Indian Mulligatawny Soup

This fragrant Indian Mulligatawny Soup is spiced with curry and made from creamy red lentils, carrots, apples, and coconut milk. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers!

This fragrant soup is spiced with curry and made from creamy red lentils, carrots, apples, and coconut milk. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers!

Originally published October 11th, 2013 – updated with new photos on April 19th, 2016!


I want to spend the next month eating nothing but this soup. I have a terrible habit of over-doing it at the Indian food buffet, to the point where I have to un-do the button on my jeans and pull my shirt down over the top of my pants while I waddle out to the car.

This soup absolutely triggered that same can’t-stop-eating feeling, and I didn’t regret it one bit!

This fragrant soup is spiced with curry and made from creamy red lentils, carrots, apples, and coconut milk. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers!

Just look at these beautiful ingredients! Lentils, apples, ginger, garlic, onions, red jalapenos, carrots and fragrant spices. It’s so thick it’s almost more like a stew.

Indian Mulligatawny Soup

It’s a masterpiece! For your mouth!

 

Mulligatawny soup is a traditional Indian dish and the recipe is really easy to make. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list, it just calls for a bunch of familiar produce and a little digging around in your spice rack. I used my very favorite Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven for this recipe, but any good-sized pot should do the trick.

Many recipes for Mulligatawny Soup call for pureeing all of the ingredients until completely smooth. I prefer a little more texture than that in my meals, so I left lots of delicious chunks of apples, carrot, onions, and tomatoes to add a bit of interest. I used my hand-held immersion blender for this, but you could also use a regular counter top blender to do the job (this is the one I have and I love it!).

This fragrant soup is spiced with curry and made from creamy red lentils, carrots, apples, and coconut milk. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers!

This soup is full of vibrant flavor but is also warm and comforting. Perfect for this time of year, and just insanely delicious with a piece of homemade naan bread.

I used to be so afraid of making soups because I thought they would take all day and require all sorts of crazy steps (I think I get this idea from Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon). This just takes about 15 minutes of real work. You’re throwing some chopped veggies into a pot, sauteing, then adding in some water and lentils, letting it cook for a while, then pureeing to your liking. Top with the cashews and you are good to go!

 

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Indian Mulligatawny Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ¼ c. butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 red jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. peeled and minced ginger root
  • 2 small firm apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ c. red lentils (uncooked)
  • 3 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • ⅔ c. canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ c. roasted cashews
  • ½ c. chopped scallions
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and jalapeno, then saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, apples, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Saute for another 3 minutes, then add in all of the spices and toss to coat. Add in the lentils and broth and let the contents come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  3. Puree about 75% of the ingredients using either an immersion blender or by transferring a portion of the contents to the bowl of a standard blender. Leave some of the chunks whole, as it adds a nice texture and consistency to the soup. Return the soup to the pot if needed, then stir in the coconut milk. Taste, and adjust salt and black pepper as needed.
  4. Serve topped with cashew and scallions along with naan bread for dipping.

This fragrant soup is spiced with curry and made from creamy red lentils, carrots, apples, and coconut milk. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers!emailsignup2
Old photo – just for fun!
Indian Mulligatawny Soup

Comments

  1. says

    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe, it is now our family favourite. And you are right, one of the easiest recipe’s to make, love the added cashews and scallions.

  2. David Mc says

    Wow, we made this yesterday afternoon as part of our Sunday dinner last night, it was the best mulligatawny soup we have ever had. I suggest you double the recipe, it reheats beautifully for a next day lunch.

    • says

      Thank you so much for the kind words, David! I’m going to need to experiment with freezing a batch soon – I’ll be sure to post the results :)

        • says

          I have to admit, I haven’t *quite* gotten around to trying this yet! I’m making a batch tonight but don’t have enough ingredients to have leftovers to freeze….because I plan to eat ALL of it. I’m sure it will freeze just fine though, there’s nothing in it that would give me cause to think otherwise!

  3. says

    Just found you through Pinterest and I have to say that
    this soup looks SO delicious. I’m definitely going to make it. And
    I’m going to follow you – your pictures are gorgeous,
    lady!

  4. Chelsea says

    This may be a dumb question, but what kind of coconut milk do you use–the refrigerated versions like Silk or the canned? Does it even matter? I just finished a vegan mulligatawny soup at a local restaurant and wished I could have had more. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Chelsea! Definitely not a dumb question at all – I used canned unsweetened coconut milk. I’ll update the recipe so it’s clear to everyone! Thanks :)

  5. says

    This sounds and LOOK delicious! I can’t have the apples, but will try it without them. With all the intense-flavored ingredients in it, it should still be pretty good.

