Like cassoulet, bouillabaisse, and paella, mulligatawny is one of those major dishes that are the subject of endless debate as to the authentic way to prepare them. As a popular item in Indian restaurants, mulligatawny is a British adaptation of a South Indian recipe. This soup is a historic example of fusion, evolving from a thin, spicy, hot-and-sour curry broth, served as a beverage or with basmati rice into a hearty soup that sometimes contain lamb or chicken. Nowadays, mulligatawny soup can be considered as a basis of a whole meal. Many cooks season this soup with curry powder while others individually add curry spices to taste. Some use coconut milk, ground almonds or heavy cream to enrich their soup; I used chickpea flour as a thickening agent for this soup. Soy flour works as well. Mulligatawny can be a simple chicken soup cooked with chilies, onions, and 3 spices, or a more elaborate preparation with a long list of vegetables and herbs. I decided to keep this soup strictly vegan but some people may feel that adding tofu, chicken, fish or turkey make this mulligatawny soup a more substantial entrée. I pureed the vegetables I used in this Indian vegan soup but you can leave yours chunky if you like.
In preparation of making mulligatawny soup, the vegetables are traditionally fried in ghee (clarified butter), but most cooks use vegetable oil for a healthier soup. In the interest of nutrition, many cooks have reverted in the direction of the original recipe and make a vegan mulligatawny based on lentils, beans, or vegetables and basmati rice, as in this recipe. This satisfying vegan soup is a nice starter for any holiday. The spices and the chickpea flour give this soup a slightly creamy texture as well for making it gluten-free. If you don’t have chickpea flour, soy flour will suffice. If nothing else, white or whole wheat flour is another option. If you decide to use tofu or any other protein in this soup, puree all the vegetables before adding the protein. Hot basmati rice is the traditional accompaniment for this soup; brown basmati rice is recommended for a more nutritious soup.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil divided
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons of chickpea or soy flour
- 1 teaspoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon of turmeric
- 5 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 red medium potato diced
- 1 ½ cup of frozen pea carrot mixture
- 1 zucchini diced
- Cayenne pepper
- Lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup of hot cooked basmati rice
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a stock pot. Add onion and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook over low heat, stirring for 1 minute. Add flour and the spices and stir over low heat to blend well; add another tablespoon of oil in the mixture is too dry. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Add the vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. If you decide to, puree vegetables with a hand blender or in batches with a regular blender. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Garnish with parsley and top each serving with basmati rice.
Yields 4 servings