Food fulfils many functions in life. Beyond mere fuel, it can represent warmth, nurture, togetherness, nostalgia, adventure and sometimes even a challenge! And then on rare occasions, food can go beyond all these things and offer something more; something just that little bit special. At times, a dish can bring complete surprise and delight; it can make you forget everything, close your eyes and utter a blissfully contented ‘mmmm‘. At such times, food can be a real treat, pure and simple!
Well this recipe is certainly that; I truly can’t praise it enough! It’s warm, filling, indulgent, aromatic, rich, satisfying… the list goes on and on! But normally when food attracts this kind of praise, there’s three words you don’t expect to hear when describing it – quick, simple and straightforward!
The origins of this strangely named dish take root in the Anglo-Indian melting-pot of the 18th century. As the British Empire opened up spice-routes into London from the East; a brave new world of exotic flavours opened up, and the English love affair with Indian cuisine was born. The rapidly growing new wave of aspiring middle-classes were first to jump on this band-wagon; albeit with little understanding of this trend, or any actual knowledge of what they were eating. In the Sporting Magazine of 1798, one gentleman writes: “I supped … in his house on Mulagatoney or pepper-water.”
Pepper was the one ‘known & recognised’ flavour that people of the time could latch onto. As a result, a myriad of rather queer and extraordinary recipes were published, attempting to capture the flavour of aromatic Eastern cuisine through the use of existing local or readily available ingredients such as peppercorns and onions. I laugh to think at how these first attempts as ‘kurrys’ must have been received; especially in light of the fact that no-one had any real point of comparison or yardstick against which the cook’s efforts were to be judged! Thankfully, today’s larder is much better stocked and we’re able to take full advantage of the world’s rich & varied food-palette at comparatively low cost and effort.
The words ‘ketogenic diet’ would seem as strange to 18th century ears as the word mulligatawny itself. Well this recipe is a perfect low carb dish. Blood sugars will remain stable, with no ramping of insulin-levels; making it the ideal concoction for diabetics, gluten-intolerants or those on a paleo-plan. I strongly urge you to give it a try – you won’t regret it!
Finely slice an onion and two sticks of celery, then add these to a heavy-based saucepan with a splash of oil and a large spoonful of butter. Saute these on a medium heat for a few minutes, then add a crushed clove of garlic and sprinkle in the following: one teaspoon of chilli-powder, half a teaspoon of ground fenugreek, one teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of ground coriander and a good grind of pepper. Let these cook through for a minute or so, then pour in two pints of chicken stock (or stock-cubes and water) and bring to the boil.
Once the soup is at a rolling simmer, add the contents of a can of full-fat coconut milk, then lower the heat and leave this to reduce until the mix is thick and glossy, resembling the texture of single cream (circa 20 minutes).
Finely slice a generous handful of mange-tout and add these to the soup, cooking them until tender for a further 2 or so minutes. Then empty in your crayfish tails (or prawns if you prefer). Let these heat through for a further couple of minutes, then give it a good taste to adjust the seasoning. You’ll need to add a small sprinkle of sweetener to balance and round off the flavour. Do this a little at a time, until the levels are to your liking; then finish the dish with a good squeeze of lime or lemon-juice and a handful of chopped coriander.
Hey presto, your delicious low carb mulligatawny soup is ready! Ladle into bowls and eat whilst still piping hot! I’ll wager everyone will go back for seconds – there was not a drop left in the pan when I made this; and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll soon see why!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!