How to Make Easy Fragrant Indian Mulligatawny Soup

A delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for a cold winter day
January 16, 2024
Rating: 0.00

Spice up your winter with this fragrant Indian Mulligatawny Soup, a delightful blend of creamy red lentils, sweet apples, earthy carrots, and aromatic spices. Ready in under an hour, this nourishing soup is perfect for a cozy meal or a comforting lunch.

Don’t forget to check my other soup recipes : Fiery Roasted Bell Pepper Soup or Autumnal Yellow Mini Tomato Gazpacho.

Table of Contents

What is Mulligatawny Soup?

Mulligatawny soup, meaning “pepper water” in Tamil, is a spicy soup with a fascinating history. Legend has it that the name comes from the British Raj era, where British officers requested a soup course from a cuisine that traditionally didn’t have one. So, resourceful Indian servants crafted this unique dish, blending their own spices and flavors with British influences. The result? A delicious and complex soup that combines the heat of pepper (“milagay” or “milagu” in Tamil) with the soothing broth (“tanni”).

Traditionally, Mulligatawny soup had a texture similar to Rasam, another popular South Indian spicy soup. However, over time, restaurant versions featuring vegetables and rice have become more widespread and popular globally. You can even add chicken pieces for a heartier variation!

So, next time you’re craving a flavorful and exotic soup, give Mulligatawny a try. It’s a true testament to culinary creativity and cultural fusion, offering a taste of both Indian tradition and colonial history in every spoonful.

This fragrant Indian Mulligatawny Soup recipe is bursting with flavor thanks to aromatic spices like curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. Creamy red lentils, carrots, apples, and coconut milk come together to create a hearty and satisfying dish that’s both comforting and exotic.

I love how the different flavors meld together in this soup, creating a symphony of taste in every spoonful. The subtle sweetness of the apples balances the warmth of the spices, while the creamy coconut milk adds a touch of richness. Each bite is a delightful experience that will transport you to the heart of India.

Red lentils form the creamy base, offering a subtle earthiness that melts into the broth. Sweet apples and onions dance alongside crunchy carrots, adding bursts of sweetness and depth. A fiery tango plays out with the red jalapeño, its gentle kick balanced by the warming medley of spices – curry powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamom. 

Finally, the magic happens: creamy coconut milk glides in, elevating the soup to luxurious heights, harmonizing the flavors and tempering the heat. Each spoonful is a vibrant performance, a symphony of contrasting elements coming together to create an unforgettable culinary experience.

Feel free to adjust the spice level to your preference, and don’t hesitate to experiment with different ingredients to make this soup your own. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, this recipe is sure to become a new favorite.

I hope you enjoy this delicious and easy-to-make soup!


This versatile recipe can be readily adapted to fit your dietary needs. 

For a dairy-free version, simply swap the butter for vegetable oil, keeping all other ingredients the same. You’ll get the same fragrant goodness without a trace of dairy!

Going vegan? Two simple replacements are all you need! Ditch the butter for vegetable oil and swap the chicken broth for your favorite vegetable broth. Voila! A plant-powered Mulligatawny masterpiece awaits, bursting with flavor and nourishment.

So, whether you’re lactose-intolerant, embracing a plant-based lifestyle, or simply curious to explore different options, this recipe has you covered! Choose your preferred path and dive into a bowl of this fragrant and comforting soup.

Storing and Reviving Your Mulligatawny

Lucky enough to have leftover Mulligatawny after your culinary adventure? Fear not, for its delectable journey doesn’t have to end just yet!

For up to 4-5 days, this soup finds a cozy home in the fridge. Simply let it cool down, pack it into an airtight container, and it’ll be waiting patiently for your next heartwarming bowl.

Craving Mulligatawny months later? No problem! Cool it down, divide it into freezer-safe containers or sturdy zip-top bags (remember to leave room for expansion!), and seal them tightly. Tuck them away in the freezer, where they’ll be good for up to 2-3 months, ready to whisk you back to that first flavorful encounter.

When you want more soup!

  • Stovetop: Thaw soup and pour it in a pot. Heat it slowly on medium, stirring sometimes, until warm.
  • Microwave: Put soup in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds, stir, then keep heating in 30-second bursts until warm.

A Word to the Wise: Sometimes, this fragrant friend gets misnamed in the culinary world. So, remember, “Indian Muligatawny Soup recipe,” “Indian Muligatawny Soup recipe,” and “Indian Mulagatani Soup recipe” all lead to the same delicious destination: a bowl of Mulligatawny magic waiting to be savored.

