Vegan Mulligatawny Soup

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Spicy, warming, filling, delicious, and full of fibre and protein, my vegan mulligatawny soup is just the thing for chilly autumn evenings.

Mulligatawny soup has such a strange name, doesn’t it? I used to struggle with that name as a child… but not with eating it!

Although, the stuff my grandmother used to serve me up came out of a tin, was mud-brown, and had little pieces of what I think was minced meat. I’m not sure how similar it was to its authentic Indian cousin. I do remember really enjoying it though.

As a child. With an unsophisticated palate.

I say authentic Indian but I have yet to find any two recipes that can agree on which ingredients should be in the soup, nor even the origins of its name.

What does mulligatawny mean?

Some say that mulligatawny is an English corruption of the Tamil, milagu-thani (which means pepper water), while others claim that mulligatawny is a British Raj-friendly version of the south Indian soup, milagu rasam.

Milagu rasam was developed in the kitchens of the Madras Club in Chennai for the well-to-do British junta, who wanted something more akin to what they were used to back in Blighty.

With added meat, of course

This latter, I suspect, comes from the British notion that vegetables were mere flavourings, not a foodstuff in their own right. Obviously, meat was real food!

According to Victorian and Edwardian thinking, vegetables were indigestible unless boiled to a mush. It certainly explains my grandmother’s culinary brutality toward the produce my grandfather and I used to grow!

Whatever the real story of mulligatawny is, everyone seems to agree that when the British were in South India, a soup was developed, which would be less of a shock to their delicate systems than the traditional local fare on offer.

Vegan mulligatawny soup recipe

Here then, is my version of mulligatawny soup. It’s very easy to make, especially if you already have the requisite masala blends (although you could make your own garam masala and Madras curry powder). If you’ve already made my other Indian dishes, you already know how to make this.

Something I really love about Indian food is that once you have learned the basics, you realise that everything is really a variation on a theme, and that while there may be quite a few spices involved, the dishes really are very simple to make.

You’ll love my vegan mulligatawny soup

Because it’s…

  • warming
  • comforting
  • spicy
  • filling
  • full of goodness
  • quick and easy to make
  • deliciously more-ish

Serve this soup its own, with naan, (or even with a fresh crusty roll), and you won’t go wrong.


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