  6. Julie says

    Simply DIVINE. This was so delicious! I made a couple of changes: I used a green jalapeño since I couldn’t find red, and I used nearly double the curry powder and cumin because I love rich flavors. I also topped it with cilantro and threw in the whole can of coconut milk since it was already opened. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers and will undoubtedly make this many times again!

  7. Wanda says

    This soup was a first for me and I followed your recipe almost exactly. My husband and I loved it. I served it with naan and it was fabulous. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Christina says

    Anetta–Have you ever substituted plain yogurt in place of the coconut milk? What do you think about the change in flavor and texture it would bring? I’ll be making this tomorrow night and I can’t wait–it looks delicious!!

    • says

      Hi, Christina! I haven’t ever tried using yogurt, but I’d imagine that you may want to add a bit of sugar to temper the sour flavor if you are going to try it. Let me know how it turns out!

      • Christina says

        The yogurt was tasty and I didn’t need any additional sweetener. BUT, since the soup was so hot, the yogurt curdled a bit when I stirred it in. It would probably mix in smoothly if the soup was cooled a bit first, but coconut milk would probably make things easier.
        Also, it was so delicious. I love the cashew garnish and leaving chunks of apples and tomatoes in there. Fantastic recipe!

        • says

          Oh, bummer! I hate when that happens – I had that issue with my Slow Cooked Tikka Masala recipe for the longest time. I found that if I stirred a tiny bit of soup into the yogurt a bit at a time it helps temper it and keeps it from curdling. It’s similar to making a custard when you temper the eggs to keep them from scrambling. Also, the lower fat content in the dairy you use, the higher the likelihood of curdling. I’m so glad you like the recipe!

          • J Suleiman says

            I make a great variety of cooked yogurt dishes. The best way to not get yogurt to curdle, I’ve found, is to heat it by itself first, stirring constantly, then add a teaspoon of corn starch to it. Once you do this, you can add it to any other hot broth and it won’t separate or curdle.

            I am going to make your soup this weekend! Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Christina says

    I’ve made several versions of Mulligatawny soup, and this is by far my favorite for taste, as well as the simple on-hand ingredients. What’s more, my 3 year-old gobbled it up and asked for seconds! Thanks so much for posting!

  10. Natasha says

    I made this for dinner last night. We all loved it! The roasted cashews and the green onions were an excellent compliment to this already delicious soup. I can’t wait to make it again. Thanks Anetta :)

    • says

      I’m so glad you liked it, Natasha! It’s ugly and stormy in Portland today, so I think I may have to make some Mulligatawny for dinner tonight :)

  11. Ron Sen-Roy says

    This reminded me so much about Railway Colony! In Indian majority of Anglo-Indians worked for Indian Railways. They always had their own colony (subdivision). I still have the taste of Mulligatwany soup.
    My mother used to make a Anglo-Indian roast leg of lamb. It is delicious. If you are interested please let me know and I will be glad to send the recipe.

    Regards

    Ron

  12. sarah says

    Would I be able to substitute the broth for water? Do you think it would lack flavor? Also if I were using fresh tomatoes would I need to saute them first. Also how many would I use? Thanks

    • says

      Hi, Sarah! Yes, you can substitute water. I’m not sure about the tomatoes – I’ve never made it with fresh! Let me know if you give it a try :)

  13. Diana says

    I’ve been making another version for years that used cream but wanted to find a different version as my husband can no longer tolerate dairy. We loved this and think it is probably more authentic. I will keep the recipe handy!

  14. Freddie Weeks says

    I have grown up with and enjoyed a warm bowl of Heinz Mulligatawny often.
    Now that I’m retired, living on the blustery coast of Co.Durham, England I need welcome foods to come home to after walking my little Jack Russell.
    Yes I can still thankfully buy the Heinz but I also have the time and interest to make my own.
    Went onto your website and started from there, I’ve got it down to a ‘t’ now, yummy
    As a meat eater, I add a little beef, 1 Tbl-sp. diced or minced along with 1 tea-sp. mustard per serving.
    (ie. per planned serving, depending on how much you intend to make)
    A stick of finely diced celery
    On serving I add Cooked rice (leftovers) 1Tbl-sp. per bowl
    A dollop of Yoghurt dusted with Paprika with a Lemon Wedge on the side of the bowl
    This is only my way of course, but I now eat a lot of your fine ‘welcome’ soup and just enjoy exploring it’s taste, love Freddie

  15. Nele says

    Thank you for all your work Annette! I tried this recipe after googling Mulligatawny, and it’s fantastic and also easy. I can’t wait to look around the site :)

  16. Holly says

    Wow, you weren’t kidding… this was delicious! I used the entire can of coconut milk so I didn’t waste part of the can, and added cilantro and a few drops of sriracha as a topper. This soup was really easy to make and will definitely be a go-to meal at our house. Thanks, Anetta!

