Sunday, July 28, 2013

Crispy Cheesy Chicken

Recipe Courtesy Erin Pawley 
I served this chicken on a bed of Romaine lettuce and baked potato slices along with sauteed mushrooms and soya beans (edamame) seasoned with Herbs de Provence. The chicken came out very tender & juicy and the sauce was particularly delicious. It tasted just like Hollandaise Sauce!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Eggplant & Fried Anchovies Sipyan

Begun Shutki
Burmese dish comprising eggplant and fried anchovies simmered long and slow in a tomato sauce.

Asparagus & Shrimp in Mustard Coconut Sauce

Shrimp and mustard gravy go well with a lot of vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes, pumpkin, summer squash or sweet potatoes. Asparagus provides a crisp note when combined with shrimp and ground mustard.

1 bundle asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1" pieces
1/2 lb. medium shrimp (35-40 count), shelled & deveined
1 tsp. ginger paste
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. nigella seeds (kalo jeera/kalonji)
4-5 green chillies
2 Tbsp. black mustard seeds, soaked overnight in salted water
2 Tbsp. grated coconut (unsweetened)
salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime

1. Grind drained mustard in a blender, strain and mix with lime juice.
2. Heat oil, fry green chillies until skins turn white, remove and set aside.
3. Add nigella seeds and wait until they sputter.
4. Add asparagus pieces along with ginger paste and fry for a few minutes.
5. Stir in coconut and shrimp and simmer until shrimp turn pink.
6. Pour mustard into pan, stir and adjust salt to taste.
7. Return fried green chilies to pan and transfer to a serving dish.

Serve on a bed of hot Basmati rice.

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Grated Cabbage with Eggs

Deem Diye Bandha Kopi
Credit for this recipe goes to Mum who used to cook shredded cabbage with black pepper and eggs. I find it easier to grate the cabbage in the food processor and do the same with the onions and garlic. Adding the shrimp powder (entirely optional) adds a lovely Burmese touch to this dish.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mung Bean Lentils with Shrimp

Chingri Dal
When allowed to sit, the lentils thicken
and absorb most of the liquid
This recipe was given to my husband by his niece, Jayashree Banerjjee. 

2 cups mung dal cooked
15 medium shrimp, cleaned, deveined and tossed with salt and turmeric

For the tempering:

1 tsp. ghee
1 tsp. vegetable oil 
1/4 tsp. nigella seeds (kalonji/kalo jeera)
whole green chillies
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. turmeric
green coriander/cilantro (chopped) 

  1. Heat oil, sauté prawns for 3 minutes on both sides and set aside.
  2. To the same pan add  ghee, nigella seeds and green chillies.
  3. When seeds begin to sizzle, return prawns to pan and add cooked lentils.
  4. Adjust salt to taste and cook for 4-5 minutes. 
  5. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Fish Cooked with Fenugreek Leaves & Cilantro

Methi Shaak Diye Maacher Jhol
Recipe courtesy Rene Chaudhuri

The methi shaak (fenugreek greens) was sitting around in the fridge for a couple of days and most of it turned yellow, so this photograph does not do full justice to the recipe. Also, I didn't have enough fish so I added an oriental eggplant and russet potato. This was delicious, regardless of any drawbacks or deficiencies!


½ kg. (1 lb.) rohu fish
2 bundles coriander leaves, washed & roughly chopped
2 bundles methi leaves, washed & roughly chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2-3 green chillies, chopped
2-3 green chillies, slit at stem end
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 Tbsp. chilli powder
1 Tbsp. coriander powder
1 cup mustard oil
salt to taste


  1. Set aside some coriander leaves, slit green chillies and 1 Tbsp. mustard oil for garnishing. 
  2. Cut fish into large pieces, rub in turmeric & salt, and set aside to marinate for 1 – 1 ½ hours. 
  3. Heat the oil in a kadai. 
  4. Add garlic pieces and fry until light brown.
  5. Save some coriander leaves and slit green chillies for garnishing. 
  6. Add methi and coriander leaves and fry until it changes colour. 
  7. Add tomatoes and fry for some more time. 
  8. Add remaining ingredients and finally the fish pieces. 
  9. Slowly turn them over from time to time. 
  10. Sprinkle a little water, cover and cook on a slow fire.
  11. Garnish with reserved coriander leaves, slit green chillies, mustard oil and serve with steamed Basmati rice.

