Healthy Chicken and Veggie Mulligatawny Stew

A word of advice: you’ll want to use the big shopping cart when you pick up your ingredients for this flavor-packed recipe!

Vertical image of a thick orange stew with yogurt and green garnish, with text on the bottom and top of the image.

Healthy and comforting mulligatawny stew is an aromatic curry-style dish with a colorful, dynamic mix of chicken, fruits, veggies, and spices.

Translated from the Tamil language as “pepper-water” or “chili-water,” it is an English recipe with South Indian origins.

Vertical image of a bowl of thick stew in a white bowl, next to fresh vegetables.

We give it a few nutrient-rich updates, using brown rice and pulses instead of white rice, and a tangy yogurt topping instead of heavy cream.

Plus, you can adjust the spices to suit your tastes. We use a combo of ground ginger, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder. While you can buy premade curry powder, we suggest making your own!

Vertical close-up image of garnishes on an orange stew in a white bowl.

The stew tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have had time to mingle a little more in the fridge. And it freezes well in airtight containers, so you can enjoy a bowlful any time you like.

Guaranteed to warm you up on a winter day or fill your tummy during the summer, this soup pairs perfectly with naan, a small plate of cool, sliced cucumbers, and a chilled glass of India pale ale.

Vertical top-down image of one white bowl with a thick soup and garnishes, next to carrots, spices, and tomatoes.

Make the recipe now, and you’ll feel happy and satisfied with a big bowlful sitting right in front of you!

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Horizontal image of a white bowl with a thick orange vegetable and meat stew next to spoons, assorted vegetables and fruits, and another bowl of stew.

Healthy Chicken and Veggie Mulligatawny Stew


  • Author: Lorna Kring
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Healthy and comforting mulligatawny stew is an aromatic recipe with a dynamic mix of chicken, fresh fruits and veggies, and spices.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped in bite-sized cubes
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup split peas
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • Carrot leaves or cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot on medium-high heat. Add the chicken. Cook and flip until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Add all of the spices. Stir to combine, and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the apples, tomatoes, rice, lentils, and split peas.
  5. Pour the chicken stock into the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the coconut milk. Cover and continue simmering another 15 minutes, or until the stew has thickened significantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a dollop of yogurt and carrot leaves or cilantro, and serve.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: English/Indian

Keywords: English cuisine, Indian cuisine, stew, soup, mulligatawny, chicken, curry, comfort food

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Horizontal image of a wooden cutting board with prepared and chopped ingredients.

With a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board, chop the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, garlic, apples, and tomatoes. You might need our advice to lose those tears when cutting onions.

Slice the boneless, skinless chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.

Measure the olive oil, lentils, peas, rice, chicken stock, and yogurt.

Set out the salt and pepper. Get out your pepper mill for the best fresh-cracked flavor!

If using whole carrots with the leaves still attached, reserve some of the leaves to use as a final garnish. No leaves? Substitute fresh cilantro instead for the garnish.

Step 2 – Brown the Chicken

Horizontal image of cooking chopped chicken in a pot.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot on medium-high heat. Add the chicken, cooking until browned on the outside, flipping the pieces occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Egad! You dropped the chicken!!! Don’t fret, learn what to do in this slippery situation.

You’ll need a large soup pot – make sure it is large enough before you start. You don’t want overflow if you can avoid it (been there, done that).

Step 3 – Brown the Veggies

Horizontal image of assorted vegetables and chopped chicken in a pot.

Add the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes until browned, stirring frequently.

Step 4 – Add the Spices and Remaining Dry Ingredients

Horizontal image of a pot filled with chicken and vegetables on a brown napkin.

Add all of the spices and saute for another two minutes, stirring frequently.

Mix in the apples, tomatoes, lentils, split peas, and rice.

Step 5 – Add Stock and Simmer

Horizontal image of a pot with an orange liquid and chopped ingredients mixed by a wooden spoon.

Pour the chicken stock into the pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ever thought of making your own stock from scratch? It’s easy, and we can help you with our homemade stock recipes.

Step 6 – Add Coconut Milk and Simmer

Horizontal image of a thickened orange stew in a metal pot mixed by a wooden spoon on a brown towel.
The Made In Stockpot is the perfect cookware for a big batch of stew!

Stir in the coconut milk. Cover and continue simmering another 15 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened significantly.

Step 7 – Garnish and Serve

Horizontal top-down image of two bowls of thick orange stew with garnishes, next to carrots.

