The British have always been fond of highly spiced food, a taste which can be traced back in our cooking to medieval times and which can be seen today in our pungent commercially prepared sauces and mustards.
This tasty curried broth belongs to the early nineteenth century and is part of the heritage of the British Raj. British people who spent years in India grew to love the local spicy food and brought back their favourite recipes which were adapted in the Victorian kitchen. "Pepper Water" was the nearest thing to soup in the cuisine of India, and indeed the word mulligatawny comes from the Tamil words molegoo (pepper) and tunes (water). It was originally a vegetarian 'sauce', but the British added meat and various other ingredients to create a variety of mulligatawnies, which were popular in India and Ceylon, but had an extremely bad press back home in England! A basic peppered water was flavoured with various other ingredients, then the soup would be served with side bowls of cooked rice, lime wedges, grated coconut, snippets of fried bacon, quartered hard-boiled eggs and sliced chillies. You helped yourself to what you wanted - a meal in itself. I serve mine with Raita and Chutney, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs, you can add whatever you like to the basic soup posted below. This recipe was taken from The Memsahib's Cookbook and has been adapted to personal taste.