January 06, 2012

Mulligatawny with Chickpeas

After a few round-up posts to start the new year, it's about time I shared a new recipe with you! I actually made this soup before the holidays, but I thought this was a better time to post it, now that everyone is looking for healthy dinner ideas.

I've had mulligatawny soup a number of times in the past, but each recipe seems to be different. The name mulligatawny literally means "pepper water" and can generally be described as a spiced lentil soup, but it can be prepared in different ways - sometimes it's just a pureed soup, and some versions have vegetables or even chicken mixed in. I think the best mulligatawny soup I've ever had will always be one that I ate at a nice hotel in India, but this homemade version was really good too!

The recipe comes from the Whole Living website, and what drew me to it was the addition of toasted chickpeas. The recipe sounded perfect as written, but I decided to add some onion for extra flavour and I used yellow split peas instead of lentils, so I had to increase the cooking time.

This was a warm and comforting soup with the flavour of Indian spices brightened up by the fresh lemon juice. I really liked the toasted chickpeas too, they added an interesting textural dimension and turned the soup into more of a meal.  I also recommend serving this with naan bread - its great for cleaning out your bowl!

Mulligatawny with Chickpeas
Adapted from Whole Living

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper
8 oz dried yellow split peas
28 oz vegetable broth, plus additional water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus additional lemon slices for serving
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, coriander and cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 30 more seconds. 

Add the split peas and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes, until the split peas are soft.  Make sure you keep an eye on the pot - if the liquid starts to dry up, add additional water to prevent the peas from burning (I added about one cup total throughout the cooking time).

Once the split peas have finished cooking, transfer the soup in batches to a blender and puree. Return soup to pot and add 2 cups of additional water.  Heat over medium heat until the soup is warmed through. 

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and crisp, about 7-8 minutes. 

Remove the soup from heat and stir in the lemon juice and the cooked chickpeas (or add the chickpeas to each bowl at serving time). 

Serve with rice and/or naan bread if desired, and additional lemon wedges for squeezing over each bowl.

Makes 4-6 servings.


  1. Yum! I love the sound of this soup. Sounds delicious!

  2. Oooh, that looks fantastic! I have a recipe for mulligatawny that I used to love with chicken in it, but I can't wait to try a vegetarian version. Yours looks delicious!

  3. Thanks Courtney and Heidi! I love mulligatawny but when you order it from restaurants, it might come with chicken or be made with chicken broth...so its nice to have a vegetarian recipe you can make at home!

  4. this soup looks positively scrumptious! mulligatawny reminds me of seinfeld and the soup nazi episode. this soup looks super simple to put together and has chickpeas in it, so i'm definitely going to have to try it! thank you!

    (beautiful photos by the way!)

  5. @Caitlin Thanks Caitlin, I'm glad you like the recipe! And I don't know if I should admit this but I'm actually not a Seinfeld fan, so I can't partake in the soup nazi joke! (I have heard of that episode though!)

  6. I'm making this for dinner this week! DONE. Looks so good, Genevieve!

  7. @Cara So glad you're going to give it a try - I hope you like it! My biggest tip is to use the lemon slices at the end - the soup doesn't taste quite as good without the extra squirt or two!

  8. The mulligatawny that I had was filled with cilantro - this looks so different! I love the juxtaposition of the roasted chickpeas - yum! :)

  9. @janet @ the taste space Yes it seems like one of those dishes that each cook customizes to make their own! The chickpeas definitely make this one different!

  10. I always wanted to make a Multigatawny because I love the sound of it :-)



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