With these tips, you can stretch your Mulligatawny journey and enjoy its vibrant flavors for days to come! So, go forth, cook, savor, and store with confidence, knowing that every spoonful holds the promise of another delightful encounter with this captivating soup.


What is Mulligatawny Soup?

Mulligatawny, meaning “pepper water” in Tamil, is an Anglo-Indian soup invention. Traditionally a thin, spicy broth, it has evolved into various versions, with this creamy lentil soup gaining popularity.

Why is it called Mulligatawny?

“Mulligatawny” is derived from Tamil words that roughly translate to “pepper water.” The soup is an Anglo-Indian invention and was originally a thin, spicy broth.

Why make this Mulligatawny Soup?

  • This recipe is:
    • Ready in under an hour: Perfect for busy weeknights.
    • Flavorful and satisfying: The combination of spices, creamy coconut milk, and sweet apples creates a complex and comforting taste.
    • Customizable: Easily make it dairy-free or vegan with simple substitutions.

What are the ingredients used in this mulligatawny soup?

  • Aromatics: Butter, onion, carrot, jalapeño, garlic, ginger.
  • Sweet and earthy: Apples, tomato, red lentils.
  • Spice blend: Curry powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, clove, cardamom, black pepper, lemon thyme.
  • Creamy base: Coconut milk.
  • Fresh garnishes: Roasted cashews, chopped cilantro or scallions.

Does mulligatawny soup contain meat?

Mulligatawny soup can contain meat, but it doesn’t have to! Traditionally, it was a thin broth with no meat, similar to the South Indian rasam. However, many versions, especially restaurant-style or Anglo-Indian variations, include chicken, lamb, or even seafood.

Can we use meat or chicken in  mulligatawny soup?

This specific recipe focuses on a vegetarian version with creamy red lentils as the main protein source. However, you can absolutely add meat or chicken for a heartier taste and texture. Here’s how:

  • Adding chicken: When you sauté the onions, carrots, and jalapeño, simply brown some diced chicken (about 1 pound) alongside them before proceeding with the recipe.
  • Adding lamb: You can follow the same method as for chicken, using diced lamb instead.
  • Other meats: If you prefer different proteins, feel free to experiment! Diced beef or even shrimp could work, just adjust the cooking time as needed.

Remember, if you add meat, you may need to adjust the seasonings or broth depending on the flavor profile you want. Enjoy creating your own unique version of Mulligatawny soup!

How to Make Easy Fragrant Indian Mulligatawny Soup

Spice up your winter with this fragrant Indian Mulligatawny Soup, a delightful blend of creamy red lentils, sweet apples, earthy carrots, and aromatic spices. Ready in under an hour, this nourishing soup is perfect for a cozy meal or a comforting lunch.
Servings 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1/4 cup butter or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 red jalapeño seeded and diced ( or use jalapeño sauce)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger root
  • 2 small firm apples peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 big heirloom tomato diced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried lemon thyme
  • 1 cup red lentils uncooked
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Roasted cashews for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro or scallions for garnish


  • Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and jalapeño, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, apples, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Sauté for another minute.
  • Add in all of the spices and toss to coat.
  • Add in the lentils and broth and bring the contents to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
  • Puree about 75% of the ingredients using either an immersion blender or by transferring a portion of the contents to the bowl of a standard blender. Leave some of the chunks whole, as it adds a nice texture and consistency to the soup.
  • Return the soup to the pot if needed, then stir in the coconut milk. Taste, and adjust salt and black pepper as needed.
  • Serve topped with cashew and scallions along with naan bread for dipping.



  • Make a double batch and freeze leftovers for easy meals later.
  • Use olive oil for a vegan option.
  • Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth for a vegetarian version.
  • Adjust spice level to your preference.
  • Serve with naan bread for dipping.
Enjoy this fragrant Indian Mulligatawny Soup, a delicious fusion of spice and comfort that will warm your body and soul!
Your feedback and comments are invaluable, helping my page thrive. Stay tuned for more exciting recipes and gardening adventures. Happy cooking and gardening!
Author: Marzi
Course: dinner, lunch, Soup
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Indian soup, Mulligatawny Soup, SOUP

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag at @marzisgarden on Instagram and hashtag it #Marzis Garden

As an Amazon influencer, I earn a commission through product links at no extra cost to you—your support is appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Copyright © 2023 Marzi's Garden.
Popular Search:

Order my Passion Fruit Recipe Book here