In the damp grey days of late winter, Mulligatawny stew provides the comfort of a worn sweater. It’s a rustic stew of root vegetables, tart apples, fresh ginger, and fragrant Indian spices, made rich and silky, with the addition of coconut milk.Like all stews (or soups, if you add additional liquid), mulligatawny is made for tinkering, so feel free to improvise. A little more pepper, a little less vegetable, a handful of lentils, some rice, or diced chicken … all these work with this recipe. And, as with all stews and soups, the flavours only get better after a day or two in the fridge.Delightful on its own, or served atop a tangle of warm rice noodles. Shabby sweater optional.

Mulligatawny Stew

Makes About 11 Cups


■ 1 tsp whole mustard seed
■ 1 tsp whole cumin
■ 1 tsp whole coriander
■ 1 Tbsp curry powder
■ 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
■ 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
■ 1 tsp kosher salt
■ 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
■ 2 onions finely chopped
■ 2 tsp minced fresh ginger, about 1 inch piece, grated on a microplane
■ 2 tsp minced garlic
■ 1 Tbsp minced jalapeño pepper, about one medium pepper
■ 2 400 ml (14 fl ounce) cans coconut milk (not light)
■ 1 796 ml (28 fl ounce) can good quality (San Marzano type) tomatoes, crushed with a fork
■ 1 large carrot, diced
■ 2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato, about 1 medium
■ 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced, and sprinkled with 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
■ 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade), vegetable stock, or water, plus more as required
■ 1 cup diced kale
■ 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas


■ 1/2 cup roasted pistachios or cashews, chopped

Cooking Instructions

Place the mustard seeds, cumin and coriander in a dry skillet and toast over medium-high heat until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and process until finely ground. Tip the spice mixture into a small bowl and add the curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric and salt. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion until translucent and just starting to brown around the edges. Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeño pepper and spice mixture, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Add the thickest portion of the coconut milk (the part that floats to the surface of the can), about one third from each can, to the onion spice mixture. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Add the remaining coconut milk, tomatoes, carrot, sweet potato, apples and stock or water. Simmer uncovered until the vegetables and apple are cooked through.

Taste the stew, adding additional salt, or lemon juice, if desired.  Thin with additional water or stock, if you prefer a lighter stew.

A few minutes before serving, add the chopped kale and chickpeas and warm though.  Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with roasted pistachios or cashews.

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