Shan Noodles

Shan noodles can be served over a bed of rice noodles or served with broth.

1 lb chicken (or pork), chopped
8 oz. dried Shan noodles (rice noodles)
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
8 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder (optional)
8 tablespoons peanuts, crushed
2 scallions, chopped (for garnishing)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place the dried noodles in a large bowl of cold water.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off the heat, and place the dried rice noodles.

Heat oil in a large wok. Fry the onions, garlic and ginger for 6 to 8 minutes.

Add chili powder and continue to stir fry for minute.
Add the chopped chicken (or pork), tomatoes, tomato paste, and stir well. Add soy sauce and sugar and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes until all tomatoes are crushed.

Put a handful of noodles into a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of chicken curry, crushed peanuts and adjust with soy sauce to taste. Add a few spring onions. Serve immediately with pickled mustard greens (optional).

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Burmese Golden Curry

5 duck eggs (or large chicken eggs)
6 tablespoons peanut oil
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 onions, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 thai chilis, thinly sliced (optional)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (1/2 inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tomatoes, puréed in food processor
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1/2 bunch cilantro , chopped
Salt

Place the duck eggs in a pot, cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, remove the pot from the heat and let stand 12 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot and peel them under cold water.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium/high heat. Add the shallots and fry for about 6 to 8 minutes or until light brown. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
Add the duck eggs into the hot oil, then lower the heat. Fry them for 4 minutes, regularly turning them to brown them all around. Take them out of the pan and transfer them to a plate.
Add the onions, turmeric, paprika, chili, garlic and ginger to the pan and fry for a 5 minutes, then stir in the puréed tomatoes, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce and brown sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes to reduce.

Cut the eggs in half and carefully place them back into the pan. Pour some of the mixture over the eggs, making sure that they are coated generously and simmer for another 2 minutes.

Finish by sprinkling the fried shallots and roughly chopped cilantro on top of the eggs.

Khao Suey (Burmese Curry Noodle Soup)

For the curry base

2 tablespoons oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken, cubed
2 teaspoons powdered coriander
1 teaspoon powdered cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1/2 cup puréed tomatoes (optional)
2 tablespoons tamari
3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup coconut milk
1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped cauliflower
6 ounces rice noodles (medium thickness), preferably fresh
1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To garnish

1/4 cup oil for frying
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Sliced jalapeno peppers
Sliced scallions
Thinly sliced carrots

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, add the red onion, and cook for about five minutes, until soft and wilted. Keep stirring until the onion begins to turn pale golden at the edges.

Add the finely grated ginger and the garlic and mix well.

Add the chicken, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and red cayenne pepper and mix well. Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes, until no longer pink.

Add in the puréed tomatoes if using and the tamari or soy sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Mix in the broth and the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the zucchini, red bell pepper, and the cauliflower and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add in the noodles and cook until they’re al dente (if using fresh rice noodles, this will only take a couple of minutes).

While the soup is cooking, heat the oil and fry the garlic until crisp and golden. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

Add the thinly sliced shallots to the hot oil and fry until crisp and place in a bowl.

Arrange the remaining garnishes in individual bowls and serve with the noodle soup. Cut the lime, squeeze the juice into the soup, and add in the chopped cilantro. Serve with the garnishes.

Burmese Tomato Salad

250 grams tomatoes (approx. 2-3 medium), cut into bite size chunks
1 shallot, medium, thinly sliced
20 grams garlic, peeled
5 grams green chilis (Thai bird chilis), roughly chopped
15 grams roasted peanuts (Planters work just fine), coarsely crushed. Choose your weapon to crush: mortar and pestle, rolling pin, can of soup.
1-2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced into hair-like shreds
1 handful cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan), toasted. Easily found in Indian stores, Asian stores, or other specialty stores.
2 tablespoons “tep say an lien” or crisp-fried, seasoned tiny shrimp (easily found in Asian stores in the ready to eat snacks aisle)
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
pinches kosher salt to taste

Begin by toasting 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour in a cast iron pan or skillet set on medium heat. Keep stirring every 2 minutes or so. At the 7-8 minute mark, it’ll start to change color and your nose will start to pick up a wonderful, nutty aroma. At this point, stir every 30 seconds or so for an additional 3-4 minutes, until it resembles the color of finely powdered graham crackers. Remove pan off the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container and use any extra in Burmese-style vegetable salads or as a thickener/base in soups and curries.

