Historical Food Fortnightly: Challenge #2: Mullagatawny Soup

On to Challenge #2: Soups, Sauces and Gravies, for the Historical Food Fortnightly.

For this recipe, I chose "Mullagatawny Soup, as Made in India." (That is the ACTUAL title of the recipe.) 


1/4 ounce of China turmeric
1/3 ounce of cassia
3 drachms of black pepper
2 drachms of cayenne pepper
1 ounce of coriander seeds
2 large fowls, or 3 pounds of the lean of veal
2 quarts of water
4 large onions
2 ounces of butter
rice flour
juice of a lemon


Take China turmeric, cassia, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and coriander seeds. These must all be pounded fine in a mortar, and well mixed and sifted. They will make sufficient curry powder for the following quantity of soup:
Take fowls or veal. Cut the flesh entirely from the bones in small pieces, and put it into a stew-pan with the water. Let it boil slowly for half an hour, skimming it well. Prepare the onions, minced and fried in the butter. Add to them the curry powder and moisten the whole with broth from the stew-pan, mixed with a little rice flour. When thoroughly mixed, stir the seasoning into the soup, and simmer it till it is as smooth and thick as cream, and till the chicken or veal is perfectly tender. Then stir into it the juice of a lemon; and five minutes after take up the soup, with the meat in it, and serve it in the tureen.
Send to table separately, boiled rice on a hot-water dish to keep it warm, The rice is to be put into the plates of soup by those who eat it.

The Challenge: Soups, etc...  Mullagatawny Soup, as Made in India.

The Recipe: My online source is HERE, from a site simply called Vintage Recipes.  But the original source of the recipe is called Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches (1840), by Eliza Leslie.

The Date/Year and Region: Year - 1840. Region - American recipe book, but India for the dish.

How Did You Make It:  Just like the recipe said to. I boiled rice, boiled the chicken in broth, sauteed the onions in butter, then seasoned them, and thickened the chicken broth by making a sort of rue.  Add all together and simmer until cooked through.

Time to Complete:  Very quick and easy! Maybe 40 minutes.

Total Cost: ?  Not an expensive dish...chicken was the most expensive part.

How Successful Was It?: It wasn't a very pretty soup...mellow yellow all the way, but this soup tasted pretty amazing.  I love curries, which is essentially what this is.  I will definitely make it again.  It wasn't quite spicy enough for me.  Next time I will add more cayenne pepper, and the recipe needed salt.  I was SOOOOOOO tempted to add in our pre-made curry seasoning, but I'm glad I didn't.  The spices in the recipe gave it plenty of curry flavor.  Also, I'm spoiled, and I'm used to adding all of the amazing condiments that accompany the usual Indian food...so, I did cheat and added a little bit of Chutney to my bowl of soup...but it's fine without it.

How Accurate Is It?: My modifications: Instead of using water, I used store bought, unsalted, veggie broth.  I added salt to the soup.  I didn't have coriander, so I used cilantro instead (same plant, right!)  I also didn't have rice flour, so I used oat flour.  Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly as it is.  

*I did have to do a little converting of terms...who the heck knows what a Drachm is?!...and fyi, cassia is the same thing as cinnamon...who knew?!*


ista said…
sounds delicious - and a Drachm is about three-quarters of a modern teaspoon
ista said…
sounds delicious - and a Drachm is about three-quarters of a modern teaspoon
ZipZip said…
Dear Jenni,

Triple yum! One of my favorite soups ever, and you lucked into a far better recipe than the one I have. Guess what we're making before we leave for the beach?? :}

Many thanks for sharing such a success,


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