How to Make Simple and Healthy Mulligatawny Soup (Traditional and Vegetarian Styles)

Mulligatawny soup

5 stars from 1 rating of Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny Soup -- Saying it is FUN and dining on it is even better!

The first time I encountered a bowl of mulligatawny soup was in a restaurant where the signature dish was roasted prime rib. The prime rib that this restaurant produced was a strong rival to the prime rib that my Chef Dad roasted -- that is how tasty it was!! Always perfect and tender, it was what I always looked forward to when I dined at this restaurant. Until.......

the restaurant's chef brought me a bowl of his special soup. Oh my!! It was fabulous!! His mulligatawny soup was, and still is, the best I have ever tasted. Unfortunately, I cannot share his original recipe (the only condition that he gave me when he shared his secret recipe with me) but I have recreated a recipe that is similar to his. My recipe is one that is more suitable for family home dining which can be made with ease while maintaining the tantalizing tastes that he had created.

How did Mulligatawny Soup come about?

There is no true and clear history of mulligatawny soup, but we do know that it has Anglo-Indian origins.If we look at the etymology of the word mulligatawny, it can be translated, in a literal sense, from Tamil (a southern Indian Dravidian language) to mean pepper water.In Tamil, millagu is defined as pepper while tanni is defined as water.

During the 18th century and later, the British were stationed in India during a period that is referred to as the colonial times. With its curry base, hot peppers and robust flavors, mulligatawny soup was extremely popular.Originally, mulligatawny soup was made with stock from chicken, beef or mutton and thickened with meat, cream, coconut milk and/or rice.Many of the British belonged with the East India Company and when they returned home, they brought the recipe back with them to England and to other Commonwealth countries.

Since then, the recipe has undergone many experiments, and hence, there are numerous variations of it.It can be made as a vegetarian dish by substituting the animal stock with vegetable stock, thickening with yogurt instead of cream and adding almonds for a crunchy texture.This recipe is one of the variations but is unique in the sense that is the results of my own experimentation with the recipe.

“I’ll capture them wild and I’ll capture them scrawny, I’ll capture a scraggle-foot mulligatawny.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~Zookeeper Wannabe (excerpt from Dr. Seuss If I Ran the Zoo)

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: Serves 6 to 8 guests

Shop On-line for cutting edge dicing


  • 1 cup dried yellow split peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp. curry powder, more if preferred
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon**
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1 small apple, peeled and chopped or grated
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • fresh ground pepper

** use vegetable bouillon cubes if you are making a vegetarian version

Preparation and Cooking - General Instructions

  1. Chop onion, carrot, celery and place in large stock pot. Add minced garlic, olive oil and curry. Sauté until soft.
  2. Add bay leaf, water, bouillon cubes and split yellow peas. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer.
  3. Add rice, apple and thyme. Simmer. Remove bay leaf. Add lemon juice, soy sauce and pepper.
  4. Serve hot.

Preparation and Cooking Instructions - Detailed

  1. Pick through dried yellow split peas. Look for rocks, pebbles and other non-edible debris. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Set aside. Picking through the dried split peas and rinsing them are important steps, as explained in my series on Beans, Legumes, and Pulses, which you can access by clicking on the hyperlink.
  2. In a medium sized soup pot, add the olive oil. On medium heat, add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and sauté for an additional 3 minutes while stirring frequently.
  3. Next, add the bay leaf, water, bouillon cubes and split yellow peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the dried split peas are soft.
  4. Add rice, apple and thyme. Simmer for 15 minutes more. The split peas should be soft and cooked through. Remove the bay leaf.
  5. Add lemon juice, soy sauce and pepper. Stir until well blended. Serve while hot with a side of Sarah's Caesar Salad or with Cheesy Tuna Melt Sandwiches.

Bon apetite!

Copyright Beth100 (Recipe, Text and Photographs)

© May 2012

How to dice onions, carrots, potatoes and celery like a pro!

