Fish Mulligatawny is an unusual dish – not what you think of when you think of mulligatawny. I’ve adapted this from the recipe in Hilda Deutrom’s ground-breaking Daily News Cookery Book. The first edition of it was in 1929 and it has remained the standard English-language cookery book in Sri Lanka ever since. It’s very much to do with the scope which brings together British, Dutch, Portuguese, Tamil and Sinhalese food.  The dish is perfect on its own with just some boiled rice or konjak as I have done here.

Fish Mulligatawny

A subtly flavoured broth with chunks of firm white fish. The recipe is adapted from Hilda Deutrom's Ceylon Daily News Cookery Book
Course Main Course
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Keyword fish, mulligatawny, soup
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 500 g white fish fillet ling is excellent for this
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp each of coriander seed and cumin ground together
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 1 medium sized ripe tomato
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek optional
  • 1 shallot onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig curry leaves optional
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • cooking oil


  • Cut fish into bite sized chunks
  • Put the fish pieces into a saucepan and add the two cups of water to the pan
  • Cook the fish for 5 minutes
  • Chop the tomato
  • Slice the onion
  • Add tomato, half the onion, all the spices and half the sprig of curry leaf to the saucepan
  • Let this all simmer slowly till the fish is well cooked
  • Add the coconut milk to the saucepan
  • Add a pinch of salt to the saucepan
  • Now fry the fenugreek and the rest of the onion and curry leaves in the cooking oil till the onion starts to brown
  • Add to the fish
  • Add the coconut milk to the saucepan
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve hot