Sunday, June 22, 2014

Turkey Mulligatawny (#RecipeRedux)

I love the word mulligatawny. It is a perfect sounding phrase for the dish it describes - a thick curried soup packed with what seems like everything in the kitchen - including apples! I can just imagine the first cooks creating this rich, fragrant potage - "Delicious! Now what do we call it?", and eventually calling on the creativity of a child to come up with the title (actually, mulligatawny translates to “pepper water” in Tamil).

My mom is as much of a fan of eating mulligatawny as I am of saying it. Like all good recipes, this soup has various incarnations depending on the location, the flavour preferences and the pantry staples of whoever is making it. I've only ever had it once, and it was a spicy-sweet, slightly brothy bowl laced with tomatoes, chickpeas and caramelized onions. My mom, on the other hand, covets a modified version of an ancient Joy of Cooking recipe that uses heavy cream, yoghurt and a curry-flour and butter roux to add rich body, uses thyme along with the apples and has the option of chicken or lamb as the protein. Oddly enough, most of the recipes these days (including mine) now use coconut milk, and the amount of tongue-searing chiles is reduced. I'm also hard pressed to find a modern recipe that uses apples at all, which is a shame since to me that was a major aspect of the whole uniqueness of the dish! 

Turkey Mulligatawny

Since my mom was craving (one of her many) favourite soup last week, I decided to try a whole new combination of flavours in this mulligatawny. Since we had no chicken in the house (not counting my sister's chicken nuggets), I broke out a bag of leftover turkey meat from Easter and tossed in lentils, rice and coconut milk for a creamy texture. I kept the heat level of the spices moderately high since there was so much other stuff to buffer them, and added a hint of extra colour to my masala with dried calendula petals (AKA poor man's saffron) from my plant last year. The major change I wound up making was in the apple addition - I had forgotten to pick up apples on my last shopping trip, but I did have homemade, unsweetened applesauce. Since I knew the whole mixture would be pureed regardless, I just used what I had, and it worked brilliantly (if I do say so myself!). After simmering for an hour or so, I simply pureed the base and stirred in the turkey, cilantro and lime juice for a little zing and texture.

As you can see, the finished soup is vibrant and hearty - and the flavours it showcases are even more so. Although Summer has just arrived, a bowl of this makes a wonderful dinner on the patio when the sun has gone down and the heat of the day is waning.

This month's #RecipeRedux is featuring floral flavours, from rosewater to nasturtiums to calendula and saffron. Enjoy all the unique and healthy creations!


Turkey Mulligatawny  
Serves 10
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped finely
1 large carrot, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne
2 tsp turmeric
6 cups gluten-free, low sodium chicken broth (or homemade turkey stock)
3 cups water
1 tsp dried calendula petals
1 ½ cups red lentils, yellow split peas, or a mix
1 cup brown Basmati rice
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
1 can (14 oz) unsweetened canned coconut milk (lite is fine), well shaken
¼ cup lime juice
2 cups chopped cooked turkey (I used a mix of light and dark)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 
  1. Melt oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot (I used a cast iron Dutch oven) over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger, and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and turmeric. Cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add the broth, water and calendula.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil and add the lentils, rice and applesauce.
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. With an immersion blender (or in batches with a standard blender), puree until smooth.
  8. Add cilantro, coconut milk, lime juice and turkey meat. Place back over medium heat.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 337.4
Total Fat: 11.2 g
Cholesterol: 19.3 mg
Sodium: 388.1 mg
Total Carbs: 38.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.6 g
Protein: 19.4 g