Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

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Don’t be intimidated by the name! Chicken mulligatawny soup (pronounced mul·li·ga·taw·ny), which originated in India while the British were ruling it, is full of flavor and very comforting!

So what does mulligatawny mean? Well, the origin of this name is based on the Tamil language. ‘Mullaga’ in Tamil means hot peppers or chillies and ‘thanni’ means water.  So basically mullagathanni means hot pepper water (soup). As legend has it, the British colonists wanted their Indian chefs to make them a soup course. Since in Indian cuisine there wasn’t really a soup category, the cooks decided to water down their ‘mullaga thanni’ and created a soup. Over time, chicken and vegetables came to be added to this. The British relished this dish so much that they took it back with them to England and they continued to mispronounce it until it finally became to be called mulligatawny soup as it’s known today!

There are multiple versions of this soup, both vegetarian (using lentils) and chicken-based. But in essence, all versions contain some basic components – spices and hot peppers, apples, chicken (or lentils), rice and cream. In my AIP version, I used ground chicken (to reduce the cooking time) and cauliflower rice in place of regular rice. I use ginger in both fresh and dried (ground) form to give it a flavor boost. I also like to add a handful of cranberries (as a substitute for tomatoes) to give it some tang! This soup is a perfect one-pot meal for those weeknights when you are really tired and would like a meal that is quick to make and yet comforting!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Mulligatawny Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
  • ½ of a medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb of ground chicken, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1½ cups shredded cabbage (about ¼ of a large cabbage)
  • 6-8 fresh or frozen cranberries (optional)
  • ½ of a green apple, peeled and diced
  • 1½ cups of cauliflower rice fresh or frozen (if using frozen, thaw it beforehand)
  • 5 cups of chicken bone broth (or water)
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 scallions, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Heat a large stockpot and add the coconut oil. Turn heat to medium and add the onion and celery. Saute for 2 minutes and then add the ginger and garlic. Continue sautéing for another 30 seconds.
  2. Next add the ground chicken along with the spices. Stir to mix the chicken with the spices and to break any lumps as the chicken cooks. Continue stir frying for another couple minutes until all of the chicken turns opaque.
  3. Then add the cabbage, green apple, cranberries (if adding) and the cauliflower rice.
  4. Add the bone broth (or the water) and cover and let cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  5. Open the lid and add the coconut milk and stir to mix. Let simmer uncovered for about 2-3 minutes or until the soup achieves a thicker consistency (it won't be very thick or creamy but more stew like).
  6. Turn heat off. Add the scallions, cilantro and the lemon juice. Stir to mix.
  7. Serve soup warm.


About Indira Pulliadath

Indira Pulliadath is a nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP) and an AIP Certified Coach. Before working as a Nutritionist, she worked as a researcher in the healthcare industry for 15 years in the field of pharmacoeconomics. She started exploring healing diets five years ago when she was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The disease pretty much crippled her, progressing very rapidly to all her joints. Over a period of two years, she tried several diets and alternative therapies, which did not help her much. Finally it was the AIP diet that helped to reduce her pain and inflammation greatly. Once she began to get better, she decided to switch careers and become a nutritional therapist so she could help other people. When she is not doing health coaching or researching, she is experimenting in her kitchen! She loves to develop Paleo and AIP versions of her family’s favorite recipes. You can find her recipes on her blog 'Cook2Nourish’ and on her Youtube channel. She is also active on Instagram and Facebook. Indira lives in Connecticut with her husband and two teenage children. As a family they enjoy hiking in the beautiful trails in and around Connecticut.


  • Ann Omega says

    Well, the name was a mouthful until I get a hang of it. But now I can say it pretty fluently and also made it. It was awesome and I made some small changes to meet my family’s requirements. I have the say it was a hit. Maybe the name was what got us all hooked on to it first but now we know the taste is awesome too.

    • Indira Pulliadath says

      Thanks so much for the feedback Ann. Yes the name makes it interesting right! I am so happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed it!

      • Susan says

        I love this soup. I add extra cranberries because I like the hit of tartness and the beautiful color it adds to the soup. Sometimes I add curry powder – it blends well with all the other flavors.

        Thank you for this solid addition to my soup go-to list.

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