Thursday, June 30, 2016

How to make Burmese curry noodle with only two spices

Yum


I never understand why Westerners practically freak out and cower at the corner at the thought of throwing a spontaneous dinner, brunch, or BBQ party.  As far as I am concerned, it is practically me hanging out with my friends and family at the comfort my place with the food I like to eat. There is no expectation from them (well, at least I hope) to be impressed with my cooking skills. After all, I am not a chef and should not aspire to be one. The get-togethers are meant to be and should be about doing things that I normally do by myself, like ignoring the world over Instagram, being nosy about other people’s life or laughing maniacally over cute Internet cat videos, except that this time with friends and families. So, I cook accordingly to fit that mission.
Mandalay mote thi




When I have many people coming over, I always go for the type of food that requires minimal cooking, and maximal DIY activity. The reasons are simple. First, I absolutely hate the idea of having to go back and forth between the kitchen and dining room during eating. With the DIY-type of food, if I prepare most things in advance, I just have to lay plates and bowls of food like a buffet style, and my friends can help themselves. This way of serving not only makes the food look more abundant, but also allows me actually enjoys the dinner. Second, I don’t and should not have to lose hair over individual’s taste preferences. I usually make the dish less salty or spicy than I normally would, and encourage those who like bold flavors to amp up with the ample condiments (sometimes, to the point of their annoyance). Lastly, people love playing their food. I guess, Charles Darwin was right – we do share a common ancestry with monkeys. There is something primeval about assembling our own food, and consequently, your friends will feel more liberated and at ease instantly.

DIY Burmese curry noodle, mandalay mote thi

This Burmese curry noodle (called “Mandalay mote thi” in Burmese) is a quintessential get-together food. Originally hailed from the central Myanmar, the dish is the Burmese version of spaghetti bolognaises. Except that, this dish is a lot more straightforward to put together but a still complete delight to eat. Also, don’t get overwhelmed by the word “curry”, because the dish actually requires only turmeric and paprika, without any of those laborious steps, such as toasting and grinding spices, that a typical Indian curry often calls for. The meat curry sauce in this recipe is as simple as plunging things together and letting the flavors meld together under low heat.

Despite simplicity, the dish allows rooms for complexity, when combined with several condiments. The chickpea flour, the most indispensible ingredient in this recipe, not only acts as a binder but also lends subtle nuttiness to the dish. It is one of those ingredients that make you say, “wow, I have never tasted anything like this before”. Bean sprouts and onion slices add textural complement to the slurpy noodle strands. The dish is a bursting party of salty, spicy yet comforting at the same time. In my opinion, the most perfect vehicle for this bold sauce is thin, smooth angel hair pasta, which allows maximum sauce to noodle ratio. I want every strand of the noodles to be generously doused in the sauce, and thicker noodles will just fail at that.

Of course, finally, enjoy the dish.  I hope this dish somehow crawl its way into your dinner party repertoire. And, always remember, if you feel guilty for using checking your phone all the time around your friends, are they really your friends?

Mandalay mote thi




Ingredients for the meat sauce

1 lbs. of boneless chicken thigh (or ground chicken)
2 teaspoons of turmeric
2 teaspoons of paprika
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 plum tomato (sliced roughly)
1 big white onion (minced)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tablespoon of tomato paste
½ cup of oil
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce (substitute with soy sauce)
Salt to taste


Instructions

In a food processor, put the chicken cutlets along with 1 teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of salt. Pulse until the mixture is a chunky paste. If you do not have a food processor, but have endless patience, you can choose to do with hands. Otherwise, use store-bought ground chicken. However, please keep in mind that your meat sauce may not achieve the desired textural bite and fatty unctuousness with the store-bought minced chicken breast.

Heat up the oil in a medium heat. Plunge in minced onions, tomato slices and garlic, sprinkle a dash of salt and cook until the bits are softened (about 5 minutes). Add in one teaspoon of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of paprika and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne powder. Mixed well, and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. Your kitchen should smell like an exotic kitchen from a faraway land at this point.

Fold in your chicken mixture, making sure that you break up any big meaty lumps. Put in water, and tomato paste. Stir well, cover and let the sauce simmer for about 35 minutes under medium low heat. Be sure to stir and check occasionally to see if there is too much or too little water.

The dish is ready, when oil droplets start to appear on top of water. If not, uncover and let the sauce simmer until enough water evaporates so that you start to see the oil droplets. The opposite side of the spectrum is where you don’t have enough water. You will generally see chicken bits just sitting in a pool of hot oil, at this point.  You can easily rectify this by putting water little by little until lake of oil turns into droplets floating.

