Instant Pot Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

5 Min Read

Here is a low-carb recipe for the restaurant favorite Chicken Mulligatawny Soup! This South Indian soup is cooked in an Instant Pot with creamy coconut milk and warming spices that leaves the taste buds longing for more.

What is Mulligatawny?

The name Mulligatawny originates from the Tamil words “milagay” or “milagu” meaning pepper and “tanni” meaning water, which literally translates to “pepper-water”. The soup is similar to “Rasam” which is a versatile spicy soup that is popular in southern India. Mulligatawny soup became very popular with the British when England occupied India and eventually made its way to many Indian restaurants in the UK as well as the US.

It wasn’t until I moved to the US that I was introduced to it because most Indian restaurants have this soup on their menu.  Since then I have enjoyed it many times. I have also devoured the original South Indian version of this “pepper-water” soup at my friend’s home.

Love hearty Chicken Soups? Try my Instant Pot Chicken Tortellini Soup and Chicken Tortilla Soup recipes that make for a perfect one-pot meal.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Karen Lee an accomplished holistic practitioner, and a former doctor of chiropractic medicine.  Dr. Lee started cooking Paleo-friendly foods for her family years ago to help with food allergies, and they began their Ketogenic (Keto) journey to further control inflammation and weight gain.  With the Instant Pot, she was able to turn family favorites that used to take hours into fast, stress-free meals. She has since published two cookbooks – Paleo Cooking with Your Air Fryer and Keto Cooking with Your Instant Pot.

I love that both these books have so many well-tested recipes that are healthy and delicious at the same time.  When I saw the recipe for Chicken Mulligatawny Soup in her Instant Pot book, I couldn’t resist trying it out immediately as not only did it look tasty, but I also had most of the ingredients in my pantry. I love using Penzey’s hot curry powder in this recipe but you can also easily substitute it with garam masala, cumin powder, and turmeric.

Traditional Chicken Mulligatawny Soup uses ingredients like lentils, potatoes, flour, rice, heavy cream, etc. to add creaminess to the soup.  I love that this keto-friendly version uses cauliflower rice and coconut milk to add the same creamy texture. Spices such as black pepper, curry powder, nutmeg, and thyme that Dr. Lee uses definitely leave our taste buds longing for more.


Here are a few variations I made to the original recipe:

  • Made the recipe for 6 servings
  • Added ghee instead of butter
  • Used boneless, skinless thighs instead of bone-in thighs
  • Reduced the cooking time to 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes since I used boneless thighs
  • Substituted Curry powder with – ½ teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Added 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper instead of ½ teaspoon as we love our soup a bit spicy
  • Used 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • Used 1 cup coconut milk

How to Make Chicken Mulligatawny Soup

  • Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode and melt the ghee. Add onions and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in celery and carrots and cook for another 1 minute (photos 1 – 2).
  • Add remaining ingredients except for coconut milk and cilantro. Hit “Cancel”. Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the pressure valve to sealing. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook/Manual(Hi) for 10 minutes followed by 10 minute natural pressure release (photos 3 – 6).
  • Release the remaining pressure by turning the pressure valve to venting. After the float valve drops down open the Instant Pot. Optional step – You can shred the chicken using forks and add it back into the soup. Stir in coconut milk and cilantro (photos 7 – 8).
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with more cilantro and black pepper.
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