Oh! Goody Goody! Mulligatawny Soup

mulligatawny indian soups curry

Mulligatawny Soup – The Happiest of all Soups

Almost exactly a year ago, Reuters published a study that found Indians – from India – to be among the happiest people in the world. This in spite of countless natural disasters, over crowding, extreme poverty etc.

indian people happiness factor

Happy Even When Protesting

But…The happiness of Indians doesn’t surprise me. I’ve encountered this phenomenon before.

London has an enormous population of Indian, from India, people – though they are called Asians over there. I know this because for a time I worked for a cosmetics collection sold only in England and we had a line specifically formulated for Asian (Indian-Asian) skin tones that did very well.

One of my BFFs, Alex, lived in London for a couple of years in the mid ’90s. As Alex was moving into her flat (apartment), one of her neighbors came out to greet her. No surprise that the neighbors would be curious. Alex is a majestically tall, beautiful, blond woman who gets attention wherever she goes. Her neighbor was similarly tall – but the similarities ended there. He was an Indian gentleman dressed in traditional Indian garb.

In New York, the sight of a new neighbor’s belonging clogging the hallways and tying up the elevators can send residents into a rampage. We might bombard concierges and doormen with calls demanding to know when the eyesore and inconvenience will be over. We’re not really a ‘welcome, here’s a bundt cake‘ kind of people.

So, having moved from New York, Alex was getting ready to apologize for moving in, crowding the hallway, using the elevator, making any unnecessary noise…really, for anything at all.

But, no need. The Indian neighbor came out, took a look at Alex and her belongings that cluttered the hallway, smiled broadly, clapped his hands together as he announced joyously: ‘Oh! Goody Goody, my new neighbor!’. He was so happy to welcome her.

Since the goody goody greeting, we have tried to follow his lead, soak in some of his glee. And we have used his words whenever we greet new neighbors, new adventures or new anything.

To try to infuse his joy into my cooking, every time I make Indian food, I whisper his words over and over in my head.

Goody Goody Mulligatawny Soup (Serves 8)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. cuisinart kitchen utensils

    Kitchen Utensil Cleaning Station

    Creating this soup uses a lot of kitchen tools…so clean as you go. 

  2. The fragrance of the soup will be strong depending upon how much curry you decide to include…So, close the doors to your bathroom, bedroom to keep the aroma from permeating your linens
  3. Make an effort to welcome new neighbors who move into your building

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP Butter
  • mise en place vegetables

    Goody Goody Mise En Place

    1 medium onion, diced small PLUS 1 whole onion cut in half

  • 2 Carrots, diced small PLUS 1 whole carrot
  • 2 – 3 Stalks of Celery, diced small PLUS 1 whole stalk of celery
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 TBSP Curry – I use a little less – but maybe that’s why I’m not as happy as people from India
  • 1/4 TBSP ground nutmeg
  • 3 Whole Cloves – whole cloves are really expensive…but, if they mis-charge you at the Food Emporium, and you find the mistake, they will refund you the entire amount! There’s a reason to be happy!
  • 3 Sprigs of Parsley – flat leaf
  • 1 12-14oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 32oz of Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 2 Bone In Chicken Breasts with rib meat
  • 2 Cups cooked rice – I used long grain American Basmati…but, would probably recommend plain white rice instead
  • 1/4 Cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and Pepper

1. Poach the chicken breasts:

  • how to poach chicken

    Poaching Chicken

    Remove the skin from both breasts

  • In a pot large enough to hold both breasts, cover the breasts completely with water
  • Throw in 1 onion cut in half, a bay leaf, a whole carrot chopped in half, a celery stalk chopped in half, 1 TBSP salt, 1 TSP freshly ground pepper
  • Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil
  • Reduce to a simmer
  • Simmer :15 mins or until the chicken is cooked through
  • Remove from the poaching water and set breasts aside to cool
  • Strain the poaching liquid and reserve liquid to cook the rice

2. Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat

melting butter le creuset stock pot

Goody Goody I love butter!

3. Add the diced onion, carrots, celery and red pepper

sauteeing vegetables

Goody Goody Vegetables

4. Saute the vegetables until very soft – about :15 mins depending upon how small you dice

5. Add the flour, curry and nutmeg and stir to combine. Cook about 2 mins

mulligatawny curry soup

Goody Good Stir In Curry

6. Add the whole cloves, salt and pepper, chicken broth, parsley and tomatoes

7. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer (BTB/RTS) and simmer covered for 1 hour

bring to boil, reduce to simmer mulligatawny soup

Goody Good BTB/RTS

8. While the soup is simmering and IF the chicken breasts are cool enough to touch, shred the chicken with your hands

mulligatawny soup with chicken

Goody Goody Shredded Chicken

9. Cook the rice in the poaching liquid according to the ingredients on the rice packaging

10. After the soup has simmered for one hour, remove from the heat.

11. Puree using an immersion blender – I have a new pink one from Cuisinart!

cuisinart immersion blender mulligatawny soup

Goody Goody Easy Puree – Thank you Cuisinart!

