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May 31, 2013 02:36 PM

Cookbook of the Month June 2013: BURMA Condiments & Sauces, Rice, Noodles, Sweet Treats

We've chosen BURMA: RIVERS OF FLAVOR for June.

This is the reporting thread for the final four chapters of the book.

Condiments and sauces, p199
Mostly Rice, p223
Noodles, p247
Sweet Treats, p275

Please remember that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

As always, have fun, and I look forward to hearing your reports.

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  1. The seafood noodle stir fry is on the menu for a bit later this week. My first attempt at cooking squid and I am super excited.

    2 Replies
    1. re: delys77

      Cool! Keep in mind when cooking squid that you have to cook it really fast or really slow ... anything in between and you have rubber! So keep your eye on your cook times and don't let it go too long....

      1. re: Westminstress

        Thanks Westminstress. That is why I have always been reticent, but I am a big fan of squid in many different Asian preparations so I figured it was time to try my hand at it.

    2. Seafood Noodle Stir Fry Pg. 272

      This was a big winner at our house. My partner loves noodles, and while I indulge sometimes I am more of a steamed rice person myself. I was quite excited prepping all my ingredients because it has been a long while since I have cooked a protein that was new to me, and in this case we both love squid but I've never made it at home.

      I made a few modifications, but generally followed the spirit of the recipe. I did my mise en place because the stir frying would require all the bits and pieces to be ready. You start by sauteeing some shallots in oil until they are partially crisped then you add a good bit of garlic. Frying it off for a few minutes and then reserving the lot as a garnish for later. Next Ms. Duguid has you add some turmeric, shrimp paste, and shallots to the oil and saute for a moment. My partner came home just as the shrimp paste went in and he remarked that dinner smelt interesting, which usually means bad for him. I perceveared and added the sliced calamari and sauteed briefly, they curled just a tiny bit and took on a beautiful yellow tinge from the turmeric, then in go the musself and the shrimp. In my case I am not a big fan of shucking so I simply steamed the mussels separately and added them at the very end of the seafood cooking process.

      Next you toss in the fermented bean paste (miso in my case) and a bit of water and simmer for just a minute or so. Pour out the contents of the wok into a bowl to reserve your beautiful yellow, umami, seafood mixture, and then wipe out the wok.

      She has you soak your rice noodles for about 10 minutes, I boiled mine according to the package directions and left them a bit al dente. Add some sprouts to your oiled wok and toss for a few moments. Once the noodles are drained they go into the wok with salt and some oyster sauce. Toss for a few minutes then add the chinese celery leaves (or cilantro) and add your seafood mixture to heat through. Finally top with the shallot and garlic garnish and you are good to go.

      All in all this took about 30 minutes including prep and the resulting dish had a lovely savoury flavour that wasn't fishy at all. There were briney elements of the sea and toothsome sea creatures, but no off putting intense fish flavour. The noodles had a great texture and the shrimp and squid were perfectly cooked with the timing she suggested. I also loved the grassy bite from the chinese celery and the indulgent fried shallots and garlic were a great capper.

      I did find that there were too many sprouts for our taste so I would cut back a little. I also enjoyed the squid so much I would likely double it as well as the mussels (which pretty much disappeared into the dish there were so few of them). Overall this was easy and definitely satisfied our noodle craving, along with the added bonus of healthy and yummy seafood.

      Wow just realised how long this post is, sorry for being so verbose.

      13 Replies
      1. re: delys77

        No apologies needed, this is a great review! And that picture is lovely. I guess this dish needs to be added to The List...

        1. re: Allegra_K

          Thanks Allegra.

          I get to typing and usually only realize the length when I've clicked reply, ha ha.

        2. re: delys77

          Lovely report--and the dish looks and sounds delectable. I'll now be adding it to my list.

          1. re: delys77

            Don't be sorry, please! Great, and very useful, post.

