How to make them:
Mohinga: To make Mohinga, you will need ingredients such as rice noodles, fish (commonly catfish), fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric, chickpea flour, and various spices. The dish involves preparing a flavorful fish broth by simmering the fish with aromatic herbs and spices. The broth is then thickened with chickpea flour to create a rich consistency. The cooked rice noodles are added to the broth, and the dish is typically garnished with fried crispy fritters, sliced hard-boiled eggs, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges. The recipe for Mohinga can vary slightly depending on regional preferences and family traditions.
Tea Leaf Salad (Laphet Thoke): To make Laphet Thoke, you will need fermented tea leaves, fried garlic, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, dried shrimp, green tomatoes, lime juice, and sometimes fresh chili peppers. The process involves soaking the tea leaves to soften them and then mixing them with the other ingredients. The salad is typically prepared by hand, as the ingredients are gently massaged together to infuse the flavors. The result is a refreshing and tangy salad with a combination of textures and a distinct umami taste from the fermented tea leaves.
Shan Noodles: Making Shan Noodles involves cooking flat rice noodles until tender and then tossing them in a sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, chili, soy sauce, and other spices. The noodles are often served with your choice of protein, such as chicken, pork, or tofu, and topped with fried garlic and fresh cilantro. Shan Noodles are a comforting and flavorful dish, perfect for a quick and satisfying meal.
Burmese Curry: Burmese curries are typically made by sautéing a blend of spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, chili, and lemongrass in oil. Meat, fish, or vegetables are added to the spice mixture and cooked until tender. Coconut milk or broth is then added to create a rich and creamy curry sauce.
Shan Tofu (Tohu Thoke): Shan Tofu is a unique Burmese dish made from yellow split peas. The split peas are soaked, ground into a paste, and then mixed with water to form a batter. The batter is steamed until it solidifies into a firm tofu-like texture. Shan Tofu is typically served as a salad (Tohu Thoke), where it is sliced into cubes and mixed with various ingredients such as garlic oil, toasted chickpea flour, and fresh herbs. It offers a protein-rich alternative for vegetarians and is enjoyed for its delicate taste and smooth texture.
Burmese Samosas: Similar to their Indian counterparts, Burmese samosas are a popular street food snack in Myanmar. These deep-fried pastries are filled with a savory mixture of curried vegetables, such as potatoes, peas, onions, and spices. The samosas are typically triangular in shape and have a crispy exterior. They are enjoyed as a snack or appetizer and are often accompanied by a tangy tamarind dipping sauce.
Mont Hin Gar: Mont Hin Gar is a delicious fish-based noodle soup commonly enjoyed for breakfast in Myanmar. The soup features a flavorful fish broth seasoned with various spices and herbs. It is typically served with rice noodles, crispy fried fish, banana stem, hard-boiled eggs, and a squeeze of lime. The combination of flavors and textures creates a comforting and satisfying dish.
To make some of these Burmese bites at home, here are simplified recipes for a couple of dishes:
Recipe: Shan Noodles
Prepare the rice noodles by following the instructions provided on the packaging. Drain and set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan and sauté the minced garlic until fragrant.
Add the diced tomatoes and cook until softened.
Stir in soy sauce, fish sauce (if using), and chili powder (if desired). Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Add the cooked rice noodles to the pan and toss well to coat them with the sauce.
Serve the Shan Noodles hot, garnished with chopped scallions, cilantro, and fried onions.
Recipe: Tea Leaf Salad (Laphet Thoke)
Soak the fermented tea leaves in warm water for about 15 minutes to soften them. Drain and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the tea leaves, roasted peanuts, fried garlic, sesame seeds, dried shrimp (if using), and lime juice.
Toss the mixture well to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Add sliced green chili according to your preference for spiciness.
Serve the Tea Leaf Salad on a bed of lettuce leaves, garnished with fried beans, tomato slices, and cilantro.
Please note that these recipes are simplified versions and traditional methods may involve additional steps and ingredients. It’s always a good idea to explore more authentic recipes or consult Burmese cookbooks for a truly authentic experience.