Mulligatawny Palak - a Curried Lentil Soup With Spinach

"An easy, tasty and highly nutritious vegetarian version of this historic English soup based on Indian cuisine. Loved by vegans. This recipe combines the making of a good vegetable stock (onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, herbs, without straining out all the goodness) with an aromatic Indian dhal, made with red and brown lentils. Lentils contribute a high quality protein and lovely thickness, while the twist of adding spinach (palak) gives this soup texture and added nourishment. Garam masala is simply an Indian spice blend - I prefer to use "medium" supermarket versions, which add all the flavours and not too much heat. But choose "hot" if you enjoy a spicier soup. You'll need a large pot, a chopping board and sharp knife, a wooden spoon, a grater and maybe a citrus squeezer (though you can squeeze the lemon juice by hand if you watch for the pips) and a hand blender. This is an excellent one-pot meal. You'll want to make a large quantity and keep some for tomorrow."
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Ready In:
1hr 15mins




  • Heat the oil and garam masala in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the onion, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
  • About 2 minutes later add the celery, carrot and leek. Keep stirring while the vegetables soften.
  • About 8 minutes later add the garlic, turmeric and white pepper.
  • A couple of minutes later (by now your kitchen will smell delicious) add the coriander, red lentils, brown lentils and boiling water. Salt lightly.
  • At the same time squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and zest some lemon rind into the pot with a grater.
  • Give it a good mix and cover pot with lid. Allow to simmer, adjusting heat downwards and stirring occasionally.
  • After about 30 minutes, roughly blend the Mulligatawny in the pot with a hand blender. The split red lentils will already be soft and creamy, so just blend until most of the brown lentils are incorporated. Leave a bit of texture in the dhal.
  • Stir, check the consistency and taste, and add more hot water and salt if you need to.
  • Add the chopped spinach to the pot, give it a good stir, replace the lid and turn heat to low. Let the spinach wilt in the dhal for the next 10 minutes or so.
  • Enjoy your Mulligatawny Palak!

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