Mulligatawny soup, originally from South Indian cuisine, has been adapted to suit Western tastes with its creamy and rich curried flavor. This hearty and satisfying soup has a thick consistency and is traditionally served with naan bread or crusty sourdough bread.
With the convenience of an Instant Pot, this recipe is a breeze to make and requires minimal monitoring, allowing you to simply set and forget while the flavors blend together. The recipe I am sharing here is a vegan version and is made with red lentils, apples, vegetables, coconut milk, and spices.
Why you will love this recipe?
✅ Indulge in a healthy and comforting meal with this Instant Pot mulligatawny soup, which boasts a delicious and distinctive taste.
✅ This vegan mulligatawny soup recipe is naturally gluten-free and easy to prepare, making it a perfect addition to your meal rotation.
✅ The combination of flavors is sure to delight your taste buds, making this soup a satisfying and nourishing option.
Origin of mulligatawny soup
This hearty soup originated during British rule in India to satiate their desire for soups. As such, there is no soup course in traditional Indian cuisine and this soup was originally made as a variation of pepper rasam. What started as a light, thin broth made with pepper, tamarind, and water has evolved into a thick, creamy, stew-like wholesome soup.
Rasam is a spicy-tangy South Indian dish that has a soup-like consistency and is made with lentils. This soup-like rasam is eaten with rice in a traditional South Indian meal. In Tamil (Indian language), 'milagai' means pepper and 'tanni' means water, loosely translating it to pepper water. The British concept of soup courses combined with Indian ingredients led to the modernization of "mulagai-tanni" to the word "mulligatawny" soup.
While this soup started off as a variation of the traditional rasam, the present version is nowhere close to the original recipe of rasam made in India. This dish is very popular in Indian restaurants outside of India and is rather less known within India. It started as a vegetarian soup and was later adapted to add chicken and meat.
Red lentils: Or masoor dal, which is the main ingredient of this soup.
Vegetables: Onion, celery, carrots, and tomatoes are used.
Apples: This adds a unique flavor and cannot be skipped.
Ginger, garlic, and green chili: Adjust the chili as per your preference. A good amount of grated ginger and grated garlic cloves goes into making the soup.
Spices: The soup is seasoned with Indian spices along with dried herbs. I use garam masala, cumin powder, turmeric powder, chili powder (or cayenne pepper), and dried thyme. You can replace these powdered spices with Madras curry powder or mild curry powder.
Stock: I use vegetable stock to make this soup.
Coconut milk: This is added towards the end once the lentils are pressure cooked. You can also use half the amount of coconut cream.
Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add olive oil or vegetable oil. Add onion, celery stalk, ginger, garlic, and green chilies (steps 1 and 2).
Saute for 3 minutes. Next, add the red lentils (steps 3 and 4).
Add apples, carrots, tomatoes, garam masala, cumin powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, dried thyme, black pepper powder, and salt (steps 5 and 6).
Add the vegetable stock. Mix well and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Secure the IP lid and set it to pressure cook mode for 6 minutes on high pressure (steps 7 and 8).
Do a natural release of pressure for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for 30 seconds. Blend for 1-2 minutes if you want a smooth soup (steps 9 and 10).
Add coconut milk and fresh cilantro. Mix well. Serve this soup hot or warm (steps 11 and 12). As an optional ingredient, finish this creamy soup with a touch of lemon juice or lime juice.
I like to leave the soup chunky and so don't blend it a lot. If you prefer a smooth consistency, blend the soup well before adding the coconut milk.
I use vegetable broth; however, chicken broth can also be used to make this soup. You can also add chicken thighs, cut into small pieces, to the soup.
Apples add a unique flavor and cannot be skipped. Use good quality apples that are not overripe. Granny Smith apples work best for this dish as they impart a nice tart flavor.
I am using coconut milk here. You can replace it with evaporated milk, heavy cream, or use any dairy-free milk. You can top the soup with some roasted cashew to add more texture and crunch to the soup.
You can replace fresh tomatoes with either tomato puree or tomato paste. For this recipe, you will need 3 tablespoons of tomato puree or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
You may also like:
- Curried butternut squash soup.
- Spinach soup.
- Vegetable barley soup.
- Carrot and lentil soup.
- Stuffed pepper soup.
Click here for more soup recipes.
Any leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This soup also freezes well and can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat the soup in a saucepan over medium heat.
You can serve this soup with naan or any bread of your choice. It can also be served on a bed of steamed white rice. This delicious soup also tastes great just on its own.
This soup is believed to have been invented during British rule in India to satiate the British soldiers' desire for soups. Read more about its history in the origin section above.
In Tamil (Indian language), 'Milagai' means pepper and 'tanni' means water. The British concept of soup courses combined with Indian ingredients lead to the modernization of "mulagai-tanni" to "mulligatawny" soup.
If you liked this recipe, please don't forget to give a 5-star rating and leave a comment below.
Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 stick celery finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 4 cloves garlic grated
- 1-2 green chili finely chopped
- ¾ cup red lentils (masoor dal)
- 1 tomato chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 apples peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro)
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add oil
- Add onion, celery, ginger, garlic, and green chili. Saute for 3 minutes
- Add red lentils, apple, carrots, tomatoes, garam masala, cumin powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, dried thyme, pepper powder, and salt
- Add the vegetable stock. Mix well and deglaze the pot
- Secure the IP lid and set it to pressure cook mode for 6 minutes
- Do a natural release of pressure for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for 30 seconds (blend for 1-2 minute if you want a smooth soup)
- Add coconut milk and coriander leaves. Mix well
- Serve hot with rice or bread of your choice
Looove these cosy and delicous flavours! Looks like such a comforting meal.
Giangi Townsend says
I have all the ingredients at home to make this delicious soup. Looks amazing and I love red lentils and I love how rich the consistency it is. Thank you for sharing
Kayla DiMaggio says
We are huge lovers of mulligatawny soup over here! I have never made it in the instant pot before though! My life has just been made so much easier!
This recipe is spectacular. So appealing and the addition of apples just drew me in! Thank you for sharing this rich & comforting dish!
Dawn Conklin says
Wow this soup was so delicious! It is the first time I have ever tried mulligatawny soup and we all loved it. And the Instant Pot makes it even easier to prepare.
Emily Flint says
Another fun and easy recipe for me to try from your blog! I love that you can make this in the Instant Pot! It looks amazing!
Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady says
I've wanted to try making Mulligatawny soup at home and am loving the flavours in this recipe. It looks fantastic!
such a flavourful souP!!
This soup is so flavorful! Yum!
Plants delish says
This looks so tasty and comforting. I will be adding this to my "soups to do" list. I can't wait to try it.
I love this soup! I made it again today, and my partner loved it. It arrived in my kitchen to stay!
Michael DiMaggio says
We are huge mulligatawny soup lovers in our house. This was delicious and it was great to have an instant pot recipe!
Oh wow, what a beautiful soup. The color and flavor are amazing. I can't wait to give this soup a try.
this soup is super warming and cozy
This creamy mulligatawny soup is so wholesome, hearty, and full of flavor. It's the ultimate comfort meal for these cold winter days!
Ooh, I have all of the ingredients needed for your mulligatawny soup. Heading down to the kitchen now and we can have it for supper. Can't wait!
I love everything about this mulligatawny soup! Red lentils are always a great idea and the combination of spices did not disappoint. Great recipe!
Absolutely perfect!!! Will be making this on the regular 🙂 Thanks for sharing vegan recipes!!