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Chef John's Mulligatawny Soup

Chef John's take on classic mulligatawny soup provides aromatic, comforting, hearty flavor thanks to chicken thighs, potatoes, veggies, and an array of spices.
Makes:6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1¼ cups boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
  • ½ cup seeded and diced tomato
  • 2 small Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and diced
  • ½ cup dry red lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons coconut cream
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
  • ¼ cup sliced green onion, or to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste


Prep:30 mCook:70 mReady:1 h 40 m
  1. Gather all ingredients.
  2. Melt butter and oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken thighs and season with salt; let brown for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and brown on opposite side, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  3. While chicken browns, combine curry powder, garam masala, cumin, black pepper, ground mustard, coriander, and cayenne in a small bowl.
  4. Remove browned chicken from the pot and transfer to a plate to cool enough to handle; roughly chop or shred.
  5. While chicken cools, reduce heat to medium and add spice blend to pot; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and ginger; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and cook, stirring, until onions turn translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Stir in tomato paste and continue to cook for 3 minutes more.
  7. Stir in potatoes, tomatoes, and apples. Add red lentils, bay leaf, and tamarind paste.
  8. Pour in chicken broth, stir, and raise heat to high; add coconut cream. Bring to a simmer. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  9. Stir chopped chicken and any accumulated juices into the soup. Continue to let simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fully cooked, lentils are tender, and soup has thickened, 20 to 30 minutes more. Taste and adjust as needed.
  10. Serve in warm bowls topped with Greek yogurt, cilantro, and scallions. Sprinkle with red chili flakes.

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