Mulligatawny Soup

mulligatawny soup

Mulligatawny soup is Indian cuisine, but I rarely find it on menus at Indian restaurants. I wish it was, because it is richly flavored with spices and legumes that make this a very satisfying meal.

Its name is literally translated as pepper-water and originated in the pre-colonial region of Madras. There, in the poorest of Indian communities, authentic versions were little more than extremely spicy broth with cooked onions.

Present-day recipes have roots in colonial British rule. Actress turned cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey and others led the charge to “elevate” mulligatawny soup for the upper class. Originally vegetarian, they added meats to satisfy British tastes.

This will fill your kitchen with mouth-watering aroma. Your appetite will be triggered into hyper-mode, but you won’t have to wait long because this comes together quickly. Spices are the source of my love of Indian food and mulligatawny soup is easily adjusted to your preferred level of heat by adjusting the ground pepper.

Let’s Make Mulligatawny Soup!

cooking chickpeas

Saute the shallot in olive oil, then add the spices and chickpeas.Coat and cook the chickpeas in the spices

cooking vegetables

Pour in the chicken stock, water, peppers and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for ten minutes, then add the green lentils and simmer for 20 more minutes

cooked veggies

Ready for the meat

mulligatawny soup 2

Add the shredded roast chicken and cook 5 more minutes to heat through. Stir in the lemon juice (optional). Garnish and serve with chopped cilantro.

mulligatawny soup

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Mulligatawny Soup

Spicy, aromatic soup with lentils and chickpeas.

  • Author: Tim


  • 1 cup green lentils- rinsed
  • 1 (19 ounce) can of chickpeas – well rinsed
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper – diced
  • 1 green Indian chile – substitute 1/2 poblano green chili if necessary – seeded and finely diced
  • 2 shallots – minced
  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 1 tsp ginger – peeled and grated
  • 1 pinch cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed with a press
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 11/2 tsp hot madras curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper – finely ground
  • 1 qt chicken stock – get the recipe HERE
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 roasted chicken breast – shredded – optional
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced – optional
  • 1 TBL chopped cilantro – optional


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and sweat them for 1-2 minutes, then add the ginger and garlic. Stir for a few more seconds.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and black pepper. Stir for 10 seconds, then add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the spices, another 5-10 seconds
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and water, add the bell pepper, poblano pepper and salt. Bring to a boil than reduce to a low simmer for 10 minutes, then add the lentils and simmer for 20 more minutes
  4. Add the chicken and simmer another 5-10 minutes until it is heated through
  5. Stir in the lemon juice (optional)
  6. Serve and garnish with chopped cilantro