When the British colonized India, they learned to like Indian food, but sometimes they adapted it to their own tastes as well as pronunciation. Mulligatawny Stew, which is derived from the Hindu word 'milaku-tanni' meaning pepper water, was once a staple of British cooking. I haven't seen it on menus here, but Mulligatawny Stew appears on the pages of historical novels I've read, usually consumed in a wayside pub after a particularly brutal winter day.
Of course, it usually contains lamb, and I would never eat one of my new little friends, so I decided to improvise with a vegetarian version, using, as always, the ingredients I had on hand. Many recipes also call for a chopped apple, but I couldn't see how that would improve things, so I added a sweet potato instead.
The end result was filling enough to combat the most brutal British winter day—which these days are not nearly as heinous as during the 1800's Mini Ice Age winters.
Don't let the long list of ingredients put you off; while the stew is stewing you can prepare the next ingredients on the list, making it a chop-as-you-go recipe.
(P.S. Forgot to hit save last night, so this is late. But it's still Wednesday somewhere.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 small sweet potato, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 zucchini (courgette), chopped
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
Optional: 1 cup diced chicken substitute, such as Quorn pieces
1/2 cup coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
minced fresh coriander (cilantro) for garnish
In a heavy Dutch oven or soup pot, saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add mustard seeds and spices, heat until mustard seeds pop. (You might want to cover the pot at this point.)
Add chopped tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Add lentils, ginger, carrot, celery, and sweet potato. Bring stock to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, covered, while you chop more vegetables. Add zucchini and broccoli, and if using, chicken substitute, and simmer for 15 minutes more, or until vegetables are soft. (Altogether, this takes around 40 minutes to make, depending how fast you boil the stew. Taste is the best way to determine doneness.)
Stir in coconut milk and lime juice. Taste for seasonings. (Add more cayenne if it doesn't bite your tongue when you slurp it from a spoon.)
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with chopped coriander.