I’ve had a cold for a week and all I want is soup. Spicy soup, especially. And the other day a can of coconut milk jumped out of the cupboard (probably literally, as you know if you’ve ever seen how I cram things in there) at me, and I had some chicken breast left over from a roast chicken (I always do, since I really don’t like white meat), and before I knew it, mulligatawny was on its way.
You know mulligatawny, right? It’s the creamy curried soup with chicken and usually rice. In this case, I had root vegetables about and used those instead; it was a nice change from the other ways we’ve been eating them all winter long.
And the soup was just right for this cold-riddled time of year: creamy, spicy, hearty and great for warming you up from the inside out. Even our visiting 5-year old neighbor agreed … while E. & Z. were eating frozen Costco pizza and staring at him in a sort of confused surprise.
A couple of cooking notes:
- I started with cooked leftover chicken, but if yours isn’t cooked, cut it into pieces and brown it well in the first step, removing it before you add the vegetables, and then returning it to the pot to finish cooking in step 4.
- Go ahead and substitute in other vegetables if you like, but make sure they’re mostly of the mild and savory variety for best flavor.
1. In a big pot, heat until rippling:
- 3 T. mild oil (I had some palm oil around, which I used for the flavor. This would also be a good place to use up any ghee or coconut oil you may have.)
- 2 carrots, cut into small-ish dice
- 1 celery root, peeled and cut into small-ish dice
- 2 potatoes, cut into small-ish dice
- 1 onion, cut into small-ish dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- one 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (I was out and added 1 T. ground ginger instead)
3. Stir, then add to it:
- 1 T. curry powder
Which is what I totally would have done if I had had it. Fortunately I had a lot of interesting bits of spices and seeds and things around and got out my awesome molcajete and ground it up instead, using approximately:
- 1 small dried hot pepper
- 1 t. cumin seeds
- 1 t. turmeric
- 1/2 t. coriander seeds
- 1 cardamom pod
4. Add 2 T. water, then cook the vegetable and curry mix over medium-low heat, covered, for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are easily pierced with a fork.
5. Add to the pot:
- 2 c. cooked chicken, cut into pieces about the same size as the vegetables
- 1/2 t. salt
- 4 c. chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water if you must)
Stir well, bring to a boil, then add:
- 1 – 1 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut milk (if you’re calorie-careful you can use the light version of this)
Stir it some more.
6. Ladle into bowls and serve, with fresh cilantro, or apple slices, or lemon wedges, if you like. We had none of these and were just fine.