A main course soup – mulligatawny, 46p a big bowl

Jan 6, 2017 | 0 comments


I bagged some lovely organic beef mince on yellow sticker last week and stashed them in the freezer for when I was ready to use them. They worked out, even on yellow sticker, at just a bit more than ordinary 10% fat beef mince, that’s the organic part I suppose.

Organic beef

Today I decided to make something I haven’t made for a long time – mulligatawny soup. Whenever I do make it, I use a recipe from a Mrs Beeton book that I’ve had for 30! years, eek!

The amount of soup was rather more than I remembered, and more watery too. So I bunged in a cup of red lentils to give it more structure, and it was fine.

Mulligatawny soup

Mulligatawny Soup

Priced at Sainsbury
500g 10% fat beef mince, £2.65
1 onion, 5p
1 apple, bag/£1.75, 16p
1 carrot, 50p/kg, 5p
Small parsnip, basics, 70p/750g, 9p
50g pearl barley, 55p/500g, 5p
250g red lentils, £1.80/kg, 45p
20g curry powder, Natco 100g/80p, 16p
A couple of bay leaves if you have them
Generous teaspoon mustard, maybe two
Generous splash vinegar, I used vinegar leftover from a jar of pickled onions
Tablespoon dark brown sugar
Salt and pepper
2 litres water
Use the lower fat meat or the soup will have an unpleasant layer of fat floating on the top. If you can’t find that, carefully scoop off the fat once it’s all cooked. Or cook the meat first and drain it before adding to the soup pot.

Makes 8 generous servings. Freezes very well
Total cost £3.71, 46p a serving
Nutrition per serving, 190 calories, 16g carbs, 8g fat, 15g protein, 2g fibre

Prepare the vegetables and fruit by peeling (if necessary) and chopping finely. Put them all in a big saucepan, add the meat and sauté gently. Break the meat up into very small pieces by smooshing it all around every now and then. Keep the lid on in between.

Once the meat and veg have had a good sizzle, add the water, red lentils and pearl barley. Bring to the boil, turn down to a slow simmer, put the lid back on, and leave for about half an hour, until the pearl barley is completely cooked. Remove the bay leaves.

If you like, take out half the soup, give it a whizz with a hand blender and stir it back into the pot.

Now, seasoning. Add generous amounts of salt and pepper. Mulligatawny soup is supposed to have a detectable hum of curry, spices and heat. Depending on the strength of your curry powder, you may need to add some more.

We enjoyed ours with some nice crusty bread, and a sliver of cheese. The remaining 6 portions are stored in separate containers and stashed away for a ready lunch.


You can use any type of vinegar. When seasoning, balance the acidity from the vinegar, with the sweetness of the sugar and the tang of the mustard. You can substitute pork or lamb for the minced beef, or a whole piece of beef of the same weight, which you could use separately if you wish.
Use a stock cube or two or some lovely home made stock if you wish. I didn’t, and it was fine


Mulligatawny Soup




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