Mulligatawny is an Anglo-Indian soup which translates literally from Tamil “Mulligatawny” or “Milagu thanni” to “pepper water”; With “Millagu” meaning pepper and “thanni” meaning water.

This is a rich and delicious soup, full of flavour and the sweetness of the apple is a divine.

Interesting, Dr. Seuss used the term to refer to a fanciful creature in his book If I Ran the Zoo. The young wannabe zookeeper says, “I’ll capture them wild and I’ll capture them scrawny, I’ll capture a scraggle-foot mulligatawny”.


  • 1 brown onion – diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs curry powder – I used Clive of India
  • 1L chicken stock – bought or homemade if you have the time. I recommend Campbells
  • 360g chicken thighs – trimmed and halved
  • 1 granny smith apple peeled and finely grated
  • 2/3 of a cup of red lentils OR a two person serve of 90 second microwave brown rice
  • 270ml can of lite coconut milk or coconut evaporated milk
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • Fresh coriander leaves and cracked black pepper to serve
  • Optional: naan or pappadums to serve


  1. Heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened and slightly translucent.
  3. Add curry powder and cook until fragrant. This will take around 30 seconds. The point of doing this is to release the flavours from the spices as they toast. Many are activated by heat and not toasting them will result in a dull flavour.
  4. Add the chicken and turn to coat and brown.
  5. Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken, place in a bowl and shred using a fork.
  7. Return the chicken to the pot and add the apple, lentils/rice and coconut milk.
  8. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  9. Add the lemon juice, ladle into bowls and top with coriander leaves and freshly cracked black pepper.



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