In Tamil, mulligatawny translates to "pepper water", which is an apt description for this popular spicy soup of Anglo-Indian origins. In his recipe, Peter Kuruvita flavours the soup with a stock made from prawn heads, although there are many variations. For a vegetarian option, omit the prawn and add lentils. Chicken is another popular addition, as is rice, to bulk it up.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (52 votes)


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 onions, 1 finely diced, 1 finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds, roasted
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns, ground
  • ½ tsp roasted cumin powder
  • ½ tsp roasted fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 eggplant, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced


  • 15 prawn shells (approximately)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small green chilli
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 2 cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the stock, fill a large pot with approximately 2 litres of water and add the prawn shells, curry leaves, garlic, chillies, ginger and onion. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a separate pot and add half the curry leaves, the garlic, finely diced onion and spices. Fry until fragrant, being careful not to burn, and then add to the prawn stock. Increase the heat, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for a maximum of 20 minutes.

In the pot used to fry the spices, heat the extra oil. Don’t wash the pot out. Add the carrot, eggplant, tomato and finely chopped onion and gently fry for 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining curry leaves and stir to combine.

Remove the stock from the heat and strain into the vegetable mixture. Bring to the boil and season to taste. Then add the lime juice.