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A Closer Look at the Mulligatawny

April 14th, 2009

mulligatawny-soup.jpgMulligatawny is an Indian soup. It was probably the first Indian dish to go global, much before samosa or chicken tikka masala! The name ‘Mulligatawny’ is a transliteration. It is derived from the Tamil Milagu thanneer, which literally means black pepper water. The soup, however, is closer in taste to what south Indians call Rasam (extract).
There are several variations to Mulligatawny, but it essentially consists of tamarind water seasoned with ground spices like turmeric, pepper, and cumin. The pepper and tamarind combination gives the soup a hot and soothing taste. Mulligatawny has some medicinal qualities to its credit too.

  1. Tamarind aids in digestion.
  2. Turmeric is known for its numerous health benefits that include, according to the devoted fans of the spice, preventing certain types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Pepper relieves many of the symptoms of cold and congestion. It also soothes a sore throat.

Some culinary ingenuity is at display here. When you make this dish, you will notice how quick and easy it is. Moreover, the ingredients cost next to nothing. On the whole, it must be an ideal side dish for the Indian indigent.

Let’s take a look at the traditional Indian recipe for Mulligatawny.

Ingredients: (serves 3 people)

  1. 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  2. 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  3. 2 tablespoons black pepper
  4. 2 tablespoons tamarind paste /extract
  5. 2 cloves of garlic (optional)
  6. 4 to 5 curry leaves
  7. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  8. pinch of asafetida
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 3 cups water
  11. 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  12. pinch of salt


  • Blend the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and pepper together. Grinding with a pestle will also do.
  • Boil the tamarind paste with water and add the turmeric powder, garlic, and ground spices.
  • Let the water boil for about 8 minutes.
  • Take a pan and heat the oil.
  • Add the mustard seeds to the oil.
  • After the seeds sputter, put in a pinch of asafetida and a few curry leaves.
  • Mix this seasoning and salt with the broth and your Mulligatawny is ready! Serve hot.

This is just the basic soup. You can try variations to it. Fresh vegetables can be added to the boiling water. The soup is usually accompanied by boiled white rice. Noodles would also be an interesting option.

However you have it, Mulligatawny makes for a wonderful meal. Hope you enjoy it!

About the Author

Aparna V. is new author at Constant Content whose first article now appears at Karlonia.com.

One Response to “A Closer Look at the Mulligatawny”

  1. comment number 1 by: Smriti

    Rasam is delicious…..had it many times…but i didnt know it’s called Mulligatawny :)

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