• Sally's lentil & vegetable soup. (Refugee Council of Australia)Source: Refugee Council of Australia

This soup is one of our family recipes, which I still cook now, at Parliament on King. It’s influenced by Indian cuisine. My Mum used to cook it for me when I was younger and it reminds me of happy times with my family. I hope it makes you happy, too.






Skill level

Average: 4 (85 votes)

Sally is originally from Myanmar but now lives in Sydney.  She works at Parliament on King, a social enterprise where people seeking asylum and refugees serve food from their homelands.

Sally says, “I was born to cook – it’s in my blood.  Back home we had a family restaurant and we all loved to cook. No one really taught me how– I just seemed to pick it up along the way.  If I can smell it, I can cook it – and then I can make it even better!

Sometimes, I feel sad.  I miss my family and the restaurant, and the happy times we shared there. But the kitchen is my happy place.  Time flies and you can lose yourself talking, laughing and cooking. When people love my food and it makes them smile, I feel so happy.  I dream of running my own kitchen one day, a little takeaway shop with lovely food.  I’ll be happy and everyone else will, too.  What could be nicer?



  • 250 g red lentils
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced to 2 cm cubes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced to 2 cm cubes
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and diced to 2 cm cubes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cm piece ginger, finely chopped/grated
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 curry leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Squeeze of lemon (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. In a pot, add the lentils, potato, carrot and 1 tsp of the turmeric powder with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, skim the foam from the top and reduce to a gentle simmer. When the potatoes are starting to soften, add the zucchini. Cook for 25-30 minutes.  

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the curry leaves and cook until fragrant.

3. Add the chopped onion, stirring often, and fry until it starts to brown.

4. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the turmeric powder, paprika powder, cumin and diced tomatoes. Keep stirring until it starts to thicken and oil starts to separate on top, about 8 – 10 minutes.  

6. Mix the fried mixture with the soup and cook until the veg is softened to your liking. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and salt and chilli according to your taste.  If you prefer a thinner soup, add extra water.


To find out more and purchase a copy of Share a Meal, Share a Story: Celebrating Refugee Stories head to the Refugee Council of Australia website here.

Share a Meal, Share a Story is a community fundraising initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia. We are encouraging people to get together, share a delicious meal and share stories that help build empathy and understanding of refugee experiences.