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Chicken Mulligatawny Soup with Coconut Milk

Chicken mulligatawny soup, a delicious, spicy hot & sour soup with Anglo Indian roots my version features apple, mango chutney & coconut milk.

Black pepper, the king of spices does much of the heavy lifting when it comes to the heat in this recipe and it is tempered beautifully with coconut milk.

Chicken mulligatawny soup with coconut milk.

Anglo-Indian Pepper Water

The name Mulligatawny Soup comes from the Tamil miḷagāy and taṇṇi, which literally translates to pepper water.

This Anglo-Indian version dates back to the time of the British Raj in India, a time that still influences British food greatly.

It is rumoured to be a response to the British demand to start a meal with soup. Although I personally think that shares a common genus with rasam, a delicious South Indian soup.

The Indian influence on British food spread much further than the much-vaunted chicken tikka masala.

Everything from the overstated but very definite love of tea to the Scotch egg, which has its origins in the nargisi kebab, can be traced back to this dark time in British history.

My version of mulligatawny soup uses chicken as the meat, but it is often made with both beef or lamb.

Black pepper is a key driver for both flavour and heat in this recipe. It is strangely an overused and underloved spice, it gets thrown on everything without being considered as a flavour in its own right.

Here it sits front and centre, in much the same way as it does in my Chettinad chicken curry.

It really does have the most wonderfully unique type of heat, very much different to capsaicin found in chilli.

Then we have fruit, both apples and mango chutney, it may sound strange but it just works!

If you like the flavours in this dish, be sure to check out my curried cauliflower soup.

Overhead chicken mulligatawny soup with coconut milk.

Frequently Asked Questions?

How long will this recipe save?

You can save this soup in the fridge for 2-3 days and the flavours will improve over time.

Reheat in a pan over a gentle heat. You should be aware that the apple will break down more if you do this.

Can I scale up this recipe?

Yes, this recipe scales beautifully. There is no real impact on the cooking time although preparation time does increase with extra ingredients.

Can I use chicken breast?

Yes, but chicken breast does not shred as well as leg and it will reduce the overall chicken flavour in the dish.

Can I use a different type of apple?

Yes, I choose Granny Smith apples because they have a tartness which I love in this recipe. But throw in any type of apple and explore the different flavours.

Why do you put the apples in acidulated water?

This is to stop the apples from browning before you add them to the soup.

Close up mulligatawny soup with coconut milk.

Serving Suggestions

Mulligatawny soup often contains rice because it thickens the soup. I am personally not a fan but stirring through a little cooked rice at the end is a nice touch.

A bit of bread with soup is a must and I usually share one of my tandoori naan bread between two when I serve this.

I also like to garnish with a bit of coriander oil made with a neutral oil and some fresh coriander leaves. They add a little acidity to the sweet and spicy soup.

You can turn this idea up to 11 by serving a little bowl of kachumber salad on the side. Diners to stir through as they eat, it works wonderfully.

Anglo Indian chicken mulligatawny soup with coconut milk.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 24cm or 10″ saucepan.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Grater.
  • Apple corer.
  • Vegetable peeler.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Stirring and servings spoons.
Anglo Indian chicken mulligatawny soup with coconut milk.
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Mulligatawny soup is a dish that means many things to many people, my version is an Anglo Indian Chicken soup that is spicy hot with a hint of sweetness.


  • 1 Chicken Leg
  • 20g (½ Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 (35g) Shallot
  • 1 Medium (100g) Tomato
  • 1 Small (50g) Carrot
  • 1 Granny Smiths Apple
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 6 Curry Leaves
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper (Freshly Ground)
  • 1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tsp Gram Flour
  • 500ml (2 Cups) Chicken Stock
  • 200ml (7oz) Tin Coconut Milk
  • ½ Tsp Salt (Plus extra to season the chicken)
  • 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Mango Chutney


  1. Peel and mash the garlic cloves into a paste.
  2. Peel and grate the ginger and mix it in a bowl with the mashed garlic.
  3. Cut the shallot in half lengthways, then peel and chop it as finely as you can.
  4. Cut the carrot into a 3-4mm dice.
  5. Chop the tomato into a 5mm dice.
  6. Peel and core the apple then cut it into a 5mm dice, place the apple into acidulated water (lemon juice and water mix) to prevent it from browning.
  7. Slit the green chilli in half lengthways.
  8. Heat a heavy-based saucepan (24cm or 10") over a medium-high heat and add the ghee when it is hot.
  9. Season the chicken then place it in the pan and brown on both sides, this will take about 2-3 minutes on each side, then remove and set aside.
  10. Add the curry leaves, slit green chilli, and cinnamon stick and cook for 60 seconds.
  11. Add the garlic and ginger, chopped shallot, carrot, mustard seeds, black pepper and fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes stirring regularly.
  12. Toss in the diced tomato, tomato paste and gram flour and cook for a further minute stirring continuously.
  13. Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk and stir to combine.
  14. Add the salt, turmeric, dried fenugreek leaves and diced apple and mix.
  15. Drop in the chicken leg, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.
  16. Remove the chicken leg, remove and discard the skin and then shred the meat before returning it to the pan.
  17. Stir in the mango chutney and simmer for a final 5 minutes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 768Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 30gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 1028mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 8gSugar: 23gProtein: 42g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Friday 29th of May 2020

Quick question. Are your tablespoons equal to 3 or 4 teaspoons, please? In Australia it's 4, but other places it's 3.


Tuesday 2nd of June 2020

@Brian Jones, Very tasty soup, but goodness it's pepper-hot when you use 20 ml tablespoons :)

Brian Jones

Monday 1st of June 2020

You learn something new every day, it is 3tsp to a tablespoon here, 5ml and 15ml respectively.


Tuesday 12th of March 2019

I have been eating mulligatawny soup since I was big enough to lift the can out of grandma’s cupboard. I have made mulligatawny soup before but never with chicken. My father served in Burma and along the northern west frontier of India during WW2 and as you say, he brought back a love of all things spicey. Ground beef or lamb was always used and always, always with the addition of basmati rice. Never had it with mint sauce either although I can see how that would go well with lamb. Your version looks amazing and I am looking forward to making it tonight. Thank you.

Brian Jones

Thursday 14th of March 2019

Thanks Len... I guess chicken in a Mulligatawny soup is something that I was always bought up with, the mint is a north Indian influence in what was originally a southern Indian inspired dish. Hope you enjoy!


Monday 17th of December 2018

Oops! I just read the above explanation concerning the mint sauce. Sorry to trouble you.

Brian Jones

Tuesday 18th of December 2018

No problem at all Scott. Enjoy :)


Monday 17th of December 2018

Looking forward to making this! I’m in the States, so maybe that’s why I don’t know what you mean when you call for mint sauce. How can I procure it? Thank you kindly!


Sunday 3rd of June 2018

Great recipe and I love the pictures too. Beautiful. I have made rasam quite a few times but it’s the Sri Lankan style and it’s soooo delicious and as you say it’s best when going through illness, cold or flu in particular. The best antibiotic one should try when trying to get well. I have never added mint sauce, that definitely an interesting addition that I must try. Thank you for sharing this lovely and delicious recipe.

Brian Jones

Monday 4th of June 2018

I've never tried Rasam I have it on my list to try this winter :D

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