A Spicy Perspective

Healthy Mulligatawny Soup

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Healthy Mulligatawny Soup Recipe –  Our lighter Mulligatawny recipe is made with coconut milk and vibrant spices for a rich, bold, and healthy chicken curry soup!

Serving of this healthy chicken curry soup recipe in a bowl

Solid Family Dinner Idea

Friends you can rely on are an essential part of living “the good life”. If they happen to be able to cook… Bonus!

Our close friends came to stay with us for over a month. They have gone home, but not without leaving their mark. 

During their visit, I was introduced to Healthy Mulligatawny Soup, and it has been one of our family’s favorite meals ever since.

Top view of the sauce pot and serving bowls topped with sliced almonds

What is Mulligatawny Soup?

Incredibly vibrant but not too heavy, Mulligatawny Soup has the bright flavors and many of the same ingredients of traditional Indian curry, but is enjoyed as a lighter, creamy soup that is perfect for the spring and summer.

It is a British soup with roots in southern India, and it literally means “Pepper Water” in Tamil. My friend and now former houseguest, Bethany, made us a lovely rich version with cream, but after researching this soup a bit, I discovered there are many varieties. Some are brothy, and some thick. Colors also vary from recipe to recipe. But the key ingredients are veggies, rice, protein, and curry powder.

Metal spoon showing off the soup recipe topped with almonds and parsley

Funny About Food Textures?

Although my husband loved the flavors and the idea of Bethany’s authentic Mulligatawny Soup recipe, he was not at all a fan of the silky cream consistency.

Let me explain: My husband, Lt. Dan, has a weird hangup about heavy cream. It’s a texture thing. He doesn’t like how it coats his tongue.

And if it’s frothy? Dear Lord, we’ve got a real problem on our hands!

I once saw my easy-going husband unleash his full wrath on an unsuspecting coffee barrister, who forgot he had requested NO FOAM! Clearly, he was having a rough morning. Poor girl. (I think he still feels shameful over that.)

Generally, I indulge his quirky food preferences, even though he knows full-well not to unleash wrath on me.

Therefore, I’ve tweaked the recipe to have a slightly brothier mouth-feel, instead of a heavier creamy texture. This not only accommodates Lt. Dan, it makes this soup recipe a lighter leaner version of the original, so you can enjoy it whenever you want. 

Cutting board covered with the cut up ingredients to make mulligatawny soup

What Ingredients You Will Need 

I took my friend’s Mulligatawny recipe and tweaked it a bit, substituting lite coconut milk for the traditional heavy cream. I also added a few extra ingredients to compensate for the thinner texture.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • Butter – or oil for dairy-free
  • Onionchopped
  • Celerychopped
  • Carrotschopped
  • Applespeeled and chopped
  • Freshly Grated Ginger
  • All-Purpose Flouror potato starch for a gluten-free version
  • Madras Curry Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chicken Stock
  • Uncooked Basmati Riceoptional if you prefer lower-carb
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breastschopped
  • Light Coconut Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cilantro and Sliced Almondsto garnish

Because it is lower in fat and can be easily made gluten-free and low-carb, you’ll feel good about serving this Healthy Mulligatawny Soup to your family.

Top view of the sauce pot browning the onions, vegetables and apples

How to Make Easy Mulligatawny Soup

The spices, coconut milk, green apples, and fresh ginger create a wealth of fragrance and flavor usually only found in a curry that has cooked down all day – BUT our recipe only takes about 30 minutes to make.

Healthy Mulligatawny makes a wonderfully quick midweek dinner and tastes just as good, if not better, on days two and three!

Here are the simple steps:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and sauté the onions, celery, carrots, apple, and ginger for several minutes while stirring occasionally.
  2. Next, mix in the flour, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. After a few more minutes add in the chicken stock, chopped chicken, and salt.
  3. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. The rice should become tender and the chicken cooked through.
  4. Lastly, stir in the light coconut milk. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with cilantro and sliced almonds.

My Healthy Mulligatawny variation turned out beautifully, and I am sure your family will also love this recipe!

