Mulligatawny

Several years ago I drove to my sister-in-law's cottage near Wakefield, Quebec for a snowy winter getaway. She was not there when we arrived, but had left a beautiful cast iron Dutch oven of mulligatawny on the stovetop.

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We heated the soup up, ladled it into bowls and added the toasted cashews and fresh herbs as instructed in the note left beside the stove. It was amazing and perfect – the best welcome into a home that I can remember without the host even being there. So amazing was the soup that I think of her every time I make or eat mulligatawny. 

A Dutch oven of mulligatawny with a wooden spoon.

Mulligatawny is a British soup of South Indian origin, created out of the British desire for soup and their love of Indian flavors. There’s no one way to make mulligatawny. Some versions have meat in them and are stock-based. Others are vegetarian and use water or coconut milk as the liquid base. Some are thick and puréed until smooth, some thick and left chunky and still others thinner with more broth with pieces of vegetables visible. There’s a certain freedom in a recipe like that. What they all have in common is the deep curry flavor.

A bowl of mulligatawny on a wooden table with a blue Dutch oven in the background.

This version of mulligatawny is based on red lentils and delivers a satisfying serving of protein as a result. I know what you’re saying… the ingredient list is too long, but wait. Don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients here – look how short the directions are. Once you’ve measured the spices, your 90% done and just think of the lasting impression all your guests will have. 

Mulligatawny - Stovetop Version

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 35 m
  • Total Time: 50 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large ripe tomato chopped
  • 2 apples peeled and diced
  • cups red lentils
  • 5 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 15 ounce coconut milk not light
  • lime juice to taste
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • roasted cashews almonds or peanuts, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a large 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the oil and sauté the onion, carrots and celery until they start to become tender – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and salt and stir well. Sauté for a minute or two. Stir in the tomato, apples and lentils and add the stock or water. Bring the mixture to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Purée roughly half the mixture and return it to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime. Thin the soup to your desired consistency with water.
  4. Serve with fresh cilantro and roasted nuts on top.

Mulligatawny - Pressure Cooker Version

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 25 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large ripe tomato chopped
  • 2 apples peeled and diced
  • cups red lentils
  • cups vegetable stock or water
  • 15 ounce can coconut milk not light
  • lime juice to taste
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • roasted cashews almonds or peanuts, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a 6-quart multi-cooker using the BROWN or SAUTE setting.
  2. Add the oil and sauté the onion, carrots and celery until they start to become tender – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and salt and stir well. Sauté for a minute or two. (If your cooker doesn’t have a brown setting, use a skillet on the stovetop for the steps above and transfer the contents to the cooker now.) Stir in the tomato, apples and lentils and add the stock or water. Cover and lock the lid in place.
  3. Pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.
  4. Release the pressure with the QUICK-RELEASE method and carefully remove the lid. Purée roughly half the mixture and return it to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime. Thin the soup to your desired consistency with water.
  5. Serve with fresh cilantro and roasted nuts on top.

Mulligatawny - Slow Cooker Version

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 4 h
  • Total Time: 4 h 20 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large ripe tomato chopped
  • 2 apples peeled and diced
  • cups red lentils
  • cups vegetable stock or water
  • 15 ounce canned coconut milk (not light)
  • lime juice to taste
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • roasted cashews almonds or peanuts, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a 6-quart multi-cooker using the BROWN or SAUTE setting.
  2. Add the oil and sauté the onion, carrots and celery until they start to become tender – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and salt and stir well. Sauté for a minute or two. (If your cooker doesn’t have a brown setting, use a skillet on the stovetop for the steps above and transfer the contents to the cooker now.) Stir in the tomato, apples and lentils and add the stock or water. Cover and slow cook on HIGH for 4 hours (or 8 hours on LOW).
  3. Purée roughly half the mixture and return it to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime. Thin the soup to your desired consistency with water.
  4. Serve with fresh cilantro and roasted nuts on top.
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Comments (1)Post a Reply


  1. 2nd only to the Asian Noodle Soup. This was the first time I made Mulligatawny. Very good and an easy recipe to accomplish.

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