Andrei Marks · March 23, 2010

Mulligatawny is an Indian dish, I cooked it a few nights ago for the Asian leg of our Spring Break Round the World Culinary trip.  However, the dish seems to be pretty anglicized, according to some history here.  But in any case, it was a good Indian approximation.  The prep was fun, and the dish was probably the healthiest of the whole week.  If you don’t count any potential lead in the Indian spices, of course.  I used a brown lentil base and chicken in this version.

So here’s the untouched ingredients, and then the prep:

mulligatawny ingredientsmulligatawny prep

Blooming spices” in butter here.  I really like the name of that term.  The concept behind the technique is that many spices’ flavors are present, chemically, in a hydrophobic form, and they’re best extracted by solubilizing them in a heated oil that will pull out the flavor.  So here, I’m blooming turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala.  I think I might have used too little oil or too much heat, because although I certainly got fragrance I got a tinge of that burnt metallic flavor in the air.  Fortunately none of that translated into the final flavor.

blooming spices

The next steps involved frying onion and coconut, and then later garlic, ginger, tomato paste and such, in the spices.  This also smelled extremely delicious.  But again, a lot of that dry burning smell, because everything that was cooking here was really only resting on three tablespoons of butter, not even a full stick.

mulligatawny onions & coconutmulligatawny garlic and such

Then I added the chicken stock, more veggies, and stewed the chicken as well.

mulligatawny chicken stockmulligatawny chicken

And now I feel silly because I forgot to take pictures of the finished product.  But after simmering the chicken, I simply pureed the soup and then cooked lentils in the thickened puree, then added the chicken back in at the end.

All in all, delicious!  I’m definitely considering doing the vegetable puree technique more often, it’ll be a good way to get rid of all the excess vegetables that end up crowding our fridge.  And I love this sort of thick soup, especially after throwing in some hot sauce.

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