Monday, February 23, 2015

Mohinga: the national dish of Myanmar

Mohinga is Myanmar’s national dish; it’s a sour and hot catfish stew that is thickened with ground Burmese yellow beans.

Restaurants and roadside stalls in Myanmar have simmering pots of Mohinga broth spiced with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, lime, and catfish. This broth is spooned over a bowl of rice noodles and finished with a slew of garnishes such as cilantro, crushed red chilies, sliced fresh green beans and crispy fried bean pancakes.

I’ll admit mohinga quickly became a dirty pleasure; I ate at least one bowl a day. It’s a breakfast staple which is available all day long. Most street stands in Yangon sell it for 300 Kyet for a bowl, setting you back a firm $0.29. The price is immaterial; I love mohinga, and am currently missing it so much I need to find a way to make it in the US! I’ll be publishing a recipe once I get it perfected. Obviously the hardest part is going to be sourcing burmese yellow beans, banana tree trunk and finding a way to make the crispy fried bean pancakes.

Mohinga doesn't have a very fishy flavor, since they use fresh catfish to make the broth it gives it a light umami flavor without being cloying. The lemongrass, lime and ginger garlic make the broth similar to tom yum flavor, but the thickening yellow beans give it a distinctive body and richness that turns it into a stew. There is also stewed banana tree bark which gives an interesting floral aroma to the broth and a satisfying crunch.

That's banana tree trunk
Going to Myanmar, or even visiting a Burmese restaurant, without eating a bowl of mohinga is an affront against more then 2000 years of history.


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