Mulligatawny soup has an interesting story. The recipe has origins in 18th-century India, where a Sri Lankan dish was altered to suit the British taste for enjoying soup before a meal. The website Live History India calls it the “soup of an empire,” and “one of the earliest ‘Anglo-Indian’ dishes.” The name of the soup itself is a combination of the Tamil words ‘milagu’ (pepper) and ‘tunes’ (water) – pepper water.
The dish lends itself to endless variations, including this vegan Mulligatawny soup recipe. You can, however, find this soup filled with anything from mutton to beef. At it’s core, however, Mulligatawny is a rich, creamy, curry-based soup made with plenty of rice or lentils, vegetables, and fruits like apples.
This version is fairly mild, but if you prefer spicy soups, add a diced chili pepper or two in step two along with the minced garlic and ginger, apples, and diced tomato. Do not, however, skip any of the spices. It’s that blend of turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and other spices that make Indian dishes so wonderfully aromatic and delicious. Skip those and you’ll end up with a bland, disappointing bowl of soup that your dinner guests, if they’re polite, will smile painfully and pretend to like.
One word about keeping your kitchen injury-free: use caution if you use a blender to purée the soup. It’s no fun to have boiling soup come flying out of your blender. Only fill your blender about half to two-thirds, then cover the lid with a tea towel and hold it down before you turn the blender on.
Ideally, however, use an immersion blender. It’s much safer and it saves you quite a bit of work in transferring soup back and forth.
Serve with a glass of iced tea and warm naan for a tasty lunch or dinner.Print
Vegan Mulligatawny Soup
Mulligatawny soup is typically made with chicken, but you won’t miss that at all with this vegan version of South Indian inspired classic.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Soups
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup dried red or green lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cashews, for garnish
- Naan bread, for serving
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and sweet potato. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, apples, and tomato. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the curry powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, pepper, and thyme and mix well to combine.
4. Add the lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes
5. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree about three- quarters of the soup. Leave the rest of the soup chunky.
6. Return the pureed soup to the pot with the rest of the soup, if necessary.
7. Stir in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with cashews and serve with naan bread.