When I would hear the word "mulligatawny" for some reason it sounded Irish to me so I had always assumed that mulligatawny soup was some sort of thick Irish stew (sorry to any Irish folks reading this!). Maybe it is because Mulligatawny sounds like the Irish name Mulligan? Anyway, I love the sound of the word so I was intrigued when my neighbor, Jane said to me one day "If you like curry then you must try my mulligatawny soup!" Mulligatawny soup has curry in it??
To my surprise I learned that mulligatawny soup is an Indian curry dish! The nice sounding word "mulligatawny" is a Tamil word (Tamil is an ethnic group in southern India and Sri Lanka) that means "pepper-broth". Apparently it was originally made with peppers rather than curry.
Lots of versions of Mulligatawny soup exist with many having cream and chicken or mutton. Jane's recipe was not vegan, but with a few changes and some additions I veganized it and the result is an easy-to-make, delicious, and flavor-packed healthy vegetable soup! It can be quite spicy depending on the amount of curry you put it. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and increase up to 1 teaspoon as you like. You can also add some red lentils at the simmering stage for a creamier, thicker, and heartier soup.
Vegan Mulligatawny Soup
Serves 4 as a meal with a salad or other side dish
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup water
2 medium to large carrots, diced
2 large (or 4 small) stalks of celery, diced
2 small (or 1 large) apple, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/4 cup whole grain flour (I used oat flour)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or 2 whole cloves*
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (up to 1 teaspoon if you like it spicy)
1 sprig of fresh parsley
dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
chopped basil for garnish, optional
In a large soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion in water about 5 minutes until it is soft and translucent. Add the carrot, celery, apple, and green pepper and continue to cook 5 more minutes, adding splashes of water as necessary if vegetables begin to stick.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in the pot and stir to combine thoroughly. Slowly drizzle in the vegetable broth whisking as you go to prevent lumps from forming.
Add the tomatoes, cloves, curry, parsley, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Check to see that the vegetables are tender. If not, continue to simmer until they are done. Remove the cloves if using whole cloves.
You can serve this right away or keep it in the refrigerator for several days and reheat. Garnish with some snipped basil on top if you like.
*Note that you can use 2 whole cloves in place of the ground cloves, but YOU MUST REMOVE THEM FROM THE SOUP BEFORE SERVING as they can pose a choking hazard. This is why I prefer ground cloves as it can be hard to find those little whole cloves in a big pot of soup!