Mulligatawny Stew (Indian Lentil Stew)
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.
Servings Prep Time
6servings 20minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
6servings 20minutes
Cook Time
  • 2Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onionschopped (about 3 cups)
  • 4cloves garlicminced, about 2 tsp.
  • 1Tbsp. minced gingeror 1 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1tsp. curry powder
  • 1tsp. garam masala
  • 3/4cup dried yellow or green lentilssoaked in water overnight, if possible
  • 15oz. diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 32oz. low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2cups uncooked basmati or long grain rice
  • 1/2cup light coconut milkyou can freeze remaining coconut milk for a future need
  • lemon wedges for servingoptional
  • 1cup fresh cilantrofor serving (optional)
  1. (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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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).
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  6. 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
  1. Omit the oil. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, spices, lentils, tomatoes and vegetable broth to the slow cooker and stir to combine well.
  2. 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Recipe Notes

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.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 230, Total Fat: 10g, 15%; Saturated Fat: 5g, 23%; Cholesterol: 5mg, 2%; Sodium: 105mg, 4%; Total Carbohydrate: 28g, 9%; Dietary Fiber: 10g, 40%; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 11g

Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble’s family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!