Next, put garlic and green chilis in a blender and pulse a couple of times to get a chunky mix with easily distinguishable pieces of garlic and chili; at no point should it become a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small wok and cook the garlic-chili blend in it until it turns an even golden brown.
Carefully remove the fried garlic-chili blend gently pressing against the side of the wok as you do, so as to leave most of the oil in the wok. Wait for the wok to cool down a bit.

Next, add a 1/2 tablespoon of toasted chickpea flour into the residual oil in the wok and stir it in to instantly form an emulsified dressing of sort. Follow with tomatoes, shallot, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro and give it a good mix. At this point, you can stick it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to eat.

This salad can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Remember to salt only when ready to eat. After salting, garnish with fried garlic-chili blend, crushed peanuts, and crisp-fried dried shrimp.

Burmese Butter and Lentil Rice

1 1/2 cups raw split-pea lentils
2 1/2 cups raw rice
2 large onions
4 T ghee
4 cardamom pods
2 cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tsp turmeric or 1/16 tsp saffron
1 cup shelled green peas
1 T salt

Wash and soak lentils ahead of time to shorten cooking time (if using corn, boil cobs, then cut off kernels). Boil lentils until halfway done. Wash and drain rice, slice onions.

Heat ghee, add spices and let aroma rise. Add half the sliced onion. When it begins to brown, add turmeric, remaining onion, green peas, lentils and salt. Stir well. If saffron is used, dissolve in 2 T hot water and add to the 4 1/2 cups of water for the rice.

Add rice, mix well, then add 4 1/2 cups water. Cover and cook over high heat. Stir once or twice before it comes to a boil. As water is absorbed, lower heat, shake pot with lid on. Continue to cook very slowly until rice is dry and fluffy, shaking pot once or twice more.

Burmese Beans

2 1/2 cups / 535 grams dried beans, such as pinto, navy, or cannellini
Salt
1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil, plus more for finishing
1 sliced yellow onion
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 1/3 cup)
3 tomatoes, diced
Pinch of chile flakes
2 green onions, sliced (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

Rinse the beans well in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with 2 inches of cool water, and let soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Drain the beans, transfer to a 4- to 6-quart pot, and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.

Remove from the heat, stir in 2 teaspoons salt, and let the beans stand in their cooking liquid for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate them in their cooking liquid and finish the dish the next day). Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid (you’ll have about 4 cups).

In the same pot used to cook the beans, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and cook until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. While cooking, mash the garlic against the side of the pot to break it down.

Stir in the ginger and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and chile flakes and cook until the tomatoes have softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the beans, another teaspoon of salt, and 2 cups of the saved cooking liquid. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the beans achieve a creamy consistency. Taste, adding more salt as desired (beans do need a fair amount, so don’t shy away from the salt if they taste flat). If the beans are too thick, stir in a little more of the cooking water and continue to cook.

Remove from the heat. (At this point, the beans can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat gently before serving.) Drizzle peanut oil on top to serve, if desired. Serve with lime wedges if you want the beans to taste a bit brighter

Burmese Noodle Bowl

2 medium yellow onions
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (belachan)
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 14 oz can coconut milk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 packet rice noodles
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced and fried to a crisp
3 eggs, boiled and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine
2 limes, quartered

Peel and chop the onions and garlic cloves into chunks. The size doesn’t matter as they are to be ground.

Place the onions, garlic, ginger, shrimp paste, and water in a blender or food processor. Pulse well till you have a smooth paste.

Clean and chop the chicken into bite size pieces. Wash well and drain.

Heat canola and sesame oils in a Dutch oven. Add the onion paste and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes to get the rawness out of the onions.

Add turmeric and chili powder. Stir to incorporate them into onion mix.

The chicken goes in next. Sauté the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring well to coat with spice mixture.

Add coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Stir well and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the flame, and let the soup come to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fill a large, deep saucepan with water and bring to a boil on a high flame. Add rice noodles to the boiling water. Take the saucepan off the heat and let rice noodles steep in water for 20 minutes. Drain well and keep aside.

Assemble the soup with a large helping of rice noodles in a soup bowl. Top with ladlefuls of soup. The noodles should swim in coconut broth.

