Sunday, February 12, 2012

Spicy Mulligatawny

The title of this recipe is actually redundant; mulligatawny is a curry-flavored soup from India, which literally translates as "pepper water," so any version ought to be spicy.  If you don't like food quite so spicy, cut the curry powder, ginger, and red pepper amounts in half.  You can also control the level of heat depending what variety of mango chutney you buy.  I recommend Geeta's brand (certified by the U.K.'s Vegan Society), which sells mango chutney from mild to hot.  I chose the halfway ground and used their medium variety.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 2 Gardein Tuscan chicken breasts (without sauce)
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped Gala apple*
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 28 ounces vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 1/3 cup mango chutney
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional for garnish)
1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan; saute for 3 minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the pan.  Add the apple, onion, carrot, celery, and green bell pepper; saute for 5 minutes.  Stir in the flour, curry powder, ginger, crushed red pepper, and salt.  Cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the chicken broth, chutney, and tomato paste; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for a final 2 minutes.  I liked sprinkling individual servings with just a touch of chopped parsley for a fresh burst of flavor (and color). 

Serve with pita wedges on the side to round out the meal.

For a cooling dessert after all those spices, I served vegan vanilla ice cream topped with simple sauteed pears: toss 2 cups sliced and peeled pear with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.  Melt 1 tablespoon vegan butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pear and saute for 6 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons vegan brown sugar.  Scoop your favorite vegan vanilla into dessert bowls (I like Soy Delicious); top with the pear mixture and crumbled gingersnap cookies (such as Mi-del). 

*A sweet apple like Gala is a nice foil to the spicy soup. Any other sweet variety, such as Braeburn, would also work.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 and 1/4 cups), Calories 236 

Tasting Notes:
This soup had exactly the kind of heat I like - not a burn on the tongue (my gripe sometimes with Mexican cuisine), but a warmth that grows from the inside out, slowly warming down the throat until you might actually pop a sweat.  The tender sweet apple was marvelously unexpected, and the sweet chutney and savory tomato balanced one another perfectly in the broth.  The broth is a touch thin, so I might puree half of the soup next time with a hand-held blender, to add thickness to the body.  I would also chop the celery and carrot very fine, so they are more tender.  Minor complaints - this was delicious "pepper water."


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