Cauliflower Peas & Potato Curry

Dry Cauliflower Curry
A stir-fried vegan dish, this is hearty enough to serve as a main dish. The cauliflower florets & potatoes are browned prior to combining with the spices and sauce. Browning the cauliflower brings out the true flavour of the vegetable. Without browning, the cauliflower is quite bland. Usually served as a side dish, it goes well with steamed Basmati rice or any type of Indian bread.

1 cauliflower, cut in florets
1 russet potato, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
4 Tbsp. extra light olive oil
½ tsp. shah jeera or cumin seeds
2 medium onions, cubed
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 – 3 green chilies
½ tsp. garam masala powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee

1. Boil water and blanch onions for 2 minutes, strain and set both aside.
2. Puree onions, chilies, onion, ginger, garlic and tomato pastes in a blender.
3. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat and fry cauliflower until golden.
4. Remove cauliflower and set aside, then do the same with potato cubes.
5. Heat oil in the same pan and add cumin seeds.
6. When cumin starts to sizzle, add onion puree and simmer until oil resurfaces.
7. Add reserved hot water, bring to a boil and add cauliflower & potatoes.
8. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked.
9. Add frozen peas, adjust salt to taste, cover and simmer for five minutes.
10. Sprinkle garam masala powder over the cauliflower, stir and remove from heat.
11. Garnish with ghee and serve.

Cauliflower Curry in Tomato Gravy
The same recipe with gravy. Added 1 cup of hot vegetable broth at the end and simmered with 1/4 cup tomato puree for the gravy.

Bitter Melon Stir-Fried with Eggplant & Potatoes

Karola Begun Alu Thorkari
Chinese bitter melons or 3 ucchay, deseeded and chopped
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
2 Oriental eggplants, chopped and tossed with salt

4 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. radhuni (wild celery seeds)
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped

3 sliced green chillies
1/4 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. ghee


  1. Toss eggplants with salt and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and sputter radhuni.
  3. Add onions and fry until translucent.
  4. Add potatoes, salt and ginger paste.
  5. Stir well and cook over medium heat until potatoes are partly cooked.
  6. Add tomatoes, karela and salted eggplant, stir well, cover and cook until vegetables are soft. 
  7. Stir in sugar & green chilies, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and garnish with ghee.
Serve with steamed Basmati rice or tortillas.

Narkol Diye Dal - Lentils Cooked in Coconut Milk

Mum used to make delicious lentils with coconut for festive occasions, but she always used pieces of coconut to flavour the dish. This recipe uses coconut milk which makes a very creamy lentil dish which is especially delicious because of the chauk/phoron/tarka at the very end of curry leaves, green chillies and black mustard seeds which makes it simply perfect for this preparation!

1 cup channa dal 
1 (8 oz.) cup coconut milk
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium (Roma) tomatoes, chopped
3 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. turmeric powder
2 cups water or vegetable stock

4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 green chillies, slit at stem end
7-8 curry leaves, one stem
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 tsp. ghee

1. Place all ingredients (except Garnish) in a pressure cooker, bring to a boil, cover and cook under pressure on medium heat for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.
2. Allow steam in pressure cooker to dissipate before opening lid.
3. Heat oil over high heat in a small saucepan, fry slit green chillies until skin blisters and turns grey, remove from oil and set aside.
4. Sputter black mustard seeds, add curry leaves and fry for a minute or so.
5. Pour over lentils in pressure cooker, return to a boil and garnish with slit green chillies and ghee.

Serve over steamed Basmati or Jasmine rice or tortillas.