Add pieces of chicken. Garnish with fried shallots, chopped egg, a sprinkling of chili powder, some cilantro, and a large squirt of lime juice.

Burmese Red Chili Oil

1 cup packed dried red chiles, soaked in lukewarm water for 20 minutes
1 cup peanut oil

Drain the chiles and remove and discard the stems. Put the chiles in a food processor and process to a coarse paste.

Pour the oil into a nonreactive pan and set over medium heat. Add the chile paste and bring to a bubbling boil, then remove from the heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature.

You can store the oil with the chiles in it, but in Burma the oil often is served on its own. For clear oil, drain the oil through a sieve into a clean, dry glass jar and seal with the lid. Store away from heat and light. You can keep the chiles in another glass jar for a spicy condiment, or discard them.

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Burmese Tomato Chutney

1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup hot water
About 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Salt
3 dried red chiles, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained
Scant 1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (about 3 cups), or 3 cups crushed canned tomatoes, preferably unseasoned
1/4 cup Dried Shrimp Powder
3 or 4 green cayenne chiles, seeded and cut lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips each
About 1 tablespoon fish sauce, to taste
About 2 tablespoons chopped coriander

Place the tamarind pulp in a small bowl, add the hot water, and let soak for 10 minutes.
Mash the tamarind with a fork to separate the seeds and fibers from the pulp. Press the tamarind through a sieve set over a bowl, using the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible from the pulp. Set the tamarind liquid aside; discard the pulp.

If you have a mortar, pound the shallots and garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then pound the chiles to a paste. Alternatively, mince the shallots and garlic to a paste with the salt, then mince the chiles. Set aside.

Place a wide heavy skillet or heavy pot or a wok over medium heat. Add the oil and turmeric and stir, then add the shallots and garlic and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the reserved chiles and shrimp paste and stir briefly to blend. Add the tamarind liquid and tomatoes. Stir well, bring to a boil, then lower the heat slightly and cook at a strong simmer until the tomatoes are softened and a little thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp powder and cayenne chiles and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the chiles are softened. Add the fish sauce, then taste and adjust the seasonings if you wish.

Turn out into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stored in a well-sealed glass jar in the refrigerator, the chutney will keep for 4 days.

Burmese Braised Chicken in Coconut Milk

For the soup:

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon dried turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed
2 cloves garlic
1-inch piece peeled ginger
1 peeled shallot
1 dried chile, on the hot side (I like de árbol)
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil or a neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed
1 cup cubed sweet potato
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 quartered

Salt, to taste Cut the chicken thighs into about 1-inch pieces and marinate overnight with the dried ginger, turmeric, coriander, and 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. If you forget, simply toss the chicken pieces with the spices before you start cooking.

In a food processor, mince the garlic, ginger, shallot, dried chile, and the roots and/or stems of the bunch of cilantro.

In the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. Then add the cubed sweet potato. Fry until golden brown on at least 2 sides of each cube. Scoop out of the pan, leaving the oil, and set aside. Add the chicken pieces (a few at a time so you can brown them without having them cool the pan down) and let them begin to brown. Season with a pinch of salt.

When they are mostly browned, add the minced shallot-ginger-garlic-cilantro stem mixture and let cook out a little.

Add a couple tablespoons of the chicken stock and let reduce until the mixture is soft and cooked.

Add the rest of the chicken stock and the reserved sweet potatoes and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile use the method below to fry the crispy shallots (this can also be done as much as a week ahead of time, as the shallots will keep in a closed container at room temperature for a week at least).

Simmer the soup for about half an hour, until the chicken and sweet potatoes are close to tender.

Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, and coconut milk and bring up to a simmer.

Stir in a quarter cup of cilantro leaves and taste for salt.

Serve garnished with the crispy shallots, a couple of sprigs of raw cilantro, and the lime wedges

For the crispy shallot topping:

1 peeled shallot, sliced thinly
1 cup neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots and stir frequently. As the oil continues to heat, the shallots will start to color. When they get to golden brown, scoop them out of the oil and drain on a paper towel. You want to pull them out of the oil a little before dark brown, as they’ll continue to cook and crisp up on the paper towel.

