This thick, spicy & fruity soup soup brims with exotic herbs and spices, and yet feels deeply comforting and homey, making it the perfect meal to cook for a loved one recovering from an illness or undergoing cancer treatment. (Or for anyone seeking a bowl of soothing, delicious nourishment.)

The exact origins of mulligatawny are murky, but it is believed to have originated in the southern regions of India. The traditional Indian version of the soup consisted of a spicy broth flavored with pepper, tamarind, and various spices, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek. During the British colonial era, mulligatawny became a popular soup in British cuisine. The British adapted the original Indian recipe to suit their taste preferences, incorporating ingredients such as chicken or lamb, vegetables, rice, and sometimes apples.

Feel free to play around with this recipe, using different types of meat (or omitting meat and replacing chicken bone broth with vegetable broth for a vegetarian or vegan version), adding a little rice (or replacing lentils with rice), adding some coconut milk at the final seasoning and accompanying it with fresh, naan-style flatbread.

Mulligatawny (Spiced Chicken & Apple Soup)

Keyword: Dairy-Free (or can be), Gluten-Free (or can be), Instant Pot, Legumes, Low-Carb, Meat & Chicken, Soups & Stews, Vegan (or can be), Vegetarian (or can be)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 360kcal
Fragrant, satiating and deeply comforting
Print Recipe


  • 1 Presure cooker or Instant Pot You can cook this on a stove top, too; it will take about 45 minutes' cooking time


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds, whole
  • 1 tbsp ginger root freshly grated; 1 tbs[ = about 1 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 tbsp turmeric root freshly grated; 1 tbsp = about 1 inch fresh turmeric root; if unavailable, use 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced; 4-5 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes quartered
  • 1 large carrot finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery finely diced
  • 1 small sweet potato peeled & diced
  • 1 apple peeled, cored & diced
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 6 cups chicken bone broth homemade or store bought
  • pound chicken thigh meat skinless & boneless
  • 1 lime juiced
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt, whole milk
  • ½ cup cilantro coarsely chopped
  • red pepper flakes to garnish


  • Heat the Instant Pot insert on MEDIUM and add oil. Add mustard seeds and let these sizzl;e for 1 minute, or until they begin to crackle & pop. Add minced ginger, turmeric & garlic, stir to combine and saute for 30 seconds. Then add cumin, coriander & curry powder and saute for another 30 seconds, stirring.
  • Add the chopped onion and tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and saute 3-4 minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
  • Add carrot, celery, sweet potato, apple and lentils and stir to combine. Add chicken bone broth and stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken thighs to the mixture in the pot and submerge in the broth. Lock the lid and program to cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 15 minutes; make sure the pressure valve is pointing to SEALING.
  • Once the cooking time is up, let sit for 10 minutes, then let out the rest of the pressure by shifting the pressure valve to VENTING.
  • Using tongs, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate, shred them with two forks and return them to the soup.
  • Season to taste with lime juice, salt & pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and accompany iwth Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro.
  • Keeps in a tightly sealed container for 4-5 days in the fridge; freezes well.


Serving: 1.5cup | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 629mg | Potassium: 772mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 5405IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 3mg