Katen Joshi (Burmese Lentil Soup)


  • 480 ml (2 cups) red lentils
  • 1440 ml (6 cups) water
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) cilantro, chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) Chinese celery, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 hot green chillies, finely sliced and soaked in white vinegar and pickled for a min of an hour.
  • 2 cups chopped sweet onions, cooked slowly in 1/3 cup peanut oil until dark and caramelised.
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and grated and cooked in an inch of hot oil until crisp and golden brown, then drained on paper towels.
  • 2 cups bread cubes, cooked in 2.5 cm (1 in) of hot oil and butter until golden crisp (this needs to be watched as it can burn very quickly).
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped.
  • 2 Green onions chopped (both the green tips and the white stems). 


  1. Wash the lentils thoroughly, then pour into a large pot with 6 cups of water. 
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook partially covered until the lentils lose their shape and make a thick gruel. This can be pushed through a sieve very easily if you would like an ultra smooth daal.
  3. Stir in the chopped cilantro, season to taste, and set aside.
  4. While the lentils are cooking, begin preparing the garnishes, best in the order given.  Place each in a separate bowl to serve on the table
  5. This is best self served from a table tureen or pot and warm only, diners adding the garnishes to the bowl as they wish.