mulligatawny – indian lentil soup

Warm up with our creamy mulligatawny! This rich and savory Indian lentil soup is packed with fresh vegetables and spiced with garam masala and curry powder. This easy soup recipe is a hearty and healthy choice for a cold day!

Mulligatawny was invented during the British Raj and most likely designed to cater to officers who wanted a soup course, something that was not common in India at the time. Though the flavors and ingredients of the soup are Indian in origin, the dish was adapted to be more suitable to the British palate and has been evolving ever since! With so many variations, there is no one definitive recipe.

mulligatawny with coconut milk

The name mulligatawny is actually an anglicized version of the Tamil words for peppery water. While that description may not sound overly appetizing, I can assure you that this soup is packed with fresh ingredients and full of flavor! Though most earlier adaptations of the soup included some type of meat, I chose to make a vegetarian version chock-full of lentils and fresh veggies!

Garam masala and curry powder are the main spices in this soup, but you can definitely play around with the other spices on the ingredient list and make a few substitutions if there’s a spice or two that you don’t have on hand. One thing that I would definitely not skip is the apples – their sweetness and tartness adds such an amazing depth of flavor!

mulligatawny with naan
mulligatawny with coconut milk

mulligatawny | indian lentil soup

serves: 4-6 prep time: cook time:
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • butter 3 tbsp
  • onion 1 medium
  • carrot 1 medium
  • jalapeno 1 pepper
  • garlic 3 cloves
  • fresh ginger 2 tsp
  • apple 2 medium
  • garam masala ½ tbsp
  • curry powder ½ tbsp
  • paprika 1 tsp
  • cumin ½ tsp
  • turmeric ½ tsp
  • coriander ½ tsp
  • diced tomatoes* 400 g (14.5 oz)
  • vegetable broth 1 l (4 c)
  • red lentils 100 g (½ c)
  • coconut milk 400 ml (13.5 oz) can
  • solid part only
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro ½ bunch


  1. Deseed the jalapeno and dice along with onion and carrot.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, carrot and jalapeno. Continue cooking until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Mince the garlic and ginger and core and chop the apple. Add to the pot and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Mix in the dry spices: garam masala, curry powder, paprika, cumin, turmeric and coriander. Cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and lentils to the pot. Mix well.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. When the lentils are cooked, pour the soup into a blender (or use an immersion blender) to puree the soup. You can skip this step if you prefer a chunkier soup!
  8. Pour the soup back into the pot and stir in the solid part of the coconut milk, salt and pepper. I used about 2 teaspoons of salt, but you can adjust depending on how much added salt was in your broth and canned tomatoes.
  9. Garnish with cilantro.


    tomatoes: canned tomatoes work great for this recipe, but you could also use fresh!

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