Indian Mulligatawny Soup

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The inspiration for this soup comes from a lunch date I had about a year ago with a fierce friend of mine, the lovely Katherine Selko. Katherine, the biggest soup fan I’ve ever met, came to Atlanta on the dreariest day ever and lucky for her, the perfect day for soup.

We ventured to my favorite and maybe the only place I know of with good soup in ATL, Souperjenny. Mulligatawny happened to be the special that day, and I was so intrigued. Apples in soup?? Curry, lentils, potatoes, coconut milk, apples?? It was a combination of my favorite Indian curry recipes from home and some North African/Mediterranean spices. Needless to say, I’m sitting here all perplexed with the flavors and Katherine’s all – “Girl, you’re thinking way too much into this.”

A whole year later, I finally tried a mulligatawny recipe on a night when 1) I felt sick and therefore craved soup and 2) my roommate was out so I could make a mess with a billion spices. One thing I’m going to recommend is that you make this when you can actually smell (I had a cold and it kinda messed with my cooking mojo) because most importantly the flavors are intense and smell amazing. But also because if you burn your almonds/peanuts in the oven and maybe light them on fire accidentally you’ll actually be able to smell the smoke….just a tip.

Indian Mulligatawny soup, adapted very slightly from the Wanderlust Kitchen

1/4 cup butter (half a stick)

1 chopped yellow onion

1 carrot, chopped (I didn’t peel mine but you can, otherwise just give it a good scrub)

1 green jalapeno, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp peeled and minced/grated fresh ginger root

2 small Granny smith apples, peeled, cored, diced

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)

1 TBS curry powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/3 cup red or green lentils, dried

3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)

2/3 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/2 cup chopped cashews or almonds

1. Wow there are a lot of spices here but don’t worry. You’ve got time to prep them. Start by focusing on your basic veggies. Melt your butter on low heat in a large Dutch oven/soup pot. While the butter’s melting, chop up the jalapeno, carrot and onion. Drop those into the pot and let them saute until the onions are starting to look clear and add a pinch of salt and pepp.

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2. While the veggies are starting to soften, go ahead and grate or mince your ginger and garlic. Chop up the apples and open the can of tomatoes. After the veggies have soften slightly, maybe 5-7 minutes, add the ginger, garlic, apples and tomatoes.

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3. Ok measure spices now!! Sometimes it’s easier to get a tiny bowl and measure out all your spices into it at once instead of having to scramble to add all the spices at the same time to the pot. If you’re going with the tiny bowl method, measure out the spices while the tomato mixture is bubbling and then add all the spices at once after about 3 minutes.

4. Add lentils and broth, give the pot a quick stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes – took more like 45 for me.

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5. After 30-45 minutes, really you just want to make sure the lentils are cooked, puree about 50-75% of the mixture in a blender or food processor. This is completely dependent upon how chunky you like your soup. After you’ve pureed however much you like, add it all back into the pot and add the coconut milk and adjust the flavoring with salt and pepp.

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6. Serve with scallions and some chopped toasted almonds or cashews (I think a little toast brings out the flavors of nuts).

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7. Brag to your friends and make soups that they like so they come visit you in Atlanta!! (Katherine see you soon!!)

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