Indian Chicken Curry Soup (Murgh Mumtaz Mahal – Chicken in a Rich Sauce)

Are you living in a cold climate experiencing bitter cold temps or experiencing rainy damp days? Do you come home after being outside trying to get warm? Give this delicious soup a chance – it has a nice level of spices and heat! A few years ago, I made a similar recipe – click here for recipe. My first experience tasting this fantastic soup was in New Hampshire and it quickly became one of my favorites. Every night I ordered this soup asking the server the ingredients allowing me to take quick notes. Then much research was conducted to figure out a recipe. A soup with cashews and pistachios! Doesn’t get much better.

Indian Chicken Curry Soup - spoon of soup from pot of soup

At work we had a chili and soup cook-off and I brought this soup with some minor changes from the original. A co-worker, Priya provided a few tips to make it even better. To thicken the broth, puree the cashews and save a few for garnish. Determine if you want a thin broth or a thicker soup to identify how much chicken broth to add. A thicker soup could be served over rice.

Indian Chicken Curry Soup Pot of soup

For the chicken marinade I use chili powder (red chili powder will add more heat). Another option is to use a food processor to make a paste using a hot chili pepper. For less heat deseed the hot chili pepper. Most likely I will stick with the chili powder but if you try a chili pepper let me know how it comes out!

Indian Chicken Curry Soup close up of spoon of soup 2

The spices are really approximate. If you are unsure of their flavor and heat, use them sparingly and perform a taste test. This soup should have some heat to it. Ideally the heat comes on after you do your taste test. If adding more chicken broth when rewarming the soup add more curry and chili powder. Be sure to use fresh ginger – not ginger powder. It takes a few minutes to grate it into a paste but it is worth the time. If that is too much work, consider purchasing ginger paste.

Indian Chicken Curry Soup close up of a spoon of soup

There is coconut milk and coconut cream – sweetened and unsweetened. Sweetened is nice to offset the heat. Try to get the coconut cream (full fat) to drizzle on top of the soup when serving. I tried a low-fat version and it is too watery as a topping. For this version, I bought coconut milk, which is fine to add to the soup but cannot be used as a topping.

Indian Chicken Curry Soup in a bowl close up

This soup is just fantastic with a ton of flavor but a challenge to take photos. Try to garnish with cilantro and consider shredding a carrot to add more nice color. Enjoy the experience of this delicious soup!!

Indian Chicken Curry Soup closeup in pot

2 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 2 ½ cups)

Chicken Marinade
2 tbsp Chili Powder (red for more heat) or chili ginger paste
1 to 2 tbsp Ginger, freshly grated into a paste (or purchase ginger paste)
1 tbsp Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Salt
Grapeseed – a little to cook the chicken
Marinade chicken for at least 3-hours

Soup Ingredients
1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped
1 cup Carrots, chopped or diced
½ cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
½ cup Celery Stalks – tender pieces, chopped
1 Large or 2 Small Tart Apples, peeled, core, and diced
1 tbsp Grapeseed Oil

1 tbsp Curry Powder
¼ tsp Nutmeg, freshly ground
¼ tsp Cloves
½ tsp Cumin
½ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Ground Cardamom
1 tbsp Chili Powder

4 cups Chicken Broth, low sodium
½ cup Coconut Milk, optional

Nuts Ingredients
1/2 cup Cashews, Raw
1/2 cup Pistachios, No Salt

Remaining Ingredients
½ cup Cilantro, chopped

Chopped cashews
Coconut Cream
Shredded carrots

Marinade Preparation
Wash and cube your chicken into bite size pieces. Mix your marinade ingredients. It should be a thick paste. If it is too dry, add a little grapeseed oil, I like to use grapeseed oil infused with lemon. Marinade for at least 3-hours.

Cook the chicken in a little grapeseed oil. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock to get all the wonderful marinade that remains baked on the pan.

Soup Preparation
Heat the Olive Oil in your soup pan and add onions – cook until soft. Then add the remaining ingredients, except for the chopped apples, and simmer for about 5-minutes.

Spice Preparation
Always be sure to add your curry powder at the beginning of your cooking as the heat does increase the aroma. Typically you use ¼ tsp for 2 servings – but as you can see, I like to add a lot more than that!

Nutmeg and cloves are also used sparingly and since I added a lot of curry powder to this recipe I used less of them. Cloves are typically added at the beginning of cooking as the heat creates more flavor. Nutmeg is typically added near the end of cooking so you could add this ingredient later in cooking if you prefer. Plus more salt might be needed to take a few taste tests throughout making this soup.

If you are uncomfortable with these spices then add maybe half of them as you can always add more. But remember this soup should have a lot of flavor! Add the spices to the soup and blend well. Stir well and cook for about a minute. Add your chicken broth and bring to boil. Then simmer for about 30-minutes.

Nuts Preparation
Puree the cashews in a food processor to make a cashew paste and add to the soup to thicken the broth. Add the pistachios near the end of cooking for them to soften. Also add a handful of roughly chopped cashews to the soup for additional flavor or use as a garnish.

You add cilantro at the end of cooking since prolonged heat reduces its flavor. When you are almost ready to serve add your cilantro and heat through. I would also lower the heat to a simmer at this point. Cilantro mixes nicely with curry powder, nuts, and lemon juice so it is perfect for this dish! It has a faint licorice flavor.

I like to ladle my soup into a bowl and then drizzle a little coconut cream and then enjoy the experience!


  1. hello bernice its dennis the vizsla dog hay mmm indian fuds this sownds delishus!!! my dada luvs indian fuds!!! he has a long lost recipe for lamb korma wot i no he wood luv to find agin eeven tho it tuk like fowr owrs to mayk it persunally i do not like to wayt that long for my fuds but hyoomans like to keep things komplikayted!!! ha ha ok bye

  2. I can see that I’ve missed a great dish while away last month! I don’t do a lot of cooking with these flavors, but I’m always intrigued. You mentioned thickening the soup by pureeing cashews and adding the puree into the broth. That sounds like a fantastic technique. I feel like this is one of those dishes that would transport you out of your kitchen into a more exotic setting.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Allison that is so very true! This dish will transport you to somewhere else – it is just awesome! Plus it is an Indian dish so I keep learning from co-workers on how to make it better such as pureeing the cashews.

    1. Yes the ingredients are different, which makes it so awesome! It is one of my favorite soups and I keep learning how to make this soup since it is an Indian recipe.

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