Baya Kyaw (Burmese Gram Fritters)

250g dried yellow split peas, soaked overnight
1 medium onion, finely chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
peanut oil for deep frying

First prepare the onion, chilli and coriander by chopping them finely, then leave on one side.

Drain the peas and blitz half in a food processor to a coarse consistency, then tip into a bowl. Blitz the remaining half to a smooth paste, adding a little water (no more than 1 tablespoon) to help it along. Mix the two batches together. This will give the fritters a good texture and will stop them splitting during the frying process.

Mix in the chopped onion, chilli, coriander, spices and salt. Make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Heat enough oil in a saucepan to deep fry (never fill the pan more than halfway). Scoop a teaspoon of the mixture and work with another teaspoon to form a bite-sized oval shape. Gently drop the fritters one by one into the oil. Deep fry in batches of 6 to 8 fritters on moderate heat. After 2-4 minutes they will turn golden brown.

5Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. They are best served warm with sour chilli or tamarind dip.

Burmese Chicken Salad

200 grams cooked chicken (poached or roasted)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 hot chiles, like jalapeños, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 fresh shallots, thinly sliced
3 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fried shallots

Salt and pepper, to taste Shred the chicken meat using hands or forks. Place the chicken and all of the other ingredients in a mixing bowl and gently toss. Season to taste, keeping in mind that the fish sauce itself is rather salty.

Burmese Cabbage Salad

Generous 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 red or green cayenne chile, seeded and minced, to taste, or substitute a milder chile such as a jalapeño or a Hungarian wax pepper
About 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
About 2 cups grated or very thinly sliced Savoy, green, or Napa cabbage

Combine the shallots, chile, fish sauce or salt, and lime juice in a medium bowl and toss. Set aside for 10 minutes to half an hour.

Add the shredded cabbage and toss well. Taste for seasoning, and sprinkle on more fish sauce or salt if you wish.”

Burmese Tomato Chutney

1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup hot water
About 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Salt
3 dried red chiles, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained
Scant 1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (about 3 cups), or 3 cups crushed canned tomatoes, preferably unseasoned
1/4 cup Dried Shrimp Powder
3 or 4 green cayenne chiles, seeded and cut lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips each
About 1 tablespoon fish sauce, to taste
About 2 tablespoons chopped coriander

Place the tamarind pulp in a small bowl, add the hot water, and let soak for 10 minutes.
Mash the tamarind with a fork to separate the seeds and fibers from the pulp. Press the tamarind through a sieve set over a bowl, using the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible from the pulp. Set the tamarind liquid aside; discard the pulp.

If you have a mortar, pound the shallots and garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then pound the chiles to a paste. Alternatively, mince the shallots and garlic to a paste with the salt, then mince the chiles. Set aside.

Place a wide heavy skillet or heavy pot or a wok over medium heat. Add the oil and turmeric and stir, then add the shallots and garlic and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the reserved chiles and shrimp paste and stir briefly to blend. Add the tamarind liquid and tomatoes. Stir well, bring to a boil, then lower the heat slightly and cook at a strong simmer until the tomatoes are softened and a little thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp powder and cayenne chiles and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the chiles are softened. Add the fish sauce, then taste and adjust the seasonings if you wish.
Turn out into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stored in a well-sealed glass jar in the refrigerator, the chutney will keep for 4 days.

Burmese Ginger Salad

1 cup pickled ginger, rinsed thoroughly in cold water, drained, and sliced into fine strands
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/2 cup roasted or fried split soybeans or split peas, store-bought or homemade
1/2 cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts
1/2 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup Dried Shrimp Powder
1/2 cup thin wedges of Roma or other fleshy tomato
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1/4 cup Fried Garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Garlic Oil or to taste
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Place all the ingredients except the garlic oil and salt in a bowl and mix together with your hands, blending well. Add the garlic oil and salt and mix again. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed

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Tohu Thoke (Burmese Salad with Shan Tofu)

1 1/2 cups superfine chickpea flour (gram flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

FOR THE TAMARIND-GARLIC DRESSING
3 ounces tamarind pulp (3-by-3-by-3/4- inch block)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sriracha, or to taste
5 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon MSG (optional)
2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste
4 teaspoons sugar, or to taste

FOR THE SALAD
1/4 cup shallot-garlic oil
1/4 cup tamarind-garlic dressing
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 Kaffir lime leaves, sliced very thin (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced Asian dried shrimp (optional)
Red-chile flakes or powder, to taste
1/4 cup crispy shallots and garlic

Make the chickpea tofu. In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, salt and turmeric, then gradually whisk in 3 cups of water to create a smooth batter. (Pass through a strainer if it’s lumpy.) Let rest 10 minutes.