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Comments 26 comments

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 3 years ago from Canada Author

Denise -- Hi my long lost sister from the South!!! I have missed you, Klara and Mark!

I was wonderful to hear from you and we must exchange more news. :) I'm very happy for you with your day shifts and am glad that you made it through the 6 months of waiting! I'm enjoying my position still (lol) but some days, the parents can be, let's say, not so nice but very verbally colorful! lol

You should publish your recipe - both of them!! I haven't tried this soup with coconut milk... I didn't even know you could make it with coconut milk!! Please, write and publish yours! We can link them together! :)

Thank you for the rating and thumbs up. As always, it is greatly appreicated.

Miss you tons! Hugs, hugs and more hugs!!

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Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

Hello Beth, my long lost sister from the North! I miss you! I was all set to make Mulligatawny soup today, and's one of my favorite words-just rolls off the tongue, when I decided to check on HP before doing a hub about it. Wow! I didn't know Chef Beth had already created this hub eons ago, (shame on me). So, I'll nix the hub and just leave a comment for you instead:

Loved the hub. I was curious about the history and you answered all the questions. I have two other versions of this recipe, one that includes lime juice and coconut milk, and the other, (weight watchers recipe) that cuts down on everything and doesn't use coconut milk at all!

I like your version of the soup. I rated it a 5 star rating at the top and UP/U/I and will share. BTW-how've you been? Keeping warm in the winter's cold? Get this-I went out on medical leave in Aug 2012, was ready to return in Oct except NOT to midnight shift and had a 'day shift only' restriction. I had no idea what a can of worms I opened. I just now returned to work on February 14th--six months without a paycheck!

So, they finally called me for a day shift and I'm glad to be back to work. Email me if you want to chat and get caught up. Take care-miss you, Klara, and Mark! Great hub! BTW--very helpful video on dicing technique.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

Lady_E -- Sometimes, it wonderful to have canned soup and can be healthy too. Mulligatawny is simple to make and it also freezes well. Thank you and enjoy your soups!

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Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

It's very interesting to know how it came about and I like the healthy ingredients. Lovely Recipe. I actually bought some Canned soup today, I wish I made Mulligatawny instead. Much Healthier...:-)

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Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

B&G -- Rachel and her sister are whipping up batches of puppy chow and feeding it to you and their brother?!? Wow, if I had known you were this hungry, I would have sent you some dinner. :D


BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Hey Beth, well the animals will be eating good. I'm not talking about teenagers. Plenty of rabbit food and this stuff called puppy chow. Rachael and her sister are whipping up batches of it now. They gave me and their brother a taste. Well, he took a big bowl of it and said, "This will go fast, you better make more."

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

B&G -- Once bitten, twice shy (or something like that). She's passive aggressive. But, enough of her. Since it is your daughter's special event, call the park and confirm that all the paper work is in place (permits, licenses, etc.) and it is confirmed for the date and time. The venue is the most important piece of the party. Without it, there's no party. With it, there is still a party -- with or without the food and drinks! Next, order your food and drinks. Have the pick up time for the hot food approximately 1.5 hours before the start of the event. Pick up the cold food, including cakes, the day before. This gives you time to pick up, set up and ensure that all that you ordered is indeed there. Third, if she said she is renting party tents/tables etc., call them to make sure that everything will be delivered on time. If she's done it, great. If not, then you need to decide to do it or not. Fourth, go and buy paper plates (yea, I know, not environmentally friendly but I hate cleaning up after events), paper cups, plastic forks/knives/spoons, napkins, garbage bags and a few of those holders that you use during the fall to hold the leaf bag. You can find it at Home Depot (or Walmart, but that's only seasonal). Fifth, make your money box for her. Just remember, this may become her most cherished gift. Maybe you could make a replica of her pink lunch box but larger and label it "Rachael's Rainy Lunch Fund" or something like that. I'd plaster photos of her growing up and the fun times she's had growing up. I doubt that she'd pull these off. lol Sixth, put everything that you are taking to the park into boxes (easy to carry and it's all central). Seventh, take a deep breath. You're almost there for the big day. :) Eighth, pour yourself your favorite drink, turn on some good music and relax. And if your ex decides to try to embarass you or belittle you, smile nicely at her, turn and walk away. That's the only way you will win with a passive aggressive. I guarantee she'll be standing there dumbstruck. (ah, I'm not really this nasty, but I can be to those who belittle others) Also, if she flops this, don't take the blame.

