrots and apples. Cook until softened slightly, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in flour, curry, garam masala and turmeric and cook one minute. Slowly stir in chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove soup from heat and use an immersion blender, to puree the soup until smooth (there may still be a few veggie pieces and that is OK). Note: If you don't have an immersion blender, allow soup to cool and blend in batches in a blender or food processor.
  • Return soup to burner and heat over medium heat. Stir in rice and cooked chicken. Cook 20 - 25 minutes or until rice is cooked. Stir in 1/4 cup coconut milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add remaining coconut milk if desired.
  • Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve.


Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: curry, indian food, turmeric

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Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Just thought you should know…I’ve pinned most of your website and can’t wait to get cooking!!! :) I’m dairy free and living in the Middle East, and you don’t know how difficult it can be to find websites with tasty recipes that I can actually make. Thank you!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I made this last week and it was so delicious. I only replaced the white rice with forbidden rice because it was all I had in hand. It even swayed my boyfriend who is a soup avoider. Yummy!!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I am making this tonight, but instead of chicken I am using some shrimp I have on hand, it sounds perfect for a snow day!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Followed the recipe To the letter – excellent. Next time I would half the amount of rice, but even so, 5 stars.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I also saw this recipe on Tastespotting. It was right up my alley so I made it… I was not disappointed! Great recipe :)

  • Reply
    February 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Yum, all these flavors combined sounds delicious! This sounds like the perfect heart-warming soup to make on a cold winter night-definitely looking forward to trying out this recipe!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you everyone for you comments! Lissa- haha that is the first time someone has asked me to add more “bad” food, I love it! I have a few in mind ;-) Carolyn- You’re welcome. I am so happy to hear that you liked it!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Wow you have used apples here! Looks pretty comforting.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    I saw this on Tastespotting. I had everything (except celery) on hand, and made it tonight. It is wonderful! I can’t imagine that the addition of celery would improve it. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Love that episode. This soup looks great! I never attempt to cook Indian food – it scares me, but this makes it look so easy!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

    that looks wonderful! I loved that soup nazi episode :)

  • Reply
    Curiouseats - Lissa
    February 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Des, This looks fabulous. I’m with you on the soup thing. I love winter because we get to enjoy so much soup.

    I have the feeling you got a lot of pressure around the super bowl to tame down the fattening food. (I think I was even one of them …. curses) But, I have to admit – I secretly check your blog every day to see if you’ve developed a new scrumptous morsel. (Remember the deep fried wonton last month.yummmmmm) It’s the weekend. Can you deviate from your goodness and go bad again?

  • Reply
    February 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Carly- good question! Garam masala is a spice blend common in Indian cuisine. It is often made with cloves, peppercorns, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves. It adds a little bit of heat, but not much to most dishes. If your supermarket is well stocked you should be able to find it in the spice aisle, if you cant I’ve seen many recipes online to make your own but haven’t tried to do that yet. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes
    February 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Wow the soup looks so warm and delicious!

  • Reply
    Carly fernandez
    February 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    This sounds amazing! I love curries! I will surely be trying this sometime soon! However, could you explain what garam masala is in your intro text?

  • Reply
    February 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

    It looks so cheerful and inviting.
    Nigella Lawson makes a bright cheery soup she calls “Happiness Soup” (My take on it: … I love the addition of the chicken in your as well as the Masala. Cannot wait to try this.

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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