Maacher Rezaila - Fish in Yogurt Gravy

Add caption
I was inspired to make Rezaila with fish by Pritha Sen’s Prawn Rezala and 
especially liked her idea of using some Shan Pulao/Biryani mix in the gravy. It
really gave a lovely boost to the flavor of this fish dish

2.5 lb. Tilapia pieces
Salt to taste
2 medium onions, quartered
2 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. white pepper powder
1 (6 oz.) tub Greek yogurt
1 onion, peeled and sliced
4 pods garlic, peeled and sliced
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp. Shah Jeera or cumin seeds
10 black peppercorns
2 large (black) cardamom
2 Tbsp. Shan Pilao/Biryani Mix
3 dried red chilies, deseeded and soaked in water
2-3 jalapeno peppers, sliced in rounds
1 tsp. ghee
¼ tsp. sugar

Grind garam masala powder:
1 star anise
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves

1. Blanch quartered onions in 1 cup water, drain (reserving liquid) and puree in a blender.
2. Mix yogurt with white pepper powder, onion-ginger-garlic pastes and ½ the sliced jalapeno peppers.
3. Marinate fish pieces in 1 Tbsp. oil, salt and yogurt mixture for an hour.
4. Keep the liquid in which onions were blanched on a simmer, and add peppercorns, black cardamom and Shan biryani mix.
5. Heat oil in a pan over high heat and sizzle cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and half the garam masala powder.
6. Stir in the onion and garlic slices.
7. When the onions turn translucent, lower heat to medium-low and add fish pieces along with all the marinade.
8. Strain the simmering liquid and soaked red chilies over the fish, stir gently, cover and simmer on medium-low heat until oil resurfaces.
9. Adjust salt to taste, add sugar and stir.
10. Remove from heat and garnish with ghee, remaining garam masala powder and sliced hot peppers.

Baby Spinach with Eggplant

Begun Diye Palang Shaak
1 pkg. baby spinach greens
2 Oriental eggplants, chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp. oil
½ tsp. Shah Jeera or cumin seeds
1 tej pata (bay leaf)
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
¼ tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced

1. Cut eggplants into bite-size pieces, toss with salt and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan over high heat, add bay leaf and cumin seeds.
3. When cumin seeds sputter, add diced peppers, onions and garlic & stir-fry until onions turn translucent.
4. Add eggplant pieces and fry until slightly browned.
5. Add baby spinach, stir and cook until spinach wilts then add sugar and adjust salt to taste.
6. Remove from heat and garnish with ghee and sliced peppers.
Serve with steamed Basmati rice or tortillas.

Simple Chicken Rezaila

1 lb. chicken pieces
1 (6 oz.) tub Greek yogurt
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
2 medium onions, quartered, blanched & pureed
1 tsp. white pepper powder
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
½ tsp. Shah Jeera or cumin seeds
Salt to taste
¼ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ghee
Deep fried onions

Grind to a powder:
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 star anise

1. Marinate chicken pieces for 1 hour in 1 Tbsp. oil, onion, ginger, garlic pastes, diced jalapeno peppers, white pepper powder, salt and yogurt.
2. Heat oil over high heat and stir-fry cinnamon stick, star anise and cumin seeds.
3. Turn heat down to medium-low and add marinated chicken to the pan.
4. Stir gently, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.
5. Add ground garam masala powder, sugar, salt to taste and remove from heat.
6. Garnish with ghee and fried onions; serve with steamed rice, paratha or chapatis.

Note: Don't let the gravy come to a boil. The chicken must be cooked on low heat so that the yogurt does not separate.

Lentils with Salad Shrimp

1 cup urad dal, washed and soaked in water for 1/2 hour
1 lb. salad shrimp
1/2 pkg. frozen peas
4 Tbsp. oil
1/4 tsp. Shah Jeera or cumin seeds
1 tej pata (bay leaf)
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
2 tsp. ginger paste
salt to taste & a pinch of turmeric
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ghee
handful cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced

1. Cook lentils with salt and a pinch of turmeric and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan over high heat, sputter cumin seeds, bay leaf, coriander & cumin powders.
3. Add ginger paste and peppers and stir-fry until oil resurfaces.
4. Add shrimp to pan along with peas, stir-fry for a few minutes, then add cooked dal to the pan.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low, add sugar, adjust salt, cover and cook dal for a few minutes.
6. Remove from heat, garnish with ghee, cilantro and sliced peppers.

