Food & Drink

Ro’s Recipes: Mulligatawny Soup

Multicultural Hug

Living in a multicultural society bestows positive gifts of peering into the mystery and glory of untranslatable customs, the fascination of clothing, the dignity of relationships, the bafflement of language, the excitement of flavours.

Gradually repeating the smile of recognition with each encounter, the welcome within warms even before understanding coalesces. Curiosity opens eyes, ears and essentially, intent to explore.

Prepare your welcome in yourself. See curiosity greeted and answered.

Reciprocity is the cross-cultural handshake. Magic.

I had the benefit of being brought up multi-culturally in my early years. This meant that I spoke two languages until the age of four, played like fire flies dancing and ate anything and everything without demur. This bestowed upon me a palate that is a constant reminder of my blessed early childhood.

One of the cross-cultural dishes I ate was mulligatawny soup. It is based on an Indian chicken and lamb curried broth served with rice. The Brits loved it and ran with it and made it into a lentil thickened, aromatic soup that is a gift on a cold day.


2950121235_e5c33f5cb6_zMulligatawny Soup

Yield: 6 one and a half cup portions

Equipment required: Four quart sauce pan, measuring spoons and cups, wooden spoon, food processor, drum sieve, rubber spatula

2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups chopped onions
2 teaspoons garlic
1 inch minced ginger

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf

1 cup red lentils
6 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon garam masala
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup cooked basmati rice
1 cup cooked ¼ inch diced chicken thigh meat

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro



Heat a 4 quart sauce pan. Add the vegetable oil. When oil shimmers add onions. Cook till golden. Around ten minutes. Add minced garlic and ginger. Cook another two minutes.

Add cayenne, turmeric, coriander, cumin and bay leaf. Cook another two minutes until fragrant.

Add lentils and chicken broth and simmer for 30 minutes, until lentils are soft.

Add coconut milk, garam masala and lemon juice. Remove bay leaf. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as required.

Cool somewhat to puree. Puree in food processor until fine. Pass through fine mesh tamis sieve.

Reheat, adding basmati rice and diced chicken.

To serve, pour one and a half cups in bowl and sprinkle each with a teaspoon of chopped cilantro.


Photo by anjuli_ayer via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

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