The Memsahib's Mulligatawny Soup: Anglo-Indian Curried Soup

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 25 mins

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.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Simmer all the basic soup ingredients together for 15 to 25 minutes.
  2. Then add all, or any of the flavouring ingredients - to make the soup exactly as you like it.
  3. (Flavouring ingredients are listed above.).
  4. Cook over a gentle heat for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Serve hot with any of the side dishes as described above.


Most Helpful

Excellent! I have made mulligatawny many times using coconut milk and chicken broth -- but the coconut cream makes all the difference. So rich and creamy! Look for it in your health food store - I found it by the coconut oil jars.

It's raining buckets here, for days on end. Today I made a big pot of chicken stock, simmering on the stove all day, and used it tonight to make this soup. We topped it with chopped red onion, some raisins, and some sliced almonds. Perfect!

Pyxis55 May 16, 2011

Wonderful taste! I used red curry paste, and added in some chopped chicken, roast beef, the apples, onions, rice, and chutney. I couldn't find coconut cream, so I bought a can of full coconut milk, and scooped out the thickened part, which did amount to just over the required 7 seemed to work out well. Really loved this soup! Thanks for sharing.

breezermom May 30, 2010

DH and I really enjoyed this soup! It is very different from what we are used to. I had to make a couple of changes due to what was in the house. I used homemade turkey stock and had to leave out (unfortunately) the chutney and cardamom. I used 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I had gently poached. This will be made again during the winter months. I served it with "recipe#181281". Thank you for sharing this lovely soup!!!

luvcook'n September 30, 2009

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