Saudi Arabia: Mulligatawny Soup



It’s funny how without any notice I will find myself missing and craving differing aspects of the Kingdom.  Although I was not there long, I was in Saudi Arabia long enough to consider it a second home.  From the moment I arrived and felt that desert sand between my toes and swept it up throughout our villa, Saudi Arabia became home.  I loved the sights, the smells, the people and the food of Saudi Arabia (in addition to much more).

Today, with no warning, I found myself craving Mulligatawny soup.  Saudi Arabia is not the only place in the world where one can enjoy Mulligatawny soup.  In fact, Mulligatawny soup is probably better known in places like India and Pakistan rather than Saudi Arabia.  But my husband and I frequently enjoyed Mulligatawny soup in Riyadh.  We would have it at our favorite restaurants and also at our home in Riyadh.  Abdullah and I enjoyed the lazy Friday afternoon when we’d have Mulligatawny soup and fresh bread for lunch.  We’d enjoy our simple meal as we typically discussed local events.  This was also a time when Abdullah would typically give me suggestions on topics I could write about for the blog.  Needless to say, Mulligatawny soup will always have me remember Friday lunches with my dear husband in Riyadh.


I’d like to share with American Bedu readers a recipe I use taken from which I find is simple and delicious!



  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 4 to 6 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 cup cooked diced chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cream, hot


In a large stockpot, over medium, add the onions, carrots, celery stalks and butter. Cook until tender, but do not burn them. Stir in the flour and curry and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in 8 cups of chicken stock and let simmer for 30 minutes. Then add in the remaining ingredients, except the hot cream. Let simmer for 15 minutes and then add in 1 cup hot cream. Ladle into serving bowls and serve.


27 Responses

  1. Didn’t know they put apples in it! I don’t think I have had this in 20 years. (I did like it years ago, but I have been to any place the serves it in decades).

  2. Head my way and I’ll fix it for ya, Jerry!

  3. What is it in Arabic?

  4. I’ve never heard it called anything else.

  5. I used to make it all the time so thanks for the reminder about it. My recipe is a little more elaborate but yours looks good!

  6. @Lynn – thanks for the reference. I enjoyed reading about it.

    @Wendy – could you post your recipe?

  7. mulligatawny or originally ” molag thanni” ( pepper water) 🙂
    we make rasam everyday the original of this soup, mins most ingrediants 🙂 but i love the vege version of this soup in addition to rasam ..

  8. Sounds good. There is nothing better, easier or more healthy than soup – or stew. Even less brainy people – or the non-cook types – like me, can make a tasty soup with little effort and expense. I like the idea of apples (or pineapples) in it to give it a sweet bite at times. I will certainly try this.

    I too love the desert. It has its own beauty that contrasts with that of mountains, tall trees and water. I don’t know which I like more. Either is great as long as few people are around. Unfortunately the misses, in spite of her black and indian blood, considers anything other than a thick matress to be an insult, so camping trips are few and far between now kids are gone. Even so, a camp fire, grilled meat, hot choc or coffee on a cold night under the stars make good memories.

  9. I am proud to announce that I made my mulligatawny soup last night. The weather here in North Carolina has cooled and it was the perfect day to cook.

  10. Radhaa, could you please post the veggie version? I’m vegan and I love to try new recipes! I’d also like to be able to cook something for my Saudi boys that would be at least slightly familiar to them. 🙂

  11. @okiehomestay — you want the saudi version or the indian version ?

  12. @radha – Both please 🙂

  13. I second Lynn!!

    I made my mulligawtany soup yesterday. If I may say so, it was pretty good! I took some over to my son’s home today.

  14. Wait…does the Indian version require fireproofing your mouth? lol

  15. not that I have ever encountered!

  16. @lynn – No but it is fiery and requires tamarind paste – but very good if you ahve a cold 🙂 To us it’s comfort food, rasam and rice to me is what mac’n cheese is to my daughter 🙂

    here’s the non-indian version.

    3 tablespoons of oil — olive is fine..
    1 spoon of ginger, grated /1 tsp of garlic, crushed
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder – there’s no such thing in indian cooking but i found this in stores here and it’s great.
    1/2 spoon chilli powder — hot stuff not the wimpy cayenne …
    1 19-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed well — in a saudi restaurant i loved this was added so i add it .

    1 cup of lentils, rinsed well – could use red, i use a mix of toor, moong and masoor dhal – available in indian stores.
    1 tomato – blended with 2 or 3 cups of water.
    carrots shredded
    lemon juice
    chopped cilantro/coriander

    ■Heat olive oil over medium heat, when hot, add ginger and garlic. Stir for 10 seconds.
    ■Add cumin, coriander, curry powder, and cayenne. Stir for 10 seconds.
    ■Add chickpeas and stir to coat with spices.
    Add in shredded carrots .
    ■Add lentils, tomato water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. — I make the whole thing in a pressure cooker and it cooks in abotu 10min … or you could put it in a crock pot and let simmer – tasts great thatw ay too
    ■Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
    ■Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro.

  17. Thank you Radhaa – it sounds very yummy!!

  18. Carol, I’m making your recipe right now because I happened to have all those ingredients on hand. But, now I realize that I don’t have everything. I don’t have any cream and I don’t want to go out to the store since it’s chilly and rainy AND I’m lazy. What to do? What to do? Also, what is that sprinkled on the top of the soup in the picture? Chives?

  19. Lynn, I’m not Carol- but I have sometime purreed a potatoe into soup for a creamy texture. With some milk. It won’t be as good as cream though 🙂

  20. Thanks Sandy. I just did without it. It was still thick and pretty darn yummy. I’m just curious how much of a difference it makes.

  21. Ohhhhh… me the cream adds additional texture and richness. The individual bowls can be topped with cilantro and parsley. I can’t wait to hear how your soup has turned out. I gave half of what I prepared to my son and family and they love it. Then today one of my friends had some and she wants the recipe too.

    Sorry I was late in replying to your comment. I was finishing my Christmas shopping while I’m feeling good.

  22. I think it turned out pretty darn good without the cream. Next time I will try it that way though. The apple was very interesting. I’ve never had that in a soup before. Next soup will be radha’s version. 🙂

    Finished Christmas shopping before Halloween?! Disgusting, yet Impressive! LOL

  23. I know…both my son and friend could not believe it had apples in it. I look forward to trying Radhaa’s version too!

    There is actually a logic to why I had to finish my shopping so early. I’m still not supposed to go out to large public places. So with mask, (on me) my friend took me out to a mall during the day while it was not too busy. As it gets closer to Christmas I could not risk going out with crowds and my low immunity. I will be so ecstatic when I am finally finished with chemo.

  24. Oh I knew the logic behind your shopping so early and I am still impressed. Christmas and presents would probably be the farthest from my mind if I were in your position. Good for you (and especially your friends and family ;-)) !

  25. Thanks, Lynn! Now I can sure use suggestions on stocking stuffers for my grandson who will be one year old by Christmas.

  26. Sorry, can’t help you there. I wish I could but I’ve been kind of deprived of grandchild gift buying so I’m out of practice. I did buy him Christmas presents last year but I was scared to death to get him a stocking! 😦

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