Mulligatawny Stew

Mulligatawny Stew

This is another one of my favorite soup recipes, or stew, or somewhere in between.  Curry, garam masala, lentils, tomatoes and coconut milk meld together into this delicious and healthy meal.  This dish has a lot of spice without being spicy which makes it especially kid-friendly.

I originally came by this Mulligatawny Soup when I subscribed to the Six O’Clock Scramble. This was one my favorite recipes from the service. I added a little more spice to suit my taste and you may want to take it even further.  Another tip, if you presoak your lentils or purchase precooked lentils, it cuts the cooking time in half, but I didn’t do that today.

Mulligatawny Stew
Adapted from The Six O’Clock Scramble

Print-Friendly Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, (3 – 4 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 3/4 cup green or black lentils (I used Urad), rinsed
  • 15 ounce diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati or long grain rice, uncooked (optional)
  • 1/2 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving (optional)
  • salt to taste

I choose black Urad lentils for this soup…because that’s what I had, but you could also use yellow lentils or gorgeous little green french lentils.  The recipe is flexible.  Look at these beauties!

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder and garam masala and sauté it, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the lentils to coat them.

Add the tomatoes and broth.  If you are using uncooked unsoaked lentils, you will probably want to use the whole 4 cups.  If you used precooked or presoaked lentils, start with 3 cups of broth.  Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring it occasionally, until the lentils are tender.

How long this takes varies depending on the lentils you use.  If you were to use presoaked and drained lentils (or precooked lentils like they sell at Trader Joe’s), it will cook faster.  It could be as little as 25-30 minutes, but my little black Urad took 50 minutes on a very low simmer.  The soup thickened considerably during this time.

Puree the soup to desired thickness in a blender or right in the pot using an immersion blender–it can be smooth or chunky, depending on your preference (I like mine pretty smooth). Stir in the coconut milk until it is heated through.  Add salt to taste.

Serve over steamed rice (optional) or just plain in a bowl (that’s what I did), squeezing fresh lemon juice over it, if desired, and garnishing with fresh cilantro (optional).


There are a whole lotta options with this stew so doctor it up however you like (or depending on what you have on hand).  It will taste different with different with lentils, but it’s always yummy!