Food: Mulligatawny soup made easy

Mulligatawny soup - flavor and laugher, all in the same bowl. PHOTO VIA WIKIPEDIA AND THE CREATIVE COMMONS.

Coconut milk adds richness to this classic Indian soup

By Tom Castrigno

Some words are just fun to say and Mulligatawny is definitely one of them. It also turns out to be the name of a delicious Indian soup. Literally translated, it means ” pepper water.”

The soup was originally developed by Indian cooks to suit the British taste. It has since become quite popular with Indians, who have developed hundreds of variations to please themselves. Most variations include chicken or beef and sometimes rice. Red lentils are another option.

A delicious vegetarian version comes from one of my favorite places, the Moosewood Collective. One of the things I like about it is the use of coconut milk instead of half-and-half that some recipes call for. The addition of grated coconut gives even more richness. There is a range of textures that comes from vegetables being added at separate stages. Final garnishes of fresh lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro make the soup sparkle.

Coconut was once considered unhealthy among westerners because of a high saturated fat content. Now, it’s gaining a deserved reputation its health benefits.

Coconut contains medium chain fats. These are healthy fats that provide a range of benefits, including protection against osteoporosis, reducing inflammation, and improving digestion and bowel function. Coconut has provided nutrition for generations of people around the world.

Mulligatawny soup is easy to make and like most soups, benefits from sitting overnight. It is a great make ahead dish when you’re having friends over. A medium soup pot is the only cooking vessel needed.

Cooking occurs in stages. Some of the vegetables are sautéed. Broth is added and the next set of vegetables is simmered until tender. The final vegetables are then added towards the end to keep their crispness. The soup makes part of a delicious menu when paired with tomato fish curry, Bengali spinach, and saffron rice.

Kathy and I especially enjoy a bowl of mulligatawny after our afternoon yoga practice. The smell of coconut and the sound of laughter as we say the name again and again make a real treat. Click here for the full recipe.

Tom Castrigno lives in Frisco, CO where he is known as The Mobile Chef. Learn some of his secrets for healthy eating and find great recipes on his blog at



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