Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mmm...Mulligatawny (Non-traditional; Non-Veg)

In many ways being married to my husband is very much like the dynamic between Ricky and Lucy Ricardo on "I Love Lucy." Language and culture collide and in many ways with humorous, and oftentimes in my household DELICIOUS, results.

It was only after concocting this soup that I did a bit of research on the word mulligatawny itself, to discover that it's a derivation/permutation of the Tamil words for pepper (molagai, sp?) and water (thannee, sp?). Of course the husband is incredulous when I inform him of my discovery, and then of course, scoffs at the bastardization of the words now.

However you pronounce it, this soup DELIVERS on flavor, and is a very fine attempt at duplicating and paying homage to my favorite soup I used to eat at a restaurant we rarely go to now (since I cook much better food than we can get there, why bother going out for it?).

1/2 C Masoor dal (pink)
3/4 C Split moong or thoor (or I guess, split yellow peas)

Rinse one time in cool water, drain off. Fill container and cover with ample water. Let sit a minimum of one hour. When ready, get out pressure cooker. Put over medium heat. Drain off soaking liquid of lentils one final time. Toss lentils in pressure cooker, plus 2X the volume with water.

Add to that:

2 split chicken breasts, with or without skin, preferably bone-in
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp Coriander powder
2 Bay leaves

Let this all come to a gentle boil while you pan fry/temper the savories/spices.

Tadka/Tempering Spices:

1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 serrano chile, rough mince
10 Curry leaves

Pan fry with a bit of neutral oil (I use grapeseed). Let the above splutter and fry in the oil, until you hear the seeds start to pop, then add in:

1 large onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned into match sticks
Optional/Use if if you have on hand: 2-3 stalks of Fennel (aka Anise), minced

Pan fry until everything is fragrant and starting to turn somewhat golden. Take some of the cooking fluid from pressure cooker, and put in skillet, to deglaze the pan. Let it sizzle and bubble up, scrape the pan down, and transfer everything into the pressure cooker.

Into the pressure cooker, immediately before putting the lid on, add:

1/2 a large zucchini, diced (not too fine, it'll mush up in the pressure cooker)
1/2 Yellow bell pepper, diced
1 large tomato, cubed
1-2 large handfuls of shredded carrot (I happened to have a bag in the fridge for salads)

Give everything a good stir. Lower heat to simmer. Put lid on pressure cooker and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Take off heat and let the steam release out the valve naturally.

Once cool enough to remove whistle and open lid, retrieve chicken breasts out. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Then shred the chicken, removing the skin and the bones. Toss back in soup.

Give a good stir. Taste. Not salty enough? Add more. Add a fistful of fresh cilantro leaves, ripped.

Serve piping hot with a lemon wedge.

Depending on volume of water actually used, this makes close to 3 quarts of soup. It freezes very well. Just be sure to add a bit of fresh cilantro sprigs before serving.

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