I can remember my grandmother making Kedgeree from left over smoked haddock, crisp cayenne-pepper cheese biscuits and Mulligatawny Soup thickened with cream and grated coconut. My father did the same, in those days before coconut cream was imported, filling our big country kitchen and my childhood with smells of exotic spices and dreams of far away lands. They were the first real fusion food, these Anglo-Indian dishes, a name given to recipes from India that were adapted and evolved by the resident British in the days known as the ‘Raj’ and to English dishes heated up with exotic Indian spices. Some recipes became everyday foods in England and as part of the British Empire, by default, they made it to Australia. Check out our recipe for Kedgeree here. We hope you enjoy these fusions as much as we do.

If you love coconut milk curries or Laksa then this soup is for you. It uses readily available ingredients but produces an amazingly complex and beautiful taste on the palate. Most versions have coconut milk, apple, Indian spices and chicken pieces, thickened with lentils or basmati rice. And as with most curries is it far better eaten the day after it is made.

Mulligatawny, also known as Malagatanni, Mulugutanni or Molegootunee means ‘pepper-water’ although it is neither peppery nor watery but rather is an Anglo-Indian invention thought to have come into existence when an Indian curry stew was changed into an English spicy soup. During the days of the Indian British Raj (reign) from 1858-1947, after the power of the British East India Trading Company was transferred to the English Crown and Queen Victoria, there were over 20 Viceroys or Governors and one of them is thought to have ordered his Chef to create a soup course from the Indian cuisine which did not have one. Chutney, Chicken Tikka Masala, Coronation chicken, Kedgeree and even those retro curried devilled eggs are all examples of Anglo-Indian adaptations from the Raj.  By 1845, Eliza Acton, the poet-turned-cook-book-writer, in her book, “Modern Cookery for Private Families”, published the first known recipe for Mulligatawny soup. Today, if you search for mulligatawny on the internet, you’ll find it comes in hundreds of variations, colours, textures with recipes from broths to soups to stews, but why not try ours first.

Mulligatawny or Mullugutanni Soup Recipe
Ghee or butter/oil for frying
2 onions, peeled, and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 carrots, peeled, and diced
2 celery sticks, de-strung, and diced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 tbsp of your favourite curry paste or powder or any madras style*
½- 3/4 cup of red lentils (see glossary, found on any supermarket shelf or use basmati rice if you prefer)
6-8 cups chicken stock, depending on the thickness you prefer (we use massel chicken stock powder, see our Taking Stock review)
+ additional stock to top up your soup as it cooks and reduces
1  x 400ml can of best coconut cream. Try the 90% or 3 coconuts per cans. They are a little more expensive but that’s because they have more coconut than the cheap brands that have more water, less coconut and less flavour
1 cup of shredded chicken pieces, cooked, skin on or off. Why not make this soup when you buy your next softly luscious free-range roast chicken?

* Use any curry like red curry paste, a pre-prepared curry powder or even a curry sauce or if you prefer to make your own curry powder mix try this in a mortar & pestle:

2 tsp cumin powder or seeds
2 tsp coriander powder or seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fresh ginger root
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
lemon, orange or lime zest
salt & pepper

Our suggestions for garnishes, using one or many:  fresh lemon, orange or lime cheeks and/or zest, natural yoghurt, crème fraiche or cream, slivered or flaked almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts or cashews, toasted shaved coconut, pappadums, fried shaved carrot or onion, sauteed apple, fresh coriander or a dusting of curry powder.

Saute the onion & garlic in plenty of butter/oil or ghee until soft then add your curry powder, curry sauce, curry paste etc, mix and cook it through. Add the carrot, celery and apple, colour slightly and then add the stock. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until softened then add the red lentils or rice and cook well until soft and disintegrating. Taste, season with salt and pepper and add more stock or reduce further if you want a thicker soup. Just before serving add the coconut cream, chicken pieces, maybe some cashew pieces and heat through gently until hot again.

With the garnishes you choose how you add them, one, some or all, before or after plating. E.g. you might like to add warm sautéed apples and cream before plating and after plating top with nuts, coriander and/or coconut and crunchy pappadums are an exotic reminder of Mulligatawny’s culturally-fused-past. Try cutting them in strips before frying.

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Have you tried this recipe? We would love to hear your comments below…


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