Your backup plan if it doesn't go smoothly (or even if it does), have a small intimate and informal get together for your daughter and her closest friends at your home on the weekend (sleep over possibly). Give her your digital camera and load up on pizzas, juice, Caesar salad, pop, chips and their favorite snacks and some things for them to do (girly stuff). The girls will have a blast when it's just them. She'll treasure this memory more than the party in the park.

Breathe! :)


BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Hey Beth.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop worrying. I’m going to concentrate on making the box for the money. I was thinking about putting “Fund for Rachael’s frontal lobotomy” on it, but I better not.

To further complicate matters, my daughter, her mother, my other children, etc., are in Virginia Beach on vacation, to return some time tomorrow, the day before the party. They left last Saturday, the day after the graduation ceremony. So I won’t know exactly what’s up with the food and all that until like tomorrow night. Yeah, they all (except for my ex-wife) asked me to go, but I declined due to . . . well it’s a long story. So I printed out what you said so I can offer suggestions and sound intelligent.

Nope, no alcohol. The party is from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. I think this park closes at 9:00 pm so we have an hour to clean up and pack up whatever. I better get a case of beer for the clean-up operation though.

Yeah, the plan is starting to come into better focus here.

But let me give you an inkling of why I worry about this sort of thing. One time (of many) my ex was acting real ticked at me. So finally asked what the problem was. She said it was her birthday and I didn’t get her anything or even say Happy Birthday. My reply was, “It’s not your birthday, you’re birthday is two days from now.”

This is what I have to deal with. So we had a little party after the graduation last Friday and I asked my ex in front of everybody if she was absolutely sure that everything was set with renting this park place for the graduation party this Friday. She said yes she had the certificate or whatever and it was all confirmed. That would be the last thing we need is to go to the place and find out at the last minute we don’t really have it that day.

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Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

B&G -- There is nothing worse than running around an hour or two before a big event trying to find enough food. You will have enough details to care for without this extra stress. Call your grocers (at least 2 days before the pick up date), ask for the deli department and pre-order the chickens. They will not only ensure they have enough on hand, but they will roast them for you and set them aside for your pick up. This will guarantee that you will find enough of them at one location. You could ask them to make an assortment: x number of roasted chickens (you have to cut them up), x number of fried chicken pieces (they usually bake least up here they do), x pounds of buffalo wings, x pounds of bar-b-que wings, and whatever kind of chicken you would like. You could even order French fries or venture and make your own (ooooo, poutine would be fabulous!)

As for the drinks, it depends on whether you're serving alcohol or not. Go to Walmart for the sodas (they're always cheaper than the grocers, but Costco and Sams is cheaper). Frozen concentrate juice, white grape juice and ginger ale or 7-Up/Sprite can be combined to make a very nice punch. You could use cranberry juice instead of the concentrate. (ssshhhhh, this is my brother in-laws secret recipe... he's the punch man at our parties lol) Add the soda in right before serving or the punch will lose it's punch. Also make it stronger than normal -- the ice that you add will melt and will dilute it as time ticks away.

I wish I could cater for you.... it would be a blast! I use to make custom cheesecakes (my little home based business a long time ago) but my experience is from my dad's restaurant. He use to host huge gatherings in his restaurant. I was fortunate to learn a lot from him. :)

And, cake is easy. Order it from Costco or Sams at least 5 days prior to the pick up date. You could also order it from your bakers (but it will be costly; however, the quality and taste is worth it). Or, you could do this: buy several smaller cakes, a variety of types and create a cake table. Include cheese cake (fruit, plain, flavored, choclate), mousse cake, marble cake, white cake, fruit flan and anything else you would like to include. Again, you could order at the grocers or go to Costco to buy a variety of them. Arrange them on doilies on serving platters, decorate the edges of the platters with icing sugar, mint leaves, chocolate curls, chocolate sprinkles, fresh fruit. This is a crowd pleaser -- everyone can try a bit of what they like and they have control over it. And don't forget, cupcakes are the food fashion these days.