            Today I'm making the version of this dish that is down in the corner of the second page, using less seafood (shrimp only, in my case), and strips of omelet. I don't have shrimp paste, so if you're around can you weigh in on a substitute? I have some dried shrimp, I have anchovies, or I could just leave it out. What do you, or anyone else, think?

              1. re: BigSal

                Oh good, thanks. I was thinking the recipe already had fish sauce in it, but it doesn't. (I was thinking of the salad ingredients.) That's what I'll use.

                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  Fish sauce, dried shrimp powder, mashed salt cured anchovies (probably not the olive oil cured one though) would all work. ND also mentions miso (pg 344 of the glossary), which makes sense thinking about it.

              2. re: L.Nightshade

                Sorry LN, I just saw this now. Yes I think fish sauce would surely do the trick.

              3. re: delys77

                Seafood Noodles with Egg, page 273 (and 272).
                I've appended this post to the Seafood Noodle Stir Fry, as the Seafood Noodles with Egg is just a variation note at the end of that recipe. I chose to use only cut up prawns, and the strips of omelet, as we had chicken as our main course, and this as a side.

                Delys describes the recipe in wonderful detail above, I have made only a few alterations. I made a very thin omelet, and cut it into strips, added that in near the end, as described in the note. In addition to the mung sprouts, I added a handful of sunflower sprouts, and a couple handfuls of sliced spinach. These were added just because they needed to get used! I did not have shrimp paste, so I mashed up a salt-cured anchovy in a little fish sauce. delys had suggested fish sauce, and qian ning had suggested either anchovy or fish sauce as a replacement, so I used a little of both. I did have, and used, doenjang, which was such a flavorful addition. Everything else was as written in the seafood recipe. I served it with lime wedges and chile oil.

                This was a wonderful, complexly flavored dish. The 3/4 pound of dried rice noodles makes a huge amount, for which I'm thankful for today, as it will be dinner again.

                  1. Fried Rice with Shallots, p. 226

                    I played around with this quite a bit, but I'll report anyway. Why not? The recipe calls for English peas as an optional ingredient, but I used asparagus instead, and changed the cooking order to allow for the longer time required by the asparagus. I also decided that I wanted a little more flavor than what 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric will provide, so I added an additional teaspoon or more of curry powder.

                    This goes together very quickly in the wok.The recipe has you heat oil, add turmeric, and then fry the shallots. I fried the shallots first, then added the turmeric and curry powder. The recipe would have you add the rice next, but I added my asparagus (cut into small pieces), and stir-fried it for a bit to get it cooked, then added the rice. The recipe would have you add the salt and peas (if using, I wasn't). The dish is finished with some additional fried shallots, and garnished with lime wedges (optional).

                    She suggests this as a breakfast rice, which I will surely do sometime as I like fried rice for breakfast. As a side dish with dinner, I wanted a bit more flavor, so that was the reason for the spice addition. We enjoyed this, and I would make variations of it again. Sorry I can't give a more accurate report, but at least I was "inspired" by the recipe in the book.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MelMM

                      Fried Rice with Shallots, p. 226

                      Had leftover rice so decided to try this (I realized I have never made fried rice before--why???). Incredibly easy and absolutely delicious, this accompanied our grilled chicken and long-bean salad last night.

                      I followed the recipe exactly as written and would make it again in a heartbeat; will also try variations--love MelMM's sub of asparagus and can think of lots of other desirable add-ins.

                      1. re: MelMM

                        Fried Rice with Shallots, p. 226


                        We made the recipe as written. It was quite simple to put together. Since the rice was already cooked and I had already had fried shallots, the only prep was slicing the shallots. We served this with a fried egg, extra fried shallots (these are so addicting) and lime wedges. This made for a nice, but not great dinner. If I were to make another fried rice dish from NG, I'd choose Thai Fried Rice from Seductions of Rice.

