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Taste of Myanmar: The delights of Burmese cuisine

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Through hearty and well-loved family recipes, Kay Thwe I Oo introduces the delights of Burmese cuisine.

Mohinga (Rice noodle and fish soup)
Serves 2

• 1 onion, finely diced
• 1 tsp ginger, crushed
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 2 tbsp shrimp paste
• 2 red chillies, chopped
• 60 g water chestnuts, sliced  thinly
• 2 stalks of lemongrass, sliced thinly
• 675 ml fish stock
• 100 g rice, toasted and ground
• 500 g dried thin rice noodles
• 200 g firm white fish, bite-size pieces

Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the onion, ginger, turmeric, shrimp paste, chillies, water chestnuts and lemongrass until the onion has softened. Add the stock and whisk in the toasted rice. (To prepare the rice, toss in a heated pan until the grains are browned, and crush using a mortar and pestle.) Simmer for around 15 minutes until the soup has thickened. Add the rice noodles and continue simmering until just cooked. Add the fish, such as haddock, pollack or sea bass, and cook for a further five minutes. Serve with a soft-boiled egg, and garnish with chopped spring onions, chopped chillies and beansprouts.

Weq Tha (Pork with tumeric)
Serves 4

• 2-inch stick fresh ginger
• 500 g pork fillet or belly pork
• 11⁄2 tbsp turmeric
• I bulb garlic, diced fine
• 1 medium onion, diced fine
• 2 tbsp soy-bean oil
• 4 eggs

Pound the ginger to a paste. Cut the pork into bite-size chunks and mix in the ginger, 1 tbsp turmeric and plenty of salt. Leave to marinate for30 minutes. Heat oil in a wok and add 1⁄2 tbsp turmeric. Fry the pork on a medium heat until brown. Add 300 ml water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the garlic, onion and soy-bean oil. Continue to cook on a medium heat until the excess liquid evaporates. Serve with a fried egg.

K’ auq-s’weh (Chicken and vegetable noodles)
Serves 4

• 400 g chicken, cut fine
• 1 tbsp turmeric
• 1 vegetable stock cube
• 1 onion, roughly chopped
• 1 carrot, diced fine
• 31⁄2 tbsp soy-bean oil
• 1⁄2 cauliflower, bite-size pieces
• 8 long green beans, diced
• 1 small cabbage, shredded
• 400 g egg noodles

Fry the chicken with the turmeric in plenty of oil. Add 275 ml water and half a crumbed vegetable stock cube. Stir in the onion and carrot on a medium heat, adding 2 tbsp soy-bean oil. Add the cauliflower and green beans, and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add oil, half a crumbed stock cube, and 1 tbsp soy-bean oil. Add the cabbage.Meanwhile, boil the noodles until soft, then drain and coat with soy- bean oil. Combine the chicken mix and the noodles, and garnish with celery leaves. Serve with chicken stock/ consommé and a chilli water salad. To make the salad combine equal quantities of shredded cabbage, cucumber and onion, first soaking the onion in cold water until soft. Add chopped green chillies to taste. Mix in the juice of 2 limes and plenty of salt.

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