Author, Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness Mystery series, is unfailingly engaging, and this latest, Malice at the Palace is no exception. I so look forward to each new book. Set in 1930's England, they feature a young woman, 35th in line to the throne, with unfortunately, no money to go along with her title, who manages to survive, one way or another, often helping out the Queen with a problem.
In the course of her newest adventure, Lady Georgiana finds herself having supper with the aunts, which the Prince of Wales calls "the Aunt Heap", at Kensington Palace. And, sure as shootin', the mere mention of their supper, consisting of Mulligatawny Soup, roast pheasant and apple dumplings, was all I needed. I'm not a masochist though; and not having a sous chef, a normal supper, around here doesn't usually include pheasants, or fancy dessert either. That soup was in however. It sounded simply spiffing, as Georgie would say.
As per Wikipedia, Mulligatawny Soup "is an English soup after an Indian recipe. The name originates from the Tamil words mullaga/milagu and thanni and can be translated as "pepper-water".
The original version of this soup consisted of a broth from lentils, fried onions and curry powder. Today it normally designates a thickened soup that is strongly spiced with curry powder and nutmeg. Often, strips of vegetables, nuts and rice are added." Anglo-Indian food then, and appropriate for English royalty.
A biggish discovery was then made. There are one hundred million versions/recipes extant for that concoction. So, as a reasonable sort of solution, I went to a favorite source of mine, Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook. Her recipe didn't look too complicated, and best of all, I had all the ingredients. Well, sort of. Hers called for "gravy beef and soup bones", and since I had read that lamb or mutton was often used, that is what we went for, having on hand 6 nice thick, loin chops with bone in. Turned out to be an excellent choice.
I will give the full recipe here, though I cut mine in half for the two of us.
MulligatawnyAdapted from Charmaine Solomon's recipe
Serves 8-10 (doubtful as half served only 2)
1 kg (2 lb) gravy beef (or lamb loin chops)
1 kg soup bones (unless your meat has the bones in)
6 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon curry leaves
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic
12 black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 whole cloves
2 teaspoons curry powder (my addition)
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
2 onions, finely sliced (I added a small orange sweet pepper, sliced into thin strips)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
8 curry leaves
3 cups coconut milk
salt to taste
cilantro for garnish and taste (if desired)
Put the meat and bones in a large saucepan with sufficient water to cover. Add remaining ingredients up to the finishing items. The onion first studded with cloves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until meat is tender and stock is reduced.
Cool slightly. Remove meat from stock, discard bones. Cut beef or lamb into small dice and reserve. Pour stock through a fine strainer; there should be approximately 6 cups of stock.
To finish: Heat ghee or oil and fry onion until dark brown. Add mustard seed and curry leaves and stir a minute or two. Pour hot stock into pan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Just before serving, add coconut milk. Season to taste with salt. If tamarind pulp is not used, add lemon juice. Return diced meat to pan. Heat but do not boil. Serve hot with rice and condiments if desired. I had cilantro and preserved lemon on the side.
Simply delectable, and not really difficult. Well worth it. Don't you just love the sound of it, Mulligatawny, Mulligatawny, tra la la la, sing along with me. And the taste more than lives up to expectations. Will be sharing this with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad and Sammies) blog event, as well as with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking.