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Mulligatawny Stew (Indian Lentil Stew)

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Mulligatawny Stew

Mulligatawny Stew (Indian Lentil Stew)

Jessica Braider
Ever since watching Kramer and Elaine rave about it on the “Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld, I’ve been intrigued by Mulligatawny stew. Now, after making a batch, I can see what all the fuss was about. This Indian stew is rich, aromatic and delicious.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 373 kcal


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced, about 2 tsp.
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger minced, or use 1 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 3/4 cup dried yellow or green lentils soaked in water overnight, if possible
  • 15 oz. diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 32 oz. low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati or use any long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk you can freeze remaining coconut milk for a future need
  • lemon wedges for serving, optional
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro for serving, optional


  • (If you have soaked the lentils for faster cooking, drain them before proceeding with the recipe.) Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder and garam masala and sauté it, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the lentils to coat them and add the tomatoes and chicken broth (if you presoaked the lentils, you may only want to use 3 cups of the chicken broth because the lentils have absorbed extra water).
  • Bring the soup to a boil and simmer it, stirring it occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes (or 10-15 minutes for presoaked lentils).
  • Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  • Puree the soup to desired thickness in a blender or right in the pot using an immersion blender—it can be smooth or chunky, depending on your preference. Stir in the coconut milk until it is heated through, and ladle it over the rice, squeezing fresh lemon juice over it, if desired, and garnishing with fresh cilantro (optional).

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Omit the oil. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, spices, lentils, tomatoes and vegetable broth to the slow cooker and stir to combine well.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Add the rice and coconut milk, and cook on high for 30-45 minutes more, until the rice is tender. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)

Instant Pot Directions

  • Add the oil to the pot and set to SAUTÉ mode. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and garam masala and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, 6 - 8 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients to the instant pot except the lemon and cilantro. Stir, then set to MEAT/STEW setting or HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Natural Pressure Release.


Do Ahead or Delegate: Soak the lentils, chop the onions, peel the garlic, peel and mince the ginger, cook the rice, cut the lemon into wedges if using, chop the cilantro if using or fully prepare and refrigerate the soup.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Double the curry powder and garam masala and serve it with the optional lemon and cilantro.
Tip: If you can’t find the Indian spice mixture, garam masala, at your store, use extra curry powder or make your own by mixing coriander, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, and cloves.
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!


Calories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 14gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 169mgPotassium: 644mgFiber: 10gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 281IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fall, Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Instant Pot, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, Nut-Free, Slow Cooker, Soups & Stews, Spring, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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