Eggplant with Eggs - Deem Begun II

An adaptation of Rene's Deem Begun I, was made with Oriental eggplant which are long and slender. I peeled most the skin off because I didn't want it to be dark in colour. The skins were chopped up and added to the Shukto made on the same day. Also added green chillies to the mashed eggplants which was cooked until dry and started pulling away from the sides of the pan. It was delicious!

4-5 Oriental eggplants, partially peeled, diced & tossed with 1/2 tsp. salt
2 green chilies, diced
1 large onion, diced
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
salt to taste
2 eggs, well beaten
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add coriander powder, followed by cumin powder and stir.
  3. Add green chilies & onions and stir-fry until onions turn translucent.
  4. Stir in ginger paste, followed by eggplants and cook until eggplants break down. 
  5. Adjust salt to taste, mash everything in the pan and cook until oil resurfaces.
  6. Make a well in the center, fill with remaining oil and scramble the eggs.
  7. Stir eggs into mashed eggplants and continue cooking until it forms a ball and pulls away from the edges of the pan.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish, mounding it in the center.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with cooked rice or tortillas.

Eggplant with Egg - Deem Begun I

Deem Begun I
by Rene Chaudhuri
Boil/steam eggplant which has been cut into 2 lengthwise. Heat oil in pan. Add coriander, and then cumin powder to the oil. Then some ginger paste, stir for a few minutes, then add the mashed eggplant, and keep stirring over medium heat until the oil separates. Add some garam masala powder and then 2 well-beaten eggs. Continue stirring until all the egg is absorbed and the whole reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with cilantro.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Stir Fried Bitter Melon with 5 Vegetables - Shukto

2 Chinese bitter melons or 3 ucchay, deseeded and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
1 daikon radish, peeled and chopped
2 Oriental eggplants, chopped and tossed with salt

4 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. radhuni (wild celery seeds)
2 tej pata (bay leaves)
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. roasted panch phoron powder (Bengali 5-Spice)
sliced green chillies
1/4 tsp. sugar


  1. Heat oil in a pan and sputter radhuni and tej pata.
  2. Add radish, sweet & russet potatoes, salt and ginger paste.
  3. Stir well and cook over medium heat until vegetables are partly cooked.
  4. Add karela and salted eggplant, stir well, cover and cook until vegetables are soft.
  5. Make a slurry with the flour and milk. 
  6. Add sugar & green chilies to vegetables along with the slurry and stir.
  7. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and garnish with ghee and panch phoron powder.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Burmese Cool & Refreshing Coconut Beverage - Moh Let Saung

The Ingredients
Moh Let Saung

Moh Let Saung is a light, cool and refreshing beverage comprising coconut milk sweetened with Maple Syrup (in place of liquefied jaggery/gur), tapioca pearls, bits of coconut jello (Kyauk Kyaw) and coconut strings. It’s the perfect beverage for a hot and humid day.

I was so excited to see Silk Pure Coconut Milk among the milk alternatives in the dairy aisle of the grocery store and Moh Let Saung jumped to the forefront of my mind.  All kinds of delightful tid-bits can be added to this beverage, such as rehydrated basil seeds, white tapioca pearls, bean thread vermicelli and bits of jello.

Burmese Htamin Let Thoke - Rice & Noodle Hand-Mixed Salad

A rainbow salad of small quantities of left-overs
with rice, noodles, fish & tamarind sauces as
the main ingredients

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Burmese Squash Cooked with Red Lentils

Select light green chayote squash which indicate they're still young and sweet. Chayote squash is also known as ‘Go Rar Kha Thee’ in Burmese and may be replaced with zucchini or bottle gourd.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Spicy Shrimp Balls Cooked with Cilantro Stems

Quick Stir-Fried Shrimp Balls 
Cooked in the Burmese Style

Burmese Sour & Spicy Meatball Stew

Burmese Dry Balachaung - Dried Shrimp Condiment

Dry Balachaung

Balachaung on Buttered Toast
My all-time favourite snack
This popular condiment is served as a part of any Burmese meal.  It imparts an "umami" flavour when sprinkled over buttered toast, plain rice & butter, lentils, et al. 

Make sure to open all the doors and windows in your home to expel the aroma of roasting dried shrimp, which to me is wonderful but to those who didn't grow up with it, is abhorrent!