A Taste of Burma

Posted by firda nugraha

Life has been a freight train and roller coaster all mixed up into one happy conglomerate rush for several months, which has meant a lot less cookery, and hardly anything worth blogging about for a while.

Discovering the joys of Myanmar food however, and in particular, Shan tofu, is definitely something worth sharing and so I am.

My introduction to Myanmar cuisine comes by way of Naomi Duguid's excellent cookbook, Burma: Rivers of Flavor. As with her previous writing collaboration with Jeffrey Alford in Beyond The Great Wall, this is more than just a book about cookery - it gives a great deal of insight into both country and culture, and how the culture has shaped the cuisine of the region.

Shan tofu, or tohu, differs from what we normally know as tofu, in that it's made from chickpea flour instead of soybeans. It is extremely easy to prepare at home (basically it's chickpea flour, salt, and water), and is incredibly tasty and nutritious. And, of course, gluten free!

I made my batch of Shan tofu from Naomi's recipe, but this one I found online is pretty much the same in terms of ingredient quantities and instructions. I cut my quantities down to half the recipe (and the second time around I made it, I didn't even bother to grease a pan, I just poured it into one of those disposable, microwaveable plastic containers for easy storage, and it didn't stick at all so I may go with that from now on.)

Traditionally, Shan tofu is used to make tohu thoke (Shan Tofu Salad) or tohu byawk (Silky Shan Soup), but I just slice or scoop it into whatever salad greens I have, season it with a little soy sauce and rice vinegar, and have it as a light meal. If I happen to have any leftover meat, I'll put that in too, and that day I happened to have some poached chicken on hand, so it got cubed and tossed in as well.

