Delia

Eliza Acton's Vegetable Mulligatawny

Eliza Acton is one of my favourite cookery writers and this is a recipe that I adapted from her cookery book, which was published in 1840.


Serves 8



Eliza Acton's Vegetable Mulligatawny
Ingredients
 3 large onions, chopped
 1 lb 8 oz (700 g) peeled marrow or unpeeled courgettes, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
 8 oz (225 g) tomatoes, skinned and chopped
 4 oz (110 g) butter
 3 whole cardamom pods, seeds only
 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
 1 dessertspoon coriander seeds
 3 fl oz (75 ml) white basmati rice, cooked in 6 fl oz (175 ml) boiling water
 11/2 pints (850 ml) hot vegetable stock
 small croutons, to serve
 salt and freshly milled black pepper

Method

First, melt the butter in a large (6 pint/3.5 litre) saucepan, then add the onions and cook until they're a golden brown colour. Now place the cardamom, cumin, fennel and coriander seeds in a small frying pan to dry-roast - this will take 2-3 minutes. As soon as the seeds start to jump, tip them into a mortar and crush them finely, then add them to the onions. Now add the marrow or courgettes, potato and tomatoes. Season well, then let the vegetables cook gently, covered, until soft - about 20 minutes.

Next, when the vegetables have cooled a little, put them into a blender and reduce to a puree. You will need to do this in more than one batch, so a large bowl to put each batch in is helpful here. Then pour the puree back into the saucepan and stir in the cooked rice, together with the stock. Re-heat gently, cook for about 5 minutes more, then serve with some crisp croutons sprinkled in each bowl.

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