Once the stew is thick and ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with a small dollop of yogurt, and some carrot leaves or cilantro. Serve while warm.

Carrot leaves are edible! And pretty! They provide a fresh, lightly bitter garnish to this hearty dish.

Don’t Let the Ingredient List Scare You

While the looooong list of ingredients may seem a bit overwhelming at first, this recipe is actually really easy to make!

Once the initial prep of chopping the fruits, veggies, and chicken is done, you only need a large pot to do all the cooking.

See? Easy.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with a thick orange vegetable and meat stew next to spoons, assorted vegetables and fruits, and another bowl of stew.

Have any of you made this comforting English dish before? What ingredients and spices do you like to use? Comment below! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

If you want a change of pace with your soups and stews, then explore some of our other recipes:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 1, 2015. Last updated: August 23, 2019 at 17:36 pm. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Lorna Kring

Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.

15 thoughts on “Healthy Chicken and Veggie Mulligatawny Stew”

  1. I remember hearing mulligatawny on that soup episode of Seinfeld, but forgot about it. Glad I came by this site today and read this receipt! Looks good and happy to hear it goes well with IPA =) I will happily try this healthy version out tomorrow!

    • Hahaha… the Seinfeld soup episode, a classic. Yes, IPA is a lovely beverage for this mulligatawny soup… and let us know what you think after you’ve sampled the recipe.

  2. I’ve heard of Mulligatawny Soup, but have never tasted it. I thought it would be more like beef stew, but this is totally different. This sounds very tasty, as well as healthy. I love that it contains a variety of vegetables, spices, and even apple and yogurt, so it doesn’t even need a side dish, other than some bread.

    • It’s very tasty Diane, and even though it’s filling I always seem to go for seconds! Perfect with a side of bread…

  3. I have always wondered how to make a tasty Mulligatawny soup and this looks and sounds wonderful. I love the mixture of spices, lentils, split peas and rice, along with the veg. I am thinking that I could replace the dairy with oil and soya yoghurt and perhaps the chicken with soya chunks (TVP put in towards the end) or simply omit completely to make a vegetarian version of the soup. I shall have to have a play next week. A tasty homemade sourdough with some parsley and roasted garlic in it would compliment the soup nicely I think.

    Sadly for some reason I am getting a proxy error message when I try to print the recipe out via your print option.

    I get the following, when I try to print (Sucuri WebSite Firewall – CloudProxy – Access Denied

    • Connie, thanks for the heads up about the print issue. We’ve been running through Sucuri’s Cloud Proxy for the past month or so and are still working out the kinks. The service scans our site for hacking and the proxy also helps to confuse automated hacking attempts and mitigates ddos attacks. It’s also significantly sped up the speed of the site (as it offloads some of the server functions onto another).

      Anyhow, I’ll try to get this fixed in the next day or two.

      Cheers

      Lynne

    • It is a big, wonderful spicy combination of flavors, but not overwhelming at all – and roasted garlic would be a fantastic side dish with some bread. And I think you non-dairy substitutes would work well indeed… if you try it out with the non-dairy, let us know how it turns out for you.

  4. I’m another one who heard of mulligatawny via Seinfeld. It always sounded quite tasty, so I appreciate finding a healthy version of the recipe here. It sounds perfect for a chilly day because it’s so hearty. I’ll definitely have to try it out!

  5. Wow, the mulligatawny soup we havein the UK is nothing like this. Our version is pretty similar to minestrone really, with rice replacing the pasta and, of course, a good dose of spices. This version looks amazing though, it’s almost like a chicken curry but not quite! A plain naan brad would be just the ticket with this.

    • I think there’s as many versions of mulligatawny as there are people who make it… but this one definately has the curry chicken overtones to it, and naan bread is an ideal accompaniment.

  6. I have never heard of this soup before. Adding apples to this dish is interesting. I love watching Seinfeld when I catch it on TV but I must have missed this episode everyone here is talking about. As I was reading this recipe, I was trying to figure out how to pronounce mulligatawny. I think I have gotten a bit tongue tied on this word.

    • When you do catch the Seinfeld episode, you’ll understand why it sticks in everyone’s mind – it’s pretty funny! And it’s pronounced mull-i-GA-tawny… a mouthful to be sure, but with a big flavor to match.

  7. I tried this soup at a swanky health food restaurant in downtown Sacramento. It was the best soup of my life. They served it with mozzarella instead of yogurt as a topper. The mozzarella was melty and gooey, absolutely divine. I will attempt this recreation at home.

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