Just a few suggestions. :)

And STOP worrying. You are responsible for YOUR part, not hers. If her part flops, it will only make you look that much more loving and competent. :) Your daughter and guests will still have a grand time celebrating -- seriously, their minds will be on having FUN, not eating!! :)


BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Hey Beth, I sure wish you were catering this affair. I'd pay you whatever you wanted for services rendered.

See, this is the problem here. My ex-wife is running this pony show. Based on past experience, I am afraid, very afraid.

So far my responsibilities are the drinks, and to pick up the cake and the chicken at different grocery stores a couple hours prior to the event.

But I will keep in mind all that stuff you said to get if we need more food. Walmart is only 10 minutes away.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

B&G -- I'm eagerly waiting to read your latest!! So, HURRY UP!!! LOL The grad party sounds fabulous! Informal is the best. Just a suggestion to cut the work time and headaches out, but visit Costco. Their fresh packaged salads are terrific (but I'd stay away from the Thai cold noodle salad. The noodles had the taste and texture of cardboard -.-). Some ideas from there: pre-washed salads, Greek salad, meatball party pack (just throw it in a cue, oven or slow cooker and it's ready in no time), pizzas, quiches, cakes (Tuxedo cake is awesome!!), lasagna. From the freezer aisle: spring rolls with dipping sauce, chicken wings, taquitos, hot dogs, smokies, burgers. For drinks, you can mix your own punch (I have a recipe which isn't published yet, but if you want it, I can email it to you), frozen fruit smoothies (easy to make with frozen fruit and concentrate juice -- I can email you the general proportions), and the standard fizzy juice/pop/sparkly waters.

I can't imagine it will be a Nightmare of a Graduation Party -- not with you at the helm!!! If anything, everyone will want to stay and party through the night. :) And, honestly, after throwing many large dinner/snack parties, if you run out of food, oh well. No one really notices anyways -- they're too busy talking or dancing or just having a great time. :D

Take lots of photos -- it can be the second installment of your "10 Things I Miss About High School"! This is going to be a great series!!


BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Hi Beth,

I wrote most of it last night. It was making me laugh as I did it. Found some funny pics too. Maybe I'll finish it today.

Talking about food, my immediate concern is my daughter's graduation party Friday. We are having it at a park where we have a pavilion with a whole bunch of picnic tables under it, and electricity to keep the food warm.

This park has volleyball courts, basketball courts, playground for kids, etc., so there should be something for people to do besides eat. But the food, rather the amount of food, does concern me.

I won't be making soup or chilli because I'd have to make enough to feed an army. I think there will several hundred people who will show up. Hot dogs, many, many hot dogs. Oh, chicken and a bunch of other stuff too. My back-up plan is to run over to Domino's or Pizza Hut if necessary.

Hey, this might turn into a hub. Entitled either "How to Have a Successful Graduation Party" or "How to Have a Nightmare of a Graduation Party."

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

B&G -- You've brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing more touching than feeling the love a dad has for his daughter. Her pink lunchbox -- imagine all the great memories it has held and could share with the world! She is one lucky girl!! My daughter will be graduating from high school exactly one year from now. I'm not ready for her to graduate -- she's my only girl and she's the first to leave the nest. But, like you, I will have memories of great times that I can reflect upon when she is away. And, I will have her four brothers to keep my mind busy. :D

Your new hub is a wonderful tribute to your daughter. I am waiting and ready to read it (along with a box of Kleenex... I know it will tug at my heart strings!!) I know that I will laugh too -- that milk bone trick had me laughing in stitches. I can imagine her reaction!! lol

Thank you B&G. Once again, you've brought a smile to my face. (Not that I'm the frowning type, but it's been one of those "Mondays"). As for the chilli, improvise on what you don't have on hand. :) Chilli is adaptable to anything to toss into it and it will still taste grand! xo


BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Hi Beth,

I just read your recipe for chilli (or chillli). I’m going to try that too. I love chilli, and I never can get mine just right. I got to get a few more ingredients in order to make the soup and the chilli.

