Mulligatawny is a classic Anglo-Indian curried soup that became popular during the British rule of India. The Tamil name for pepper water, ''milagu-tannir'', is the likely origin of the name. Pepper water was a thin sauce that was poured over rice.
The British stationed in India at this time needed a soup to serve as a separate course. There was no concept of this in India then, because all dishes for a meal were served at the same time; so British wives and Indian cooks came up with mulligatawny as the solution.
Today's recipe for a vegetable mulligatawny is adapted from an old recipe from Eliza Acton's Modern Cookery for Private Families, first published in 1845. I have used oil instead of butter and added some red lentils. The flavour of the soup is much better the next day. Mulligatawny soups are usually based on a chicken or mutton broth with some of the meat. There are many versions of this soup, so give it your own touch; blend the curry spices yourself, or if you like, add fresh ginger, green chillies or tamarind.
My reference for mulligatawny was The Penguin Companion to Food, by Alan Davidson, published in 2002.
Lemon sago is another dish with a colonial past and a favourite pudding of my childhood. It is easy to make and is light and refreshing. You may like to try it made with lime instead of lemon.
>> Diana Lampe is a Canberra writer, email@example.com