Red Lentil Soup

I have had the longest summer in my life this year from March till now, 3 months back in Yangon and 5 months here in Houston. So, a big temperature drop last night got me pulling out comfy sweaters and homey soup recipes to finally savor the cool, crisp atmosphere of fall outside. I did some major slurping on this good old Burmese lentil soup, a chunky vegan soup with an added bonus of chew from bean thread noodles.

Crispy curry leaves and garlic chips are much more than garnishes here; they instill great warmth, essence and character to the soup through a method of tempering, which is a final flavoring magic at the end of cooking.

In the color department, turmeric and paprika together tinted the soup with vivid autumn tones.

Burmese Red Lentil Soup – Burmalicious by Suu

Serving: 3-4 persons

Cook Time: 50 minutes

  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 3 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 1/2 inch of ginger
  • 1 tbsp. of salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • 50 g of dried bean thread noodles
  • 3 tbsp. of oil
  • 2 stems of fresh or dried curry leaves (15-20 leaves)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of paprika


1. Boiling the lentils

  • Rinse the lentils well. 
  • Add the lentils, 3 cloves of peeled garlic, ginger and 4 cups of water to a pot.
  • Bring it to a boil and spoon off the scums that rise on top. 
  • Reduce the heat to low-medium for a gentle simmer for 30 minutes till lentils are tender but still holding some shape.
  • Season with salt.

2. Preparing the bean thread noodles

  • Soak the noodles in lukewarm water for 10 minutes until they are pliable. 
  • Cut them into 6-inch lengths.
  • When the lentils are soft, add the bean thread noodles and continue simmering for another 15 minutes till well-cooked.

3. Tempering spices

  • Heat 3 tbsp. of oil in a skillet and fry the garlic slices till golden.
  • Add the curry leaves and fry till crispy and fragrant
  • Add the turmeric powder and paprika.
  • Remove the garlic chips and curry leaves from the oil.
  • Add the flavored oil to the simmering pot of lentil soup, stir well and bring it back to a boil for a minute. 
  • Serve hot with crispy curry leaves and garlic chips as garnishes on top. 
Burmese language lesson
  • Pe-Ni-Lay Kyar-Zan Hin-Cho
  • Pe-Ni-Lay –> Red Lentils
  • Kyar-Zan -> Vermicelli Noodles
  • Hin-cho -> Sweet Soup
Burmese Red Lentil Soup – Burmalicious by Suu

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