Well, you said “daddy makes her lunch with a salad!!” Oh yeah, and I put it in her pink lunch box. I asked her if any other kid in high school had a lunch box, and she said no. I kept gluing her picture to the lunch box, but she kept ripping it off.

Anyway, what you said got me to thinking. No more lunches in that pink lunch box. She graduated from high school this past Friday night. Off to college in the fall.

So I’m writing a hub entitled “Why I’ll Miss High School (Top 10 Reasons).” I got all 10 reasons written down, and all I need to do now is elaborate on them and find the pics to go with it. Maybe I’ll take a pic of the pink lunch box. “Making lunch” is number 3. Another one is “Playing pranks on her.” One time I put a huge doggy milk bone in her lunch. Imagine the look on her face when she pulled that out of her pink lunch box in the cafeteria. Well, I didn’t actually see it either. Her friends told me about it.

And I have you for inspiring me to write the hub! It’s bringing back a lot of fond memories, and the fact that I’m going to be missing all this stuff. Sniffle, sniffle.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

b. Malin -- Not only does it sound good, it tastes great!! :D Thank you for your support!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

Klara -- I am easily (I mean EASILY) distracted!!! Why do you think I haven't written an article in months?!? :D I think I used all my energy for the month concentrating on this and the tuna melt recipes!!! LOL

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b. Malin 4 years ago

Sounds very Good Beth, I'd give it a try. Thanks for sharing. I now look forward to Following your Hubs.

klarawieck 4 years ago

Distracted?! I hope my distraction didn't distract you! Yeap! A.D.D. kicking in!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

Klara -- ha ha just for you!! I didn't want to get distracted with other things.... :D

klarawieck 4 years ago

Wow! You are fast! Thanks for the history lesson. This hub looks great, Beth.

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Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

Klarawieck -- ha ha I think that KlaraBeth would be perfect!! We could do this!! :D

I've included the history of the soup for you. Thanks for asking that important question. :)

Now, how about Kleth and Bara? Or Notes and Spoons? .... okay, back to the kitchen where I belong! :D

klarawieck 4 years ago

Beth, where is this soup originally from? I see soy sauce, so I'm thinking Asian, but then... apples? I have to try this one as well. I'm thinking this summer I'll do a review of your recipes. Kind of like Julie and Julia, except we'll just have to change your name so the title may have more of a hook. How about Klarie and Klara? Fine, I'll change mine! Bethie and Betha... okay, okay... we'll continue working on the ideas!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

B&G -- Soup is great any ol' day! I have a cold cucumber soup for the hot summer months. Maybe, just maybe, I might share it. :D She's one lucky girl -- daddy makes her lunch with a salad!!

Thanks for your reply. I wrote you back. :) Hope to see you soon in the sandbox!


BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Hi Beth,

Well, I'll have to try that. I made some soup the other day and I'm eating it, and my teenage daughter asked what I was eating. When I said soup she said,"When it's this hot!" It was like 90 degrees outside. Maybe if I make it on a cool day she'll eat some. She loves my Caesar salad, and I put some in her lunch for school every day.

I wanted to mention to you I saw that post you made about "Feed on profile . . ." in "Report a Problem . . "

Unfortunately I'm banned from the forums so I couldn't reply. I also noticed what you said was happening and more. I just posted something about all this on my "HubPages, What Are You Thinking?" hub.

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Beth100 4 years ago from Canada Author

Vellur -- One has to satisfy soup cravings!! :) It is very healthy and delicious! Thank you!

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Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Your recipe is healthy and delicious. Now I want soup!!!

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