Lastly, put in sugar and fish sauce. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

This dish is best if made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the fridge so the flavors deepen.  Heat it up into piping hot right before serving.


Topping and noodle suggestions

Angel hair pasta
Blanched bean sprouts
Thinly sliced white onions (see the notes below)
Cilantro (chopped)
Fried chili

Assembly

The assembly should be adjusted according to one’s taste. But, here is how I like mine. For every 2 oz. of pasta, I use about 2 tablespoons of the meat sauce, 1 teaspoon of toasted chickpea flour, 1 tablespoon each of bean sprouts, onion and cilantro, followed by a generous topping of boiled egg slices.


Notes

Be sure to season every layer for maximal flavor.
In order to get rid of acridity from raw onion slices, rinse in cold water well, and steep in cold water at least for 30 minutes.






print recipe

Burmese Curry Noodle (Meat Sauce)
This Burmese curry noodle, requiring only two spices, can be made a day in ahead, making it perfect for dinner party.
Ingredients
  • 1 lbs. Boneless chicken thigh
  • 2 teaspoons Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Plum tomato
  • 1 large (minced) White onion
  • 2 cloves (minced) Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Oil
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Fish sauce
  • To taste Salt
Instructions
In a food processor, put the chicken cutlets along with 1 teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of salt. Pulse until the mixture is a chunky paste. If you do not have a food processor, but have endless patience, you can choose to do with hand. Otherwise, use store-bought ground chicken. However, please keep in mind that your meat sauce may not achieve the desired textural bite and fatty unctuousness with the store-bought minced chicken breast.Heat up the oil in a medium heat. Plunge in minced onions, tomato slices and garlic, sprinkle a dash of salt and cook until the bits are softened (about 5 minutes). Add in one teaspoon of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of paprika and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne powder. Mixed well, and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. Your kitchen should smell like an exotic kitchen from a faraway land at this point.Fold in your chicken mixture, making sure that you break up any big meaty lumps. Put in water, and tomato paste. Stir well, cover and let the sauce simmer for about 35 minutes under medium low heat. Be sure to stir and check occasionally to see if there is too much or too little water.The dish is ready, when oil droplets start to appear on top of water. If not, uncover and let the sauce simmer until enough water evaporates so that you start to see the oil droplets. The opposite side of the spectrum is where you don’t have enough water. You will generally see chicken bits just sitting in a pool of hot oil, at this point.  You can easily rectify this by putting water little by little until lake of oil turns into droplets floating.Lastly, put in sugar and fish sauce. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.This dish is best if made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the fridge so the flavors deepen.  Heat it up into piping hot right before serving.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6 servings



If you like this post, also check out:

Burmese fish soup noodle - mohinga




27 comments:

  1. I love this ! This is different with Mandalay meeshay right ? I love meeshay too! Hey..you should try embed the stop motion from Instagram (fit bigger in your blog) ;) Just a suggestion though. Nothing wrong with YouTube

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    1. Yes, it is different from Mandalay meeshay, which uses fermented bean paste. Wow, I am glad that you know about Burmese cuisines. That's a good idea to embed the stop motion from Instagram. I will definitely try it.

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  2. This looks SO GOOD! I can't wait to give it a try! The pictures are making my mouth water.

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    1. Thank you. Please let me know how it turns out. :D

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  3. This sounds amazing, and seems to be within my cooking skill set. Might have to give this one a try! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes, definitely give this a try. Let me know how it turns out. :)

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  4. Sounds awesome!!!! LOVE IT. Can;t wait to give it a try.

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    1. Thank you Taylor. Yes, please give this recipe a go.

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  5. Replies
    1. This dish is my favorite Burmese dish :D You should try it.

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  6. This looks like a fun recipe .. will try it soon :D Thanks !!

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    1. Please let me know how it turns out. :D

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  7. Passing this on to my husband who loves his curries!

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  8. This is so interesting. I've always wanted to try making curry. I think I'm going to have to give this a try!

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    1. This recipe is very easy. Please give it a go.

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  9. This looks so yam, i really love noodles with eggs

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting my blog Yuliya

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  10. I love burmese food. I'd likely switch it up a bit to make it vegan!

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    1. Oh wow..please let me know if the vegan-version works.

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  11. Can't wait to try this, I love everything that includes noodles :D Also your photos are gorgeous!

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  12. Wow this looks so yummy! Your photography is amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for visiting Carmen :D

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  13. Great food and great people at the seattle venues with awesome styling and interior. Also a great place for cheap happy hour drinks. However, the downstairs beer selection is about as standard as it can be while upstairs can be a bit more creative.

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