  17. catherine says

    You are so cute AND the soup is lovely. I added some pureed squash because I had it and needed to use it up and it is very creamy! The tomatoes are a great addition too.

  18. Lewi says

    Found this page and recipe after Googling the dish name when I heard Kramer from Seinfeld order it from the soup nazi. It did not disappoint! Delicious. Thanks.

  19. Victoria says

    thank you for this recipe, my whole family loved it! they’ve already requested i make it many more times. i added in some garam masala, and next time, i’m doubling the whole recipe! thanks :)

  20. says

    soo good! my class take cook this everybody is love it! i will made in my home with my mom and sister! you are so great person thank!

    -directioner

  21. Kristann says

    My favorite Indian restaurant has this soup on the menu and I have always enjoyed it; one blustery day last autumn I decided to make it using your recipe. My family agrees this version is even better than the restaurant’s version! I’ve made this soup several times over the past few months and I find it is very forgiving of substitutions. I now use coconut oil in lieu of butter and a container of Swanson Thai Ginger broth rather than chicken broth, and as it’s a 32 oz container I just use the entire container and add in some extra lentils. I’ve substituted RoTel for the diced tomato and jalapeno — adds a nice spicy kick to the soup. Today, I didn’t have coconut milk on hand so I used coconut cream instead (about 1/4 c) and it was yummy. I also like to roast a chicken breast and shred it and add it to the soup at the end of cooking as well. It’s really delicious, kudos to you for creating this recipe! Thank you!

  22. Wie says

    This recipe is just perfection! I have been looking for a long while to find a recipe that really captures all the flavors this soup needs – well Bingo! Thank you so much, this is a wonderful recipe! I see you have some recipes featuring Saffron – did you know you can easily grow your own? It’s pretty and tasty :-)

  23. Jenna Nickerson says

    Does anyone know if I leave the red jalapeño out of this will it affect the taste much? I really want to make it but can’t find red jalapeños anywhere for some reason!

  24. Jen says

    This is one of the best soups I’ve had in a while. Amazing how easy it was to make, and best of all super healthy & lip smacking good. My hubby, who is usually wary when I try some newfangled recipe from the internet, kept asking if I’ve saved this one, coz its a keeper!!

  25. jayemstar says

    Absolutely delicious! Made a double batch so we’ll be enjoying this for another few nights! Looking forward to trying other recipes on your site.

  26. says

    This was so good! I had only ever heard of Mulligatawny Soup from Seinfeld. Just the name sounds yummy. Had this for dinner last night – sadly we didn’t have any cardamom (memo to self, buy some!) and I had to use a green jalapeno – and it was delicious. Counting the minutes until leftovers for lunch.

  27. Mike says

    Hi Annetta,
    Tried your mulligatawny soup yesterday, it was fantastic. Unfortunately, I let let a few people taste it. Now I have to make another big batch, everyone thought it was great. None of the spices overpowered the others. Perfectly proportioned. Thanks for the great recipe.

  28. sarah says

    This is my to do dish tomorrow,looks soooo good, found your Blog and today made Chicken Korma and indian Naan, both amazing, can’t wait to try more of your recipe’s Thanks

  29. Shan B says

    I am making this for the third time this rainy, cold weekend. This soup is fantastic. I make it vegan, using Earth Balance butter and veggie stock. A keeper for sure! I am glad I found this recipe.

  30. Beth says

    I made this last night using my Instant Pot – it was SO good! I did add two chicken breasts and upped the lentils to 1 cup and broth to a full carton of chicken broth. Because I added extra chicken and lentils, I just bumped up the spices a little bit. Served with brown rice and a dollop of Greek yogurt – this was so good!

    I eat a ton of Indian food, half my family is Indian, so when I was craving Mulligatawny, I sort of knew what I wanted to taste and this totally hit the spot. Thank you!

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