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Mulligatawny soup recipe: Vegan MoFo

If you thought mulligatawny soup doesn't sound very English, you'd be very, very right.

If popular wisdom is correct, then its origins are in India, in the time of the British Raj in the 18th or 19th century. Its name translates from Tamil as "pepper water" and it comes from a stew that was made in India. It was subsequently adapted for English palates, becoming a soup popular with employees of the British East India Company and remaining from then on a very English dish. Everyday's a school day on Flicking the Vs, no?

Over the centuries, the recipe evolved to become a well-known sweet-sour soup filled with curry spices, chicken and vegetables, sometimes with yoghurt, sometimes without.

As it's travelled through the years, it's become fairly anglicised, with most English recipes calling for generic curry powder, rather than the more interesting blend of Indian spices it presumably once contained.

While both these days and historically, mulligatawny contains meat, apparently the original Indian mulligatawny was a vegetarian dish. This is my vegan take - hopefully somewhere between the Indian and English recipes.

Mulligatawny soup
Makes three to four bowls

One onion, diced
One celery rib, diced
One carrot, peeled and diced
One small apple, peeled and diced
One tomato, diced
700mls vegetable stock
25g rice
25g red lentils
Tablespoon of garam masala
Tablespoon of tomato puree
Tablespoon of tamarind paste
Tablespoon of tomato puree
Teaspoon of ground coriander
Teaspoon of dried coriander leaf
Teaspoon of ground cumin

How you do it
Heat some oil and fry onion, celery, and carrot over a medium heat for five to ten minutes until beginning to soften.
Add tomato, garam masala, cumin, and both corianders and cook for another minute or two.
Add stock, apple, red lentils, tamarind paste, tomato puree and ketchup. Bring to a simmer and cook until the rice and lentils are cooked through - about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve with vegan yoghurt or chopped coriander if you've got any to hand.

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  1. Another dish I've never had! Your theme is proving to me that despite five years here I really need to work on my knowledge of English food!

  2. This looks delicious, definitely my type of soup! I've always wanted to try Mulligatawny but have never gotten around to it. I'm loving all of your themed recipes Joey!

  3. Sounds interesting. I wouldn't have thought to add an apple to soup, but I like lentils, so this is sold!

  4. It was so fascinating hearing the history of the soup and the way it has changed in terms of spices. This soup sounds delightful. Red lentils are a favorite of mine in soup, because of the dense, creamy texture that they impart.

  5. I've never seen a mulligatawny soup recipe before and now here I am with two of them during mofo in the same week, lol. I actually never knew where the soup stemmed from, it IS like school here! The flavor combo in this sounds right up my alley.

  6. I love your current interpretation of the soup — and the history lesson. I fell like eating some right now. It would definitely perk up the dreary weather we're having at the moment.

  7. How I adore mulligatawny soup! It seems like every recipe I see is a little bit different, and I'm willing to try them all. I'm excited and intrigued by your use of tamarind, since that's one I've never included in my own renditions!

  8. Yup, I have never heard of the soup and/or stew before, but thank you for the explanation! I like the meaning, "pepper water", and as long as it's curry-based, I would love to try it!

  9. Yummy looking soup and educational too! :-) Everyday is a school day.

  10. I'm reading a book right now (Almost English) and on her first day back at boarding school one of the meals in the Buttery is this soup! I straight away thought of this post :) Your version looks great, Joey!


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