Monday, April 6, 2009

Vegetarian Mulligatawny

I love fun-sounding words and phrases. In my previously-posted recipe, the title of the beans used was Eye of the Goat beans and that unusual name intrigued me enough to make it (of course, I didn’t have that particular bean so I subbed Canary beans, the name of which I find slightly less amusing although much better than kidney).

A few weeks ago I ran across a recipe for Mulligatawny. I have fun saying that name—mulligatawny! Yes, I am easily amused. :) I have never had nor made this soup, but I believe that it was mentioned in the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld many years ago. This vegetarian recipe, which was entered in March's edition of No Croutons Required by the author of Asparagus and Raspberries, contained a few vegetables which I happened to have on hand and wanted to use.

I looked up “mulligatawny” online and found a zillion widely varying recipes. Although it seems to be Indian in origin, it is actually British (from when they occupied India and altered a regional soup recipe to use ingredients with which they were familiar). Many of the recipes contained lentils or rice, which the original recipe does not contain and I ended up adding cooked basmati rice at the last minute.

This recipe has a huge ingredient list, and lots of time is spent in preparing the vegetables, but the resulting soup is well worth the effort.

With a 3-4 hour simmering time, as long as you (or a responsible person) is around to give the mixture a stir every now and then, you don’t have to spend all of those hours babysitting it. I went for an hour-long run, and set a kitchen timer to remind Jack to stir it every 20 minutes.

And it made the house smell wonderful, like stepping into the very best Indian restaurant you’ve ever visited. With four hours of simmering (apparently you can get away with three), the fragrance of curry was permeated into our living areas until the next morning (and, believe me, neither of us minded a bit!).

Above shows the curry powder roasting in the oil and butter. I, of course, decreased both of those ingredients from the original recipe. And pardon the old (to say the least) pot. I don’t have a nice Dutch oven at the lake house and I found this in the far reached of the cupboard. I make chili in it occasionally. A nice, very heavy pot which Jack brought into our marriage (noooo, it couldn’t have been a LeCreuset piece, could it?!), but no matter how I tried I could not remove the black from the inside.

I believe that an essential step is lightly sautéing the vegetables in the oil/butter/curry mixture. The vegetables had a chance to absorb this wonderful flavor before the liquid ingredients were added.

I made some changes in the recipe, but the most major change was in the structure of the ingredient list. I am a little fussy when it comes to organization and I have to have recipes organized as well, letting me know the order in which I will be using the ingredients. I find it easier to cook this way.

We spent a few days at the lake house and I packed all of the ingredients and took them with us. I thought that I had frozen corn and lemon juice there only to discover that I did not, so those ingredients were left out. And, because of Jack’s inexplicable aversion to eggplant, I left that out as well. To add more flavor and nutrition, I used vegetable stock instead of some of the water in the soup.

I was unpacking after arriving at the lake house when I realized that I had forgotten the white potatoes. I had an equal amount of sweet potatoes, so I used them instead. I had thought that they may get a little mushy with the lengthy simmer, but I was wrong. In fact, I will now use sweet potatoes whenever I make this, just because they were so good. One last point, I used too much rice (and that has been corrected in the recipe below). The next day, you could have cut the soup into wedges, it was so firm. ;)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Vegetarian Mulligatawny

Adapted from a recipe by Asparagus & Raspberries

Servings: 8

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

----------- ------------ --------------------------------

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

3 medium potatoes -- peeled and diced

4 small carrots -- peeled and diced

2 large parsnips -- peeled and diced

1 large onions -- peeled and diced

2 whole leeks -- outer layers removed, thinly sliced

2 medium apples -- peeled and diced (Granny Smith apples hold up nicely to the long


6 ounces yellow corn

10 ounces eggplant -- diced

1 large red bell pepper -- roasted, skin removed, diced

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp nutmeg

2 large bay leaves

15 ounces canned diced tomato

4 cups water

2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

8 ounces light coconut milk

1/2 cup fresh parsley -- chopped

1/2 cup pistachio nuts -- chopped

1 medium lemon -- juice only (use some of the peel as garniture)

1 large lime -- juice (use some of some of the peel as garniture)

3/4 cup basmati rice -- cooked

Prepare all the vegetables.

Start by roasting the curry in the oil and butter in a Dutch over medium heat for about 2 minutes (stir constantly so it doesn't burn, you might have to turn down the heat a bit near the end).

Add the potatoes through bay leaves and cook the mixture, turning the heat to medium/low, stirring to coat all with the curry/oil. Make sure that the vegetables do not take color. Then add the canned tomatoes (undrained), water and vegetable stock and bring to a boil before you leave it to simmer, covered, for 3 - 4 hours. Set the lid of the pot ajar a little for some steam to escape (but not too much or the liquid may evaporate and boil away!).

Stir every now and then. This thickens the soup and intensifies the taste.

Add the coconut milk through the cooked rice, blend in with the rest of the soup, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve with a bit of nut-parsley topping if desired, or chopped cilantro, or lime and lemon zest.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 349 Calories (kcal); 12g Total Fat (3g Saturated); (28% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 58g Carbohydrate; 4mg Cholesterol; 233mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates