Mulligatawny Soup: Indian Pepper Water

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Mulligatawny Soup: Indian Pepper Water

You must be warned this mulligatawny soup recipe comes at you deep from the depths of man flu, now we all know man flu is the most crippling illness known to man, it kinda makes ebola virus feel like a stubbed toe. So I am pretty much on deaths door bed typing this but please don’t worry about me I will struggle through this and I am sure I will survive, hold on there is a song in there somewhere… All joking aside, I don’t get a cold very often and much less so since I left the UK, but when I do there are two things that happen, my appetite goes through the roof and my need for hot and spicy food reaches its pinnacle. Mulligatawny Soup is my go to cold remedy, that and a hot toddy of course, this delightful Anglo Indian soup is hot, hotter than the surface of the sun and almost all of that spice heat comes from the majesty of black pepper. As a spice I thing black pepper is greatly over looked, well maybe not overlooked but certainly taken for granted, it is the most wonderful of flavours and packs the most unique heat, very different to that of chili but no less euphoric in its heights and the Indians are masters at taking advantage of its flavour and of course its heat.

Britain has had a long term love affair with ‘Indian’ food and this dish dates back to a time in British history when the British Empire was at its strongest and India was crawling with Brits that lead to much sharing of both styles and flavours between Indian Food and British food. Mulligatawny soup is the result of that ‘sharing’, not only do I love the spice in this soup but also the name, it is just wonderful, it hails from tow Tamil words for pepper and water, which is really very apt. Rumour has it that Mulligatawny soup takes its heritage from the classic Tamil south Indian dish of Rasam, a similarly textured soup which usually had a base of tamarind.

Like this recipe? Then you should definitely check out this one!  Stir Fried Spicy Pineapple Pork Lettuce Wraps

But enough of the history lesson back to biology, I must now sign off and head back to the pharmacy, well when I say pharmacy, I mean the kitchen to knock me up another whisky hot toddy to try and shift or at least mask this damn funk!

Mulligatawny Soup: Indian Pepper Water



Mulligatawny Soup

Dating back to the time of the Raj a Mulligatawny Soup is an Anglo Indian take on a traditional Rasam and it tastes incredible!

Cuisine Anglo Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Author Brian Jones


  • 4 Tsp Coriander Seeds.
  • 5 Tsp Cumin Seeds.
  • 4 Tbsp Black Pepper Corns.
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds.
  • 20 g Ginger. Peeled and roughly chopped.
  • 4 Garlic Cloves. Peeled.
  • 2 Tsp Ground Turmeric.
  • 2 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder.
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves.
  • 1 Tbsp Mint Sauce.
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee. Use butter if you cannot get ghee.
  • 2 Bay Leaves.
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick.
  • 150 g Onion. Finely diced.
  • 1 Tomato: Finely diced.
  • 75 g Carrot. Finely diced.
  • 1 Stick Celery: Approx 50g Finely Diced.
  • 50 g Leek. Finely sliced.
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 300 g Chicken Thigh. Boneless and skinless and cut in half.
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Turmeric.
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Flour.
  • 500 ml Chicken Stock.
  • 400 ml Coconut Milk.


  1. Toast off the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and pepper corns in a dry pan and then grind in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
  2. Place the garlic and ginger in a grinder and blitz to form a paste adding in the toasted and ground coriander, cumin, pepper and mustard seeds along side the turmeric, chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek and mint sauce then blitz to form a paste. Use water to help this come together and add as needed.
  3. Heat the ghee over a medium heat in a largish saucepan and add the cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Now add in the tomato and onion and cook down for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Now add the carrot, leek and celery and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Then add the spice paste, stir through and add the chicken thighs and cook for 2-3 minutes so everything is coated.
  7. Now stir through the plain flour and additional turmeric and cook out for two minutes before adding in the chicken stock and salt then reducing the heat to low and allowing to simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  8. When simmered fish the chicken thighs and shred before returning to the pan with the coconut milk and bring to temperature adding salt as required.
  9. Make sure you remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves before serving.

Recipe Notes

I always double up on this recipe and make enough for 4 and a generous 4 at that, as it makes the most wonderful lunch treat the day after having it as a main.

Like this recipe? Then you should definitely check out this one!  Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
Mulligatawny Soup: Indian Pepper Water
Mulligatawny Soup: Indian Pepper Water


  1. Luci November 4, 2016 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Yum this looks so delicious! I love a warm and comforting soup 🙂 Love the photo action shot too!

  2. Claudia | Gourmet Project November 4, 2016 at 9:47 am - Reply

    ??? new addition to my winter bucket list! I have all the ingredients except the mint sauce, can I substitute it with fresh mint?

    • Brian Jones November 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Claudia, of course you can, mint sauce is a combination of mint sugar and vinegar and the addition of a little sweetness and sourness helps, but it is very much an accent and not a major flavour so just add to taste 🙂

  3. Emma November 4, 2016 at 11:01 am - Reply

    I’m loving soup this time of year! This one looks like it has some really interesting flavours! Thanks for the recipe ?

  4. Angela - Patisserie Makes Perfect November 4, 2016 at 11:10 am - Reply

    This is one of my favourite soups – I love it so much. Really great colour there.

  5. Ludmilla November 4, 2016 at 11:51 am - Reply

    This soup looks delicious!! Your photos always are amazing!!

    • Brian Jones November 7, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ludmilla, not my favourite photos but a great soup 🙂

  6. Eva Czekus December 3, 2016 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    I seem to be the only one of your fans who has tried out the recipe of the Mulligatawny soup in real life.
    First I had to learn how to pronounce the name, but it turned out that this is a very well known soup in England. It would be interesting to know if anybody at all has ever heard of it in Hungary – esp. around Tisza tó. Despite of my expectations it was quite easy to get the ingredients on the market – including mint sauce. To prepare the soup was a bit time consuming – but was worth every second of it. Mulligatawny is and remains for me and my husband as precious as our gulyásleves or the halászlé. We are very grateful for the recipe, for the exact proportions and the know how.

    • Brian Jones December 6, 2016 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Thanks Eva… Many people, myself included use food websites as inspiration rather than as a source of a recipe, but it is wonderful to hear that that you use it is a recipe source. My neighbours all think of Indian food as curry and nothing else and even then it is something they have heard of but never eaten, beyond the curry flavoured ‘lays chips’ they released last year that quickly found their way into the bargain basement. Indian spices are very easy to get hold of in the UK particularly in the Midlands, I am so glad you discovered this recipe here and that you like it. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  7. Clare January 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Hi Brian, just want to check the measurements for the peppercorns 4tablespoons seems quite a lot & 1 tablespoon mustard seeds seems the sam…..I would love to try this recipe & don’t want to make any mistakes…many thanks in advance..Clare

    • Brian Jones January 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Clare, those numbers are correct, this is fiercely hot with black pepper and that is meant to be the dominant flavour… As with all spice it can be reduced although I would not go less than half or you will lose the balance. Spice tolerance is a very personal thing though so obviously you should make your own judgement 🙂

  8. Clare January 26, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for taking the time…I’m off to get the ingredients that I need to make, I love spicy & will keep you posted???

    • Brian Jones January 26, 2017 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      You are more than welcome, this is the spiciest dish in my arsenal so take that as you will, have fun 🙂

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