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Friday, 11 May 2012

Burmese cuisine - popular food (Part 2)

In this second part of the article, we continue to talk about some of the salads and main dishes of Burma.
Salad (thohk) Myanmar salads are a combination of raw, boiled or preserved vegetables, cooked meat or fish, slices of onion, tamarind juice, chili powder, fish sauce, fried shredded garlic in cooked oil, and pounded dried prawn, all mixed thoroughly by hand. They are served to accompany most meals, although often they are just as tasty as the main dish. Rice and noodle salads are also commonly found throughout the country. One of the most popular is the Laphet or pickled tea leaves with a dash of oil and served with sesame seeds, fried garlic and roasted peanuts, is another popular snack typical of Myanmar. Its appeal lies in the slight bitterness and smokiness of the leaves, which are mixed with a highly seasoned combination of fried garlic, roasted sesame seeds, peanuts, fish sauce and lime juice. In Burma it is served as a snack, a palate cleanser, a welcome to guests and a stimulant to ward off sleep.
Ginger salad is made of peeled, julienne of ginger with many of the same ingredients as the tea leaf salad, but the slightly hot ginger provides a completely different taste. The recipe is based on one from Ms. Win and Claudia Saw Lwin Robert, who lives in Yangon.
The green papaya salad is similar, but once again, the papaya enhances the other flavors while adding texture if not taste.
All three salads are easy to put together once you have made a trip to Indian and Asian markets for the staples, like fish sauce, ground roasted peanuts and ground dried shrimp

Main Dishes 
Main dishes can be classified as meat or fish, vegetables or salads, and some kind of soup. In the meat or fish category, dishes such as chicken, duck, pork, mutton, fish and prawns, and eggs cooked in water, oil and other spices. 
But beef is usually not served. Vegetables are cut and cooked in various ways, usually with a small amount of oil and dried prawn to enhance the taste. Salads are mostly made of raw, cooked or preserved vegetables, or sometimes meat, fish or prawn, added with a number of ingredients to enrich the flavour. There are four main types of soups: sweet broth, hot and spicy, sour, and bean soup.

Fish with green chili curry:  It is surprisingly light – a fish filet high on taste and low on heat.

Kausuetho (khow suey): Khow Suey, from Burmese , is a noodle dish that comes from the mountainous Shan State. It is a one-dish soup meal made of egg noodles and curried beef or chicken with coconut milk, served with a variety of contrasting condiments.  A squeeze of lemon also adds tanginess to Khow Suey. The dish is similar to the Burmese noodle dish ohn no khauk swe, literally “coconut milk noodles.”


Kyauk Kyaw or seaweed jelly, mostly with a coconut milk layer on top, is a common desert. Thagu or Thagu Byin , which may have acquired its name from the Malay origin, is sago or tapioca pudding sweetened with jaggery and enriched with coconut.  Myanmar traditional desserts is jaggery, a complimentary dessert provided in Myanmar meal shops and the only dessert popular with rural families especially in Upper Myanmar. 

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