Tamarind Soup with Greens Gluten-Free Recipe

This gluten free soup recipe is a classic sour soup typically served in small cups to accompany a traditional Burmese meal. The clever thing about the texture is how it’s thickened: a little toasted chickpea flour mixed with water adds a bit of body to the broth. If you like it extra spicy, add a few fresh Thai chiles, halved lengthwise, while cooking. When buying tamarind, skip the pods sold in the produce aisle of Asian markets and look for square blocks of purple-red pulp that are wrapped in plastic and are seedless; these are occasionally found near the tamarind pods, but a more reliable place to look is by the bottles of Asian and Near Eastern sauces. Avoid bottles of tamarind concentrate; they’re not the best substitute. Recipe provided by the team of San Francisco’s beloved restaurant Burma Superstar.

Tamarind Soup with Greens Gluten-Free Recipe

Servings 6
Author Kate Leahy


  • 1-1/2 ounces (nearly 1/4 cup) seedless tamarind pulp
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 small dried chiles, such as Chinese dried chiles or chile de arbol, or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch chard, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  1. Put the tamarind pulp in a small bowl, pour the hot water over it, and let soak for 5 minutes. Using your hands or a spoon, break up the pulp to help it dissolve. Strain and reserve the tamarind water, pressing on the solids to extract as much tamarind as possible.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the chickpea flour until it begins to turn deep golden in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add 1/2 cup water, and whisk until there are no lumps.
  3. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cumin, dried chiles, bay leaf, onion, and garlic. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has started to caramelize around the edges and soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in the paprika, turmeric, and salt and cook for 3 more minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir in the chickpea flour water, 6 cups water, and the strained tamarind water and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the garam masala, potatoes, and tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes longer. Add the chard and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

Photography John Lee

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