Sauce pot with the browned ingredients mixed in with some broth and other liquids

Get the Complete (Printable) Healthy Mulligatawny Soup Recipe + Video Below. Enjoy!

Finished recipe ready for serving in these white ceramic bowls

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Do I Store Soup Leftovers?

Leftovers will keep well stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

Do I Use Cooked Rice or Dried Rice? 

Use dried rice… It will cook through as the soup simmers. 

Why Is It Called Mulligatawny? 

The name comes from the Tamil language where it is a combination of two of their words. ‘Milagu’ stands for pepper and ‘Tunes’ means water, so together this recipe is known as “pepper water”. 

What Are Some Substitutions I Can Make For This Recipe? 

To make this recipe vegetarian you can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and canned chickpeas instead of chicken. 

To make this recipe dairy-free, use oil instead of butter. 

If you don’t want to use apples, you can use potatoes or turnips instead.

If you want to omit the rice, you can add in lentils instead. 

Can I Freeze This Soup?

Yes, you can, and it will last in an airtight container for up to 3 months. For best results, store this in the freezer without the rice and coconut milk, and add them in when you are reheating. 

Close up view of this soup and the ingredients that are in it

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Healthy Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Healthy Mulligatawny Soup –  Our lighter Mulligatawny recipe is made with coconut milk and vibrant spices for a rich, bold, and healthy chicken curry soup!
Servings: 6



  • Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, apples and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes—stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in the flour, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir another 3-5 minutes, then add the chicken stock, rice, chopped chicken, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the chicken has cooked through.
  • Add the coconut milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with toasted almonds or cilantro!



Leftovers will keep well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1cup, Calories: 366kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 613mg, Potassium: 864mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 3635IU, Vitamin C: 7.7mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 2.1mg
Course: Healthy, Soup
Cuisine: English, Indian
Author: Sommer Collier

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62 comments on “Healthy Mulligatawny Soup”

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  2. Getting ready to make this—do you mean cooked rice or raw? Thanks!

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  8. I made these last week! Absolutely delicious! Thank you , ???

  9. One of my favorite soups that I don’t get nearly enough. Would be amazing today with our wind and rain.

  10. Looks great, though I’ll have to reverse-engineer it to remove the coconut milk. My wife has an allergy.

    The first time I had Mulligatawny soup was in RI many years ago. We asked the waitress, She described the soup — said it is traditionally made with squirrel, but that they used chicken. My wife & I both enjoyed it.

  11. This sounds very much like my kind of soup. Yum!

  12. Well done Sommer! The sacrifices we make for our beloveds, huh? Whether it's foregoing the cream or skipping the mushrooms, we have to suffer somehow. :) great job on the soup. It looks fantastic.

  13. Wonderful soup and I like the replacement of cream with coconut milk here. Your dialog about your hubby is too funny :) Fantastic looking soup, and imagine delightfully flavorful…

  14. That looks gorgeous, I love soup with coconut milk. It makes it so aromatic.

  15. So funny! My husband has quirky food things like this too – all about texture. And personally, I'm not a huge fan of heavy soups, so I love that you thinned this one a bit. I'll hav eto try your yummy sounding version!

  16. what a perfect soup for the nice fall weather we are enjoying! I think the coconut milk was a great addition, I am sure it enhanced the flavors!

  17. One of my favorite soups of all time. The substitution is perfect! You can wear the "good wife" star.

  18. This soup looks delicious! I love recipe sharing friends…they always make for the best visitors :)

  19. I love the use of coconut milk! definitely entering into soup weather here !

  20. A deliciously comforting soup! Lovely!



  21. This is a great version of the soup (I know I'm late in commenting!) — I really like how you don't use cream (cream makes me sick). And the photos–yours just keep getting better!

  22. I'd never heard of this, but it looks great. Love the coconut milk! And congrats on the Top 9!

  23. beautiful and delicious soup!

  24. Smart… I would never have thought to sub coconut milk for cream. Lucky hubby!

  25. looks great and I am with Nirmala sambar would be great my hubby is South Indian call or email me anytime Rebecca

  26. I love Indian soups. They are very warming. If you have not tried sambar, it would work for your husband. No cream!

  27. I love this time of year- it's the perfect soup weather! I recently made tortellini sausage soup, but your soup looks WAY better!

  28. The prospect of an apple in soup sounds so weird but I bet it's delicious! Oh, and I love the color of this soup!

  29. I've been craving Indian food and had a coconut chicken curry this past weekend! I think the coconut milk is a wonderful addition to Mulligatawny soup!

  30. mmmm that looks delicious and so healthy :) Great post!

  31. The toasted almonds on top sound like such a great departure from expected soup texture. It looks delicious.

  32. delicious healthy soup

  33. Great substitutions! This looks delicious! Glad you had a nice time with your friends!

  34. Oh my! I haven't had mulligatawny soup in years!! I prefer the thinner brothy version too, without too much rice. This looks fabulous Sommer!

  35. Very well presented..you know classic indian stuff!
    Soup bowl looks really comforting !

  36. Haddock~ BETTER is always tricky, because it depends on individual preference. I do think some people refer to rasam as red mulligatawny soup (with lentils.) This version doesn't have nearly as much acidity as the rasam I've had!

  37. Good choice Sommer, not only to please your husband but me…I LOVE cream but it upsets my stomach terribly (reason why I practically can't eat desserts…only a teaspoon, to try them..I imagine the pleasure!)

  38. All the ingredients that has gone into it are good for health.
    Does this taste something like rasam? or better ?

  39. Loved the spices and flavor you have used in the soup! Guess I can tweak it a bit with vegetables and try it out…Thanks for sharing :)

  40. Absolutely delicious…. and doesn't like cream? Too funny! Thanks for the recipe – Megan

  41. great soup, I have not heard of wonderful delight, but so glad you shared…aren't hubbys great? lol

  42. I feel like I've had mulligatawny soup before but can't remember when or where! I think it was the creamy version though. I like this non-creamy version and using cocunut milk as a sub. Plus, it's really fun to say "mulligatawny"!

  43. It looks and sounds delicious! I can sure do with a bowl right now as it is raining cats and dogs outside.

  44. Coconut milk instead of cream is a definite winning idea on your part, thanks for sharing a lighter option, my son loves this soup and I will pass on your link to him, thanks:)

  45. I have never heard of this soup either but it sounds and looks amazing! Love your substitutions, even though I usually have no problems with cream ;o)

  46. for some reason, i havent been brave enough to make indian food yet. I just dont feel confident! this looks amazing though!

  47. This soup looks beautiful! I like that you substituted lighter options for it too. :)

  48. I love soups! This really looks fantastic and the colors really pop out of the pictures!

  49. yum!! i may have told you, but there were several recipes i looked at before settling on the one we usually use – and that was only b/c i could find all the ingredients in japan. i'll have to try this version! i feel honored – in the blog TWICE! :)

  50. Yum, Sommer, your version of the soup looks wonderful! Ooh, and if your husband feels like there is a coating on his mucosa after eating cream, he could actually be experiencing an allergic reaction. It sounds like it… I suppose he could just hate the feeling though (smile)!

  51. What a lovely soup, I love your substitution of coconut milk!

  52. I love this soup and your recipe for it simply must be tried. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  53. I love mulligatawny. Great job!

  54. Coconut milk … very inspired. Thanks!

  55. I think that recipe sounds wonderful! You made me laugh with the texture story. Cute!

  56. A beautiful comforting soup!!

  57. Mulligatawny Soup….that's something completely new to me. But coconut milk…you can't go wrong with it.

  58. Lucky him. He has a wife that not only is listening to his wishes but she is capable of delivering with perfect results. I love your twist on the soup.

  59. He's one lucky man. These colors are also popping!

  60. This sounds so cool…and looks totally scrumptious! :D

    Did I just use the word "scrumptious"?

  61. I love how you used coconut milk instead of cream…I bet it added a lovely flavor to your soup. I'm not a big fan of cream either, so I would have loved this!