Pour half the mixture into a deep-sided sauté pan, and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring the bottom constantly in quick, spiraling circles with a rubber spatula. When curds start to form and the mixture starts to thicken, about 3 minutes, add the rest of the mixture, turn heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until you see more curds and it resembles very thick cake batter, another 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the oil. Turn heat to high, and stir, until the mixture steams, 1 more minute. Turn mixture out onto a rimmed baking sheet, and shake it to settle (it will be very thick; just do your best).

Let cool until firm enough to slice, and cut into bite-size strips. (This is best served at room temperature the day it’s made; it gets stiffer after refrigeration.) Dress just before serving.

Make the dressing. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the tamarind pulp and 1 1/2 cups water. Break up the tamarind with a spoon; cook until the chunks are all broken up and the liquid looks thick and syrupy. Pass the mixture through a strainer.

Combine the tamarind liquid with the salt, sriracha, grated garlic, MSG, fish sauce and sugar. Adjust with more fish sauce, sugar, sriracha or water to taste. Extra dressing keeps for 1 month in the refrigerator.

Make the salad. In a large bowl, gently toss the chickpea tofu, shallot-garlic oil, dressing, cilantro, lime leaves, dried shrimp (if using) and chile. Top with crispy shallots and garlic, and serve immediately.

Kachin Pounded Beef with Herbs

Beef
About 1 cup water
1 to 1 1/4 pounds stewing beef or boneless beef shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into approximately 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
1 scant tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil

Flavor Paste
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 dried red chiles, stemmed
1 teaspoon lightly toasted Sichuan peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup loosely packed Vietnamese coriander, coarsely torn or chopped, or substitute coriander leaves

For the beef: Pour 1/2 inch of water into a wok or wide pot, add the beef and Sichuan pepper, and bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil until the meat is tender, 20 to 30 minutes, decreasing the heat gradually as the water evaporates. There should be very little liquid left. Remove from the heat.

Place a heavy skillet or a wok over medium heat, add the oil, and tilt the pan to coat the cooking surface. Add the meat and cook, turning occasionally, until all surfaces have changed color a little, about 6 minutes. Set aside.

For the flavor paste: If you have a large mortar, combine the ginger, garlic, dried chiles, Sichuan peppercorns, and salt and pound and grind to a paste. Add the coriander and pound to incorporate it. Add the meat and pound to blend the flavor paste thoroughly into the meat. (If your mortar is too small to accommodate all the meat at once, remove half the paste and then work with half the meat and half the flavor paste at a time.) The meat will soften and break down but should not be completely pulverized.

Alternatively, mince the ginger and garlic very fine and set aside in a small bowl. Use a spice grinder or coffee grinder to reduce the dried chiles and Sichuan peppercorns to a powder. Stir the powder into the garlic and ginger, then add the salt and use the back of the spoon to blend them together. Chop the coriander fine and blend into the flavor paste. Place the meat in a wide bowl, add the flavor paste, and use a wooden mallet or a wide wooden spatula to press and pound the flavoring into the meat. Serve at room temperature.

Burmese Spring Ginger Salad

1/2 cup very thinly sliced fresh ginger (or pickled pink ginger)
3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
2 Tbs. peanut oil
2 Tbs. sliced garlic
1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
1 cup diced cabbage
3 Tbs. ground roasted peanuts
2 Tbs. low-sodium or “white” soy sauce
1 Tbs. chickpea flour
Hot green chilies, minced, optional

Combine ginger and 2 tablespoons lime juice, and set aside to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Dry-roast sesame seeds in large skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Remove from heat, and set aside. Heat oil in same skillet over medium heat, and sauté garlic slices until brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Squeeze lime juice from ginger. Combine ginger, tomato, cabbage, peanuts, garlic, remaining oil and sesame seeds. Add soy sauce and remaining lime juice. Sprinkle with chickpea flour, and toss. Garnish with finely chopped chilies, if using