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Driven by a passion that borders on obsession that developed in me at a very young age I always knew I was going to be a chef.

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Chef Veera

Lentil Soup Mulligatawny

Mulligatawny Soup — What’s That??


Mulligatawny is the Anglicized version of a South Indian word for “pepper water” or a flavorful lentil-based dish that is usually served with rice and perhaps a vegetable side dish.


This soup created during the 1800s was an adaptation concocted by Indian cooks to serve the British need for a soup course before the entrée. Since there is no concept of a soup course in Indian cuisine, this spiced broth was modified. Some recipes call for lentils, others do not. It soon became a popular dish in British households where adaptations were made including the addition of apples, carrots, chicken and sometimes pheasant or rabbit.


This is a similar version to the one I grew up eating which really is like the more traditional Indian Daal or lentil soup. You can serve this, as I have here, or processed in a blender for a smoother consistency.


This recipe also uses a typical and very useful Indian culinary approach not found in most other cuisines — the act of tempering the dish at the end – in essence adding a powerful burst of flavor at the end of the cooking process. Tempering is done by pre-heating oil in a separate pan to a high heat (be careful not to smoke the oil), adding whole spices, which promptly pop, brown and release all their flavors into the oil. This seasoned oil is then poured over the soup to add aroma and another potent layer of flavor.


I urge you to BE BRAVE and try this healthy, vegan, protein-rich lentil soup this winter – it will warm your body and your soul!!


Happy Cooking!



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Indian Lentil Soup — Mulligatawny




3 tablespoons Unflavored EVOO
1 teaspoon of ginger, grated
1 teaspoon of garlic, crushed (about 3 cloves through a garlic press)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder *

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup of red split lentils, rinsed well
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2-1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Tempering and Serving

1 teaspoon EVOO

4-6 curry leaves *
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
Wedges of lemon

Sprinkle of Cayenne pepper or paprika




Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, when hot, add ginger and garlic. Stir for 1-2 minutes.


Add cumin, coriander, curry powder, and cayenne. Stir for another minute.


Add lentils and vegetable stock, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30- 45 minutes till lentils are fully cooked.


Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. At this point, if you prefer a smoother soup, use an immersion blender or food processor to process the lentils to a smoother consistency.


In a separate small pan, heat the remaining teaspoon of EVOO over medium-high heat, until the oil is shimmering and hot. Add the curry leaves and mustard seeds heating until the seeds splutter (about 15 seconds).


Add to the soup, stir and simmer 1-2 minutes.


Garnish the soup with a sprig of cilantro or parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or paprika




Serves 4

Active Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 45-60 minutes





* Madras Curry Powder and Curry leaves can be purchased at most Indian grocery stores. Madras Curry powder is also available in the spice or international aisle of most stores. If you cannot find Curry leaves, you can substitute bay leaves. Although this will change out the flavor of the soup, it will still be delicious.



Categories: Soups & Salads, Snacks & Sides, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Lentil Soup, Dal, Daal, Curry Leaves, Madras Curry Powder, Mulligatawny Soup, Red Lentils, Mustard Seeds, Tempering, Mediterranean Diet, Plant Based



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  • Tamisha Ellis
    January 15, 2021

    Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups to make! Can’t wait to try this version!😁

  • Michael Ann
    January 17, 2021

    I always thought this was British/Irish! History is fascinating! Thanks for providing the historical background on this. I’m adding mulligatawny to my queue!

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