                        1. re: MelMM

                          Fried Rice with Shallots, Pg. 226

                          My Sunday afternoon on a hot Summer day was spent shelling peas on the porch and slicing shallots for dinner. Lots and Lots of shallots, wonderfully fresh and sweet as candy podded peas.

                          For all the recipes this month I have increased the amount of turmeric to 1/2 and sometimes 3/4 t. It smells so aromatic as it heats in the hot oil and adds a subtle funky flavor that we love. We used jasmine rice and followed the recipe exactly.

                          Loved the addition of peas and the lime wedges brightened the remarkable freshness of the ingredients. The finished fried rice was delicious and it's something I will definitely make again.

                        2. Perfumed Coconut Rice, p.237

                          I served this with Golden Egg Curry, and the two went together beautifully.

                          This rice recipe is definitely "perfumed", rather than "flavored", as the clove, cinnamon & coconut didn't really overpower the rice at all. The only taste of sweetness, in fact, came from bites of the sauteed shallot. I only made 1/2 recipe, (didn't rinse the jasmine rice ahead of time), and trusted that I had enough liquid by skipping the index finger in the water test. I obviously needed to use one clove for the 1/2 recipe but it wasn't noticeable. I've made coconut rice in the past that called for sauteeing minced garlic, ginger & onion together with the rice, then using chicken stock for the liquid instead of water, so this recipe does lend itself to many variations. But it's delicious as is, too, and would compliment many dishes in the cookbook (actually wish I had made it to go with my Kachin Pounded Beef).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lesliej

                            Perfumed Coconut Rice, p. 237

                            I made this coconut rice to go with the lemongrass fish, and the two went well together. This rice has a lovely mild flavor and a very pretty yellow color from the turmeric (of which I used a bit extra). I made a half recipe, which was plenty! I followed the cooking directions, didn't add extra water after the index finger test (which is how I normally do it). Checked the rice about 5 minutes before dinner and it was dry and crunchy. I added about 1/2 cup more water and put it on low heat for another 5 minutes, after which it was perfect. I do find that I have to add extra liquid when I make coconut rice as the rice doesn't seem to absorb the coconut milk as easily as it does water. So a bit of trial and error was needed, but overall, this is a nice rice dish if you are looking to add a little something special to your Burmese dinner.

                          2. street-side seductions, pg. 294

                            This was a second attempt making these. The first try included an improperly seasoned pan, an at the time new to us book, a house full of company, and no back up plan for dessert. In other words recipe for disaster. Having finally recovered from the trauma, time to try again.

                            First the pan, years ago in an Indian grocery store, we picked up a pan that looks just like the one in the book. Problem was we didn't have a recipe for these sweets, and we didn't know how to season the pan. I think I am finally making some progress in getting the pan in proper condition (it does not like water at all), although a good non-stick saute pan with a lid would probably be easier; but the recipe is still giving me a bit of trouble, but getting closer.

                            So the batter, rice & AP flour mixed with water, salt, sugar (I subbed palm sugar--will not do that again, white sugar in the batter next time, for, fingers crossed, better browning), baking soda (I measured a tad heavy, a tad scant would have been a much better idea). Rest for 30 minutes.

                            The filling, coconut milk, sugar (again palm sugar in my case-- here in the filling I would use palm sugar again), rice flour, and more (!) baking soda, whisked until smooth.

                            Oil pan, add batter, swirl, cover pan, cook for a half minute, uncover, add filling, recover pan and cook for a minute (mine needed more like 2 minutes) until the filling sets.

                            OK, so it worked, which was a big improvement over the last attempt, but there was too much baking soda. so I tried making some with plain coconut milk rather than the mixture--no go, it won't thicken. then I tried some coconut milk mixed with just a little bit of the batter and a little extra palm sugar--much better, this helped reduce my excess baking soda issue and the coconut milk still set nicely. In the future I'll either skip or greatly reduce the baking soda in the filling, but some thickener is essential, either rice flour or batter.

                            As you can see from the pictures, still not ready to open up my own stall, but at least these were edible.