Spicy Lamb Soup

  • Active Time 10m
  • Total Time 1h 30m
  • Rating ****

Serves 8

This spicy Anglo-Indian hawker soup evolved from colonial India’s mulligatawny soup. It is popular hawker fare in Malaysia and Singapore, where it is served with fried papadams. Garnish with chopped celery leaves or fresh cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves and fried shallot flakes.


  • For Spice Paste:
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, 1 inch long, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 shallots, about 1/2 lb, halved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • About 3 tablespoons water
  • For Soup:
  • 1 1/2 lb meaty lamb bones for stock
  • 3 qt water or meat stock
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 leeks, including 1 inch of the tender green tops, carefully rinsed and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large tomato, cut into large wedges
  • Fresh lime juice to taste, optional


FOR SPICE PASTE: In a blender, combine the ginger, garlic, shallots, fennel, cumin and coriander. Blend to a smooth paste, adding the water as needed to facilitate blending. Set aside.

FOR SOUP: Preheat an oven to 450 degrees. Remove any meat from the lamb bones, cut into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Place the bones in a roasting pan and roast, turning occasionally, until browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the bones to a plate and set aside.

Pour off the fat from the roasting pan and place the pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 cups of the water or stock and deglaze the pan by stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Set aside.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the ghee or heat the vegetable oil. Add the leeks and sauté until golden, about 1 minute. Add the spice paste and curry powder and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the roasted bones, reserved meat, the liquid from the roasting pan and the remaining 2 1/2 qt of water or stock. Wrap the cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth, tie securely with kitchen string and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the carrot and continue to simmer until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. Season with the sugar and salt and stir in the tomato.

Discard the cheesecloth-wrapped spices and the bones and ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Add lime juice to taste, if desired, and serve hot.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2442

nutrition information per serving

148 calories; 7g total fat; 10mg cholesterol; 532mg sodium; 14g carbohydrates; 9g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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