NOTE: if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender…Allow the soup to cool! Then, transfer a couple of ladles at a time to the blender and puree. Transfer the pureed portion to a second pot. Repeat until all of the soup is smooth and creamy

12. Stir in the heavy cream – you can skip this…the soup is tasty and creamy without…

mulligatawny soup add cream

But, it’s really Goody Goody with the cream

13. Add in the shredded chicken and rice and heat through

mulligatawny soup with chicken and rice

Goody Goody Rice and Chicken

14. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley, sour cream and…if you want to spice it up – a little dash of Gindo’s Spice of Life

mulligatawny soup recipe shredded chicken

So So Goody Goody

Welcoming committees may be going the way of the dinosaur. And, the ‘no bundt cake’ approach isn’t exclusive to New York City. I lived for a bit in CT and never received a bundt cake out there either.

I’m not saying we should all be baking every time an apartment on our floor changes hands…But, would it be so bad to welcome a new neighbor?

Those simple happy words from Alex’s Indian neighbor still make me smile fifteen years later

I’m not really sure why the people of India are so happy. Maybe it’s the food? After making and eating this soup, I could see that. It really is another reason to smile and announce joyously: Goody Goody!

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We Embrace Change and Coconut Curry Shrimp

shrimp dinner

Embracing Change: Coconut Curry Shrimp

More than 2 years have passed since lovely Sarah Palin asked ‘How’s that hopey, changey stuff working out?’ Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk politics here. But we are going to talk change.

Sarah Palin Asks the Question

Very early in my career during a round of pretty significant layoffs through which I survived, I learned that: ‘Change is good. We embrace change.’ That’s what one of the higher-ups told us, the lil’ people, at the time. And, I repeated it a lot in my head – like orphans who learn to soothe themselves by rocking in their cribs – I managed the shock of watching 30% of the company being marched out the door and soothed myself by repeating ‘Change is good. We embrace change’ over and over and over again. I repeated it until I actually believed it. And it’s been a mantra ever since.

Now, I do admit that not all change is easy to swallow. The mass firing wasn’t fun for anyone, but it was good in the long run for the company – and, a great learning experience for my younger self.

Personal change (as opposed to personnel change) can be tough to handle as well. Last night, for example, my 70-something-year-old father asked to borrow my readers because he forgot his.

That’s right. I now have readers. Still sort of hyperventilating from that one. I do feel the need to announce here that my ‘readers’ are only 1X AND as per my eye guy, I have better than 20/20 vision – it’s just that my eyes have changed and I can’t see menus, in small print, in dark restaurants, whatever. Let’s not discuss this again.

But, most change, is really good. As a food person, in order to keep it interesting and have content on a very regular basis, I’ve had to embrace new foods and cook things that I would have never made before. I’ve had to change the way I think about a lot of things.

Two truths I used to hold:

1. Shrimp is not a meal

2. I hate coconut

But, change is good. And recently I made:

Coconut Curry Shrimp (serves 4)

1. In a large pot on the stove top, whisk together:

  • Coconut Milk Whole Foods

    13.5 oz NOT 14oz

    1 14 oz can of Coconut Milk – unsweetened. For whatever reason, Whole Foods sells its 365 brand of Coconut milk in 13.5oz cans. Could be a marketing ploy and I fell for it and bought 2 – which was OK because I also made coconut rice…and, the 365 brand is very well priced.

    The recipe I tweaked also called for fresh coconut…but I draw the line there as I can’t stand crunching down on flakes of real coconut. So I left it out.

  • The juice from one lime
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of minced ginger – note, you can store ginger in your freezer for about one eon if you peel it first (use a spoon), wrap it in Saran and then put it in a ZipLoc freezer bag…frozen ginger is easier to grate as well – I used my Microplane grater
Ginger Root

Fresh Ginger Peeling Process

2. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over low heat

Curry into the Coconut Milk mixture

3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 7 – 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken and reduce a bit.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste – just a pinch of each will probably do ya

5. Add in 1lb of large, peeled and deveined shrimp. I know… I normally use frozen, but thought ‘Embrace Change!’ and bought a beautiful looking pound of fresh shrimp at Citarella.

coconut curry shrimp

Citarella Shrimp into the Curry!

6. Return to a simmer, then cover and cook for 12 – 15 minutes until the shrimps are fully cooked

Oh, they’re cooked now!

7. Toss in about 1/4 cup combo of freshly chopped parsley and freshly chopped basil

8. Serve over rice…I made coconut rice with orange peppers and peas – it was very pretty – much prettier than the picture above…Again, I left the flakes of fresh coconut out.

Like it? They LOVE it!

The coconut curry shrimp was really good. I liked it…A lot. And, so did these people.

Up is down. Black is white. Day is night. I eat coconut. Shrimp is a meal.

You know what, in my kitchen at least, there is hopey changey stuff that’s working just fine.

Change is good. We embrace change.