Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

A classic of Burmese cuisine, Mohinga is a fragrant fish soup served over noodles. This recipe from The Rangoon Sisters is a simplified version of the traditional dish.

From the book

Amy & Emily Chung


This is probably Burma’s national dish, and our version was Guardian restaurant critic Grace Dent’s ‘best thing I ate in 2017’. This fish noodle soup is traditionally eaten at breakfast, but is readily available as a ‘snack’ at any time of day on the streets of Burma. The best we’ve had was cheap as chips, for as little as 30p a bowl, and eaten as we sat on plastic stools at the side of the road. Typically it is made with a type of catfish we can’t source easily in London, but Grandma has used pilchards as a substitute for years and it works brilliantly to replicate the flavour. Mohinga also usually contains sliced banana stem, but we tend to just add more whole shallots instead.

Read more Read less


2 tbsp rice flour
6 garlic cloves, peeled
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
3 lemongrass stalks
6 tbsp oil (vegetable, sunflower or peanut)
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp turmeric powder
1–2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp shrimp paste (optional)
2–3 tbsp fish sauce, plus extra to season
400g tin of pilchards in brine NOT ketchup (if you can’t find pilchards use tinned sardines)
300g shallots, peeled
black pepper
To serve:
400g dried rice vermicelli (0.8–1mm size), cooked, rinsed and left in cold water
3 limes, cut into wedges
garlic oil
chilli flakes or chilli flakes in oil
6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
coriander leaves
1 batch of crispy chana dal crackers, broken up (see p148 of The Rangoon Sisters Cookbook)

Don't miss our spring eBook sale!


First prepare the rice flour. Toast it in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for 3–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip the flour out onto a plate and set aside.

Crush the garlic and ginger to a paste using a pestle and mortar or blitz in a food processor. Cut off and discard the first 5cm of the thin end of the lemongrass stalks and remove the tough outer layer, then bash what remains with a pestle or rolling pin to release the flavours.

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and ginger mix and stir for 1 minute, then add the lemongrass stalks.

Add the spices, shrimp paste, if using, and fish sauce and stir well. Then add the contents of the pilchards tin, including the brine. Mash the fish then add the toasted rice flour and mix well to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Top up with 1.2 litres of water and add the whole peeled shallots. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Once cooked, remove the lemongrass, add a good grinding of black pepper and adjust the seasoning with a little fish sauce.

Put some drained rice noodles into each individual serving bowl, ladle over the soup, add a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of garlic oil, some chilli, as desired, and top with boiled eggs, coriander leaves and your broken up crackers. Serve immediately.

Storage notes: The fish soup can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Comments are closed.


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week

From the book: The Rangoon Sisters: Recipes from our Burmese family kitchen

Close menu