Indian food culture has never really had a place for soups, aside from a yakhni. Most Indian dishes are those that are traditionally served all at once, placed across the table, family-style, with everyone sharing. It is hardly a surprise then to learn that one of the most prominent dishes of the Anglo-Indian repertoire is a merge of cultures, Sri Lankan, Indian and British all in one.
A Vexed history.
Spiced Lentil soup is believed to be savoured in Sri Lanka and reach Tamil Nadu during the British Raj. This soup is traditionally referred to as Mulligatawny. The word Mulligatawny comes from the Tamil language and is an amalgamation of ‘molegoo’ (pepper) and ‘tunes’ (water), commonly known as ‘pepper water’. It was during the British Raj, between 1858 and 1947, the British stubbornly refused to alter their way of dinning. This was of course their need to have a soup at the start of the meal.
The problem was soup was not a common dish in India, so the servants began to water down Molegoo tunes which was a ‘stew’ adapted by the Tamilian servants. The British eventually asked them to add mutton, chicken and other ingredients to suit their taste and this is how the many variations of Mulligatawny began.
What is Mulligatawny Soup?
Mulligatawny soup (pepper water) or Spiced Lentil was originally prepared with peppers, hence the name. The base is usually chicken stock, however mutton and vegetable stock can also be used along with curry. Similarly to a stew it is then filled out with pieces of chicken, coconut cream and/or milk, onion, celery, almonds and apples and is further garnished with rice. The cream in the versions earlier was nothing but coconut milk.
Pepper water is far from the Spiced Lentil today.
Although dating back to the Sri Lankan pepper broth, Spiced Lentil is now a magical blend of British tastes and Indians exotic spices. It is the perfect combination of East meets West with its aromatic spices and richly dense ingredients; making it the perfect comfort food and a staple to the British pub menu.
The Soul Origin spin
We’ve taken this cultural amalgamation and again added our own flare to bring you this rich blend of savoury goodness. Our Spiced Lentil is a vegetarian version of the Anglo-Indian variant using lentils to beef it up in an aromatic broth that is conjures up memories of home cooked meals around the dinner table. Only on the menu for a limited time, be sure to enjoy this winter soup at your local Soul Origin store.