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Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup

Instant pot mulligatawny soup is just the sort of meal I want in the fall. It’s easy to make, full of curry flavor, and loaded with vegetables. This recipe is vegetarian and, if you leave out the butter, also vegan.

instant pot mulligatawnyb soup in a bowl with papadums on the side

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What is mulligatawny soup and where did it come from?

Mulligatawny is a soup that usually includes apples, lentils, and rice in a broth seasoned with curry powder and other Indian spices and often fortified with heavy cream. It’s a bit sweet, a bit spicy, and totally satisfying.

ingredients for instant pot mulligatawny soup--rice, lentils, apples, carrots, chiles, cilantro, ginger, and more

Mulligatawny soup is a fusion dish invented by the English based on an Indian sauce recipe. The name “mulligatawny,” apparently, comes from the Tamil words for “pepper water” (mullaga/milagu and thanni). You can learn more about the origins of mulligatawny soup here.

mulligatawny soup in an instant pot

I make my version with red lentils, mainly because I like the color, and brown basmati rice. Instead of cream, I use full-fat coconut milk, both to make it vegan friendly (using only oil instead of butter, of course) and because I adore the subtle coconut flavor. You can substitute cream if you like, or any non-dairy milk substitute.

What to serve with Instant Pot mulligatawny soup?

Thick with lentils and rice and loaded with vegetables and apples, this soup makes a hearty meal. Some naan or papadum (pictured) make a nice accompaniment because you can dunk them in the soup and add extra texture. You don’t need anything else, honestly.

instant pot mulligatawny soup in a bowl on a metal tray with papadums on the side

I do love to top it with my famous Caramelized Cashews and Raisins, but just a sprinkling of chopped cilantro works, too. You can also add chopped, roasted cashews for a bit of texture.

mulligatawny soup in a bowl with a spoonful being lifted

Can you make Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup ahead and freeze it?

Yes! This recipe makes a large batch (feel free to halve the recipe if it seems like too much)—10 generous servings—but it keeps well. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. I like to freeze it in quart-size, freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. This size fits nicely into an Instant Pot (3- or 6-quart size) for thawing. I just run the bag briefly under hot water and then slit it open and slide the frozen soup into the pot.

Can you make this recipe on the stovetop? Yes!

This recipe was developed for the Instant Pot, but you can absolutely make it on the stovetop. In fact, the recipe instructions are exactly the same for the stovetop except that instead of cooking it at high pressure for 10 minutes (step 4), you’ll cook it, covered, at a low simmer on the stovetop for 30 to 35 minutes.

Use a stockpot or Dutch oven and do steps 1 through 3 over medium-high heat on the stovetop.

Should I call it “Hugh Jackman Soup”?

This soup is so good that someone made it for Hugh Jackman (yeah, the real Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine!) He loved it and I know you will, too!

Screenshot of an instagram post showing that Hugh Jackman ate and loved this soup

If you love this soup, try some of my other soup recipes like our Incredibly Easy Tomato Soup, Corn and Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil, or my mom’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup that was served at Chez Panisse.

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Yield: Serves 10

Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup

Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup

Instant pot mulligatawny soup is a great fall meal. It’s easy to make, full of curry flavor, and loaded with
vegetables. This recipe is vegetarian and, if you leave out the butter, also vegan, but you can always add shredded chicken if you like. The Caramelized Cashews and Raisins garnish is optional, but so worth the little bit of extra effort.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil, unsalted butter, or ghee))
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 4 red chiles, like serrano or jalapeño, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 3 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils
  • ½ cup brown basmati rice
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (13 ½-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • Caramelized Cashews and Raisins (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and add the oil. When hot, add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chilies, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more. Stir in the apples and tomatoes and cook, stirring, for another 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the lentils, rice, and broth and bring to a boil. Turn the pot off.
  3. Cover the pot and turn the valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. When the cooking time is up, quick release the pressure.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a countertop blender), puree the soup, leaving some chunks for texture.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and reheat if needed.
  6. Serve hot, topped with the Caramelized Cashew and Raisin Garnish, if using, and chopped cilantro.

Notes

If you don't have an electric pressure cooker, you can make this soup on the stovetop. Use a stockpot or Dutch oven. Do steps 1 through 3 above on the stovetop at medium-high heat. For step 4, cover the pot and cook at a low simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 279Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 10mgSodium 369mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 9gSugar 13gProtein 9g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

Did you make this recipe?

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17 thoughts on “Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup”

  1. this recipe is OUTSTANDING! The caramelized cashews and raisins really add a depth that isn’t even needed, but really takes it over the top. I can’t wait for my leftovers today! I can’t recommend this recipe enough!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Adrian! I’m so glad you liked the soup! And yes, the caramelized cashews and raisins are insane. I want to put them on everrrrrything. But especially a hot bowl of mulligatawny soup!

      Reply
  2. I want to make this as an appetizer. Do you think I can make it without the rice as we will be having couscous with the main course? I plan on serving the soup with grilled naan bread on the side already so I’m trying to cut out some starch lol. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Mariem, thanks for posting! You can make it without the rice if you want–the soup will have a thinner, soupier consistency. But just be aware that it won’t be a true mulligatawny soup, which, by definition, contains both rice and lentils. Should still be delicious, though!

      Reply
    • Hi Sue, Just regular paprika here. I wouldn’t use smoked as it will change the flavor quite a bit and I’m not sure how it would be. If you only have smoked paprika, I would probably leave it out.
      Thanks!
      Robin

      Reply
  3. Is the liquid of the tomatoes supposed to be drained out? Is there a typo in the ingredients? My soup was really runny. I had to drain it out through a sieve. Could not get it thick like your’s and the color was much redder. Too thin to use my immersion blender. What could I have done wrong?

    P.S. I followed the directions exactly.

    Reply
    • Hi Lucy, I am not sure what you could have done wrong other than maybe mis-measuring? I do not drain the tomatoes and the soup comes out quite thick. I guess you could try adding less water or broth or more rice/lentils, but the rice absorbs a lot of water and the lentils should break down enough that they thicken it, as well. If you want to thicken it up now, I would add more rice and simmer it with the rice for 30 or 40 minutes, until the rice is very soft.

      Reply
    • Hi Nancy, I haven’t made it with regular basmati, but I’m sure it would be fine. You could probably reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes or so.

      Reply
  4. I’ll comment because this recipe deserves praise. An excellent soup with incredible flavor. Thank you for posting this recipe.

    Reply
  5. Can this recipe be made with a slow cooker instead of a Instant pot? If so, what adjustments would have to be made?

    Reply

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