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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