25 April, 2012

April recipe: Mulligatawny soup

This spicy soup is simple to make, and its warming taste and bright colour help to cheer up a cold, wet day – which can be useful in chancy spring weather. You can vary the spices according to taste and availability, or use curry powder if you prefer.

Like chutney and kedgeree, the unusual name ‘mulligatawny’ is a legacy of empire, an Anglo-Indian dish whose name derives from the Tamil word ‘milagutannir’, translation ‘pepper-water’.

There are many variations. I have seen mulligatawny made with chicken or lamb, sometimes with rice. This is a vegetarian (vegan if you use vegetable oil instead of butter) version based on red lentils. It freezes well, so you can make a double quantity and freeze half for later use. The recipe below serves two as a main meal with bread, or four as a first course.

Mulligatawny soup
1 onion
Half a red pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 oz (approx 25 g) butter
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground ginger
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) cumin
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) coriander
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) turmeric
2 teaspoons (2 x 5 ml spoons) tomato puree
Approx 6oz (approx 150 g) tinned tomatoes
4 oz (approx 100 g) split red lentils
1 oz (approx 25 g) raisins
0.5 teaspoon (0.5 x 5 ml spoon) demerara sugar
1 pint (approx 500 ml) vegetable stock or water

Peel and chop the onion. Wash the red pepper, remove the seeds and chop into pieces about 0.5 inch (approx 1 cm) square. Peel and crush the garlic.
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Fry the onion, red pepper and garlic gently in the butter for a few minutes until softened and starting to colour.
Stir in the ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes. Cook gently for a minute or two.
Add the lentils and raisins and stir well so that the lentils are coated in the tomato and spice mixture. Add the stock and sugar and bring to the boil.
Season with salt, turn the heat down to low, and simmer over a low heat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour until the lentils are soft.
Serve hot with bread.
Can be frozen.


Gabriele Campbell said...

Oh, that's the famous soup from the sketch The 90th Birthday which is so popular in Germany - it's played on TV every New Year's Eve, and most Germans could quote and imitate the poor Butler (played by Freddy Frinton) who has to stand in for 4 deceased friends of the lady and does all the drinking and saluting through several courses of a birthday dinner.

I should make that soup next New Year's Eve. :)

Carla said...

Gabriele - I had to search for The 90th Birthday :-) It sounds as if it has a place a little like the Parrot Sketch, if lots of people know the dialogue off by heart. Yes, if you want to do your own re-enactment (!), this is the recipe for the soup...