Instant pot mulligatawny soup is just the sort of meal I want in the fall. It’s easy to make, full of curry flavor, and loaded with vegetables. This recipe is vegetarian and, if you leave out the butter, also vegan.
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What is mulligatawny soup and where did it come from?
Mulligatawny is a soup that usually includes apples, lentils, and rice in a broth seasoned with curry powder and other Indian spices and often fortified with heavy cream. It’s a bit sweet, a bit spicy, and totally satisfying.
Mulligatawny soup is a fusion dish invented by the English based on an Indian sauce recipe. The name “mulligatawny,” apparently, comes from the Tamil words for “pepper water” (
I make my version with red lentils, mainly because I like the color, and brown basmati rice. Instead of cream, I use full-fat coconut milk, both to make it vegan friendly (using only oil instead of butter, of course) and because I adore the subtle coconut flavor. You can substitute cream if you like, or any non-dairy milk substitute.
What to serve with Instant Pot mulligatawny soup?
Thick with lentils and rice and loaded with vegetables and apples, this soup makes a hearty meal. Some naan or papadum (pictured) make a nice accompaniment because you can dunk them in the soup and add extra texture. You don’t need anything else, honestly.
I do love to top it with my famous Caramelized Cashews and Raisins, but just a sprinkling of chopped cilantro works, too. You can also add chopped, roasted cashews for a bit of texture.
Can you make Instant Pot Mulligatawny Soup ahead and freeze it?
Yes! This recipe makes a large batch (feel free to halve the recipe if it seems like too much)—10 generous servings—but it keeps well. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. I like to freeze it in quart-size, freezer-safe resealable plastic bags. This size fits nicely into an Instant Pot (3- or 6-quart size) for thawing. I just run the bag briefly under hot water and then slit it open and slide the frozen soup into the pot.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee (or use olive oil as a vegan substitute)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 to 4 red chiles, like serrano or jalapeño, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 3 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup uncooked red lentils
- ½ cup brown basmati rice
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 (13 ½-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- Caramelized Cashews and Raisins (optional)
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Heat the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted and the mixture is hot, add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chilies, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more. Stir in the apples and tomatoes and cook, stirring, for another 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the lentils, rice, and broth and bring to a boil. Turn the pot off.
- Cover the pot and turn the valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. When the cooking time is up, quick release the pressure.
- Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a countertop blender), puree the soup, leaving some chunks for texture.
- Stir in the coconut milk and reheat if needed.
- Serve hot, topped with the Caramelized Cashew and Raisin Garnish, if using, and chopped cilantro.
Amount Per Serving Calories 279 Total Fat 11g Saturated Fat 7g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 10mg Sodium 369mg Carbohydrates 40g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 9g Sugar 13g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 9g