Num Pang is most famous for their Cambodian sandwiches, but this curried soup is simple to make at home and warms you when it’s too cold to stand on the sidewalk for 20 minutes waiting for your turn at their counter.
It’s a looker crowned with just cilantro, but if you’re feeling cheffy, know the pros also garnish it with pickled carrots, pickled cabbage and fried shallots.
To read the full Num Pang story, check out our profile in our March-April innovations issue.
Num Pang’s Curried Red Lentil Soup
6-8 generous servings
4 cups red lentils
1 large carrot
1/2 fennel bulb
3 stalks celery
1 garlic clove
1 tbs fresh ginger
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs ground coriander
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated and finely chopped
2 tbs salt
1 tbs black pepper
2 tbs oil
3 quarts water
In a food processor or by hand, finely chop the carrot, fennel, celery, cilantro, garlic and ginger.
In a large pot, heat the oil and then add the coriander and cumin, stirring to “bloom” or toast the spices until they’re very fragrant, being careful not to let them burn.
Add the chopped vegetables, then the cilantro stems, and then the red lentils and salt and pepper. Stir to combine, add water to cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. As the lentils absorb the water, add more, until you’ve added all 3 quarts.
Simmer until lentils go from red to yellow and are completely soft, about 45 minutes.
Remove from heat, add cilantro leaves (reserving a handful for garnish) and, when cool enough to handle, puree with immersion blender (or in a traditional blender in batches) until smooth, thinning with more water if needed.