Some of you may have noticed that I’ve largely been MIA for a while. The Euro holiday has left me gasping for breath while I try and catch up with regular life – the backlog and the routine of it. As a result of which, I have missed out on some of my favourite food and cooking.
The crazy Delhi weather, which is swinging from freezing to warm-ish to rainy, has made me realise that I have not actually done any “winter” cooking this year. There are so many delicious colourful veggies available at this time of the year. Not to mention it’s the only time when having hot spicy beverages and ghee+gur laden sweets are (sort of) justifiable.
Mulligatawny has actually been on my mind since I got back but there just hasn’t been any time to cook. I finally got around to it last night. It’s my next favourite winter soup after Rasam (I use Revati’s recipe. She does it so well that I didn’t want to do an repetitive post.)
Mulligatawny or Mulaga Thanni means pepper water or spice water, depending on whether you translate it to Tamil or Malayalam. Just the name should indicate that it’s the perfect remedy for clogged sinuses! Having made it once from scratch, a long time ago, I couldn’t quite remember what I had done. But when I trawled Google for the recipe, there were so many ingredients like celery & Granny Smith Apples which just didn’t fit the flavour I had in mind. Eventually I lifted from a whole lot of them and made my own version.
Ironically, the TV decided to throw up Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” episode JUST when I got comfy with my bowl.
Here’s what I used, for 2 servings:
1.5 tbsp rice
3 tbsp toor/ arhar dal (split yellow pigeon peas)
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion
1 green chilli, slit lengthwise (you can remove the seeds if you don’t want it super spicy)
2 fat cloves garlic
1″ piece of ginger
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
1/2 tsp kali mirch (black pepper corns)
1/2 tsp dhaniya (whole coriander seeds)
1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne)
Salt, to taste
100 ml coconut milk
Juice of 2 lemons, about 3-4 tbsp
1 tbsp ghee/ butter
Lemon wedges, cilantro leaves, fresh ground black pepper and boiled rice for garnish
Here’s how I made it:
First I soaked the rice and dal in warm water for about half hour.
Setting this bowl aside, I chopped the onion finely…
Setting it aside, I put the garlic & ginger in the mortar pestle…
Along with the jeera, dhaniya and kali mirch…
Mashed them all up in to a coarse paste…
Setting a heavy-bottomed pan on high heat, I melted the ghee and added the onions and bay leaf…
Keeping them on high heat, stirring often, I fried them until they began to turn brown. Then I lowered the heat to medium-low and added the green chilli and the masala paste along with the haldi and red chilli powder…
Frying it for about a minute, I drained the rice+dal and added them…
Frying this for another minute (add a splash of water if things begin to stick and burn), I added about 750ml of water along with salt…
Increasing the heat back to high, I brought the soup to a boil. Then I lowered the heat and covered the pan with a lid and cooked it till the dal and rice was cooked. (Note on the time at the end). Remove the bay leaf.
At this point, you can use an immersion soup blender or a masher to to puree the whole thing. But I prefer the texture so I left it.
Then I added the coconut milk…
And the lemon juice…
I let it cook for another 2-3 minutes and poured it into the bowl. Garnished it with fresh pepper, cilantro leaves and lemon and slurrped it noisily down! (I didn’t have any extra boiled rice so I just skipped it, but it is an integral part of mulligatawny!)
My nose ran and my eyes watered, but I enjoyed every single sip/ bite!
Note on the time:
The dal took forever to cook. I realised that the last time I made this, I had pressure cooked the dal separately like in Rasam or Sambhar. Which is why I didn’t face the same problem. So there’s 2 things you can do:
- Soak it for 2-4 hours and then cook as above. After the simmer stage, it should take about 15-20 minutes.
- Alternatively, if you soak them for less than half hour, use a pressure cooker for the above steps and give the soup one pressure whistle after adding the water and salt. And then follow all the rest as given.