Indian Spiced Red Lentil & Chicken Soup
This red lentil and chicken soup is a quick and easy version of Mulligatawny, the curry flavored soup popular in Anglo-Indian cuisine. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you might remember it as Kramer’s favorite soup from the infamous Soup Nazi. Made with a rotisserie chicken and canned coconut milk, it’s a one-pot supper that you can have on the table in 45 minutes (or less, if you’re lazy like me and use a food processor to chop the vegetables). A little heads up: don’t skip the garnishes. The fresh cilantro and lime brighten up the flavor and add a much needed pop of color. To make the dish a little heartier, sometimes I like to serve it with a scoop of basmati rice. But, really, store-bought or homemade naan is all you need to complete the meal.
Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients. It’s important to use red lentils, as opposed to another variety; they cook quickly, add wonderful flavor and thicken the soup nicely. They won’t hold their shape once cooked — that’s okay, they are intended to break down and give the soup a hearty texture. And Garam Masala is a fragrant Indian spice blend typically containing peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. It’s available at most large grocery stores (McCormick makes it as part of their Gourmet Collection), but if your regular supermarket does not carry it, you can always find it at Whole Foods or just substitute curry powder.
Begin by chopping the vegetables and apple. I use a food processor; if you do the same, be sure to roughly chop the vegetables first, so that they process evenly. And be sure process only until the mixture is roughly chopped, not puréed.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the Garam Masala and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the vegetable/apple mixture.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is softened.
Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, lentils, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender and starting to break down.
Stir in the chicken and fresh lime, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle generously with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
This recipe is adapted from Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.
Indian Spiced Red Lentil & Chicken Soup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon garam masala (curry powder is a fine substitute)
- 3 medium carrots, diced into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 tart-yet-sweet apple, such as Honeycrisp or Fuji, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth, best quality such as Swanson
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded, skinless cooked chicken, from a store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftovers
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 6 lime wedges, for serving (you'll need 2-3 limes)
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garam masala and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the chopped carrots, onions, apples, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 7-8 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, red lentils, ginger and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and starting to break down.
- Add the cooked chicken and 1 tablespoon lime juice, and heat until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, more lime juice and cayenne pepper, if desired. Serve the soup generously sprinkled with fresh chopped cilantro, with lime wedges on the side.
- Note: The soup will thicken as it sits. Add more chicken broth to thin it out if necessary.
- Per serving (6 servings)
- Calories: 367
- Fat: 16g
- Saturated fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 35g
- Sugar: 7g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 22g
- Sodium: 434mg
- Cholesterol: 35mg
Reviews & Comments
Hungry for ?
Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter — where I share new recipes and seasonal menus for every occasion.
Your email address will never be used for any other purpose.
Curious? See a sample newsletter.