From Rasam To Soup, Know How Mulligatawny Soup Came Into Being
- Ria Baidya
Updated : January 20, 2022 05:01 IST
Mulligatawny soup was probably the first ‘Indian stew’ served to the Britishers.
India is a potpourri of exquisite dishes, and anyone who steps foot in our humble country always gets attached to one of the delicacies that they'll cherish forever. British were always quite fond of our rich flavourful dishes, beside curry they were also hooked onto a plethora of dishes that they took with them while leaving India. British Raj in India flourished for almost a century. During their period, the country was profoundly influenced by various foreign culinary styles, which can now be seen in a gamut of regional dishes across the subcontinent. Mulligatawny soup was said to be a favourite dish among the Britishers as everyone from officers to bureaucrats adored the dish and wanted it to be a part of their regular dining affair. It was a soup made by using a sapid combination of fresh vegetables and rice, with aromatic herbs and spices.
Mulligatawny is believed to have originated from the clubs and homes of the British population in India around the 18th century. The soup was first concocted by the Indian cooks to please the taste-palate of the East Indian company officials. The name of the dish came from the Tamil language- ‘milagu’ and ‘tanny’, which literally translates to ‘pepper water’ or ‘spicy broth’. Apparently, the British fell in love with the stew and asked their south Indian chefs to add meat chunks into it as well. This is another variation of the dish. The base of the dish is said to be inspired from ‘rasam’, which is a popular translucent spicy South Indian soup, mostly enjoyed with a humble bowl of rice or as is. Traditionally, Indian cuisines didn’t have a concept of soup or stew served as an appetizer. Thus, the closest option to an Indian version of soup was the tangy rasam. Once the British got attached to the dish, it spread like wildfire and it wasn’t limited only to India, but the whole of Britain also took a liking towards this toothsome delicacy.
By the 1850’s mulligatawny was sold in tin cans with different choices of meat ranging from rabbit, pheasant and wildfowl, that were prepared with exotic spices. The soup mixes also began to appear at markets and were sold for 4 dimes. It became so popular that the famous, American company Heinz, began making these mulligatawny soup cans and started selling them not only in Britain but in America as well. You would be surprised to know that the company is still producing and selling them after so many decades.
Sluping already? Here's a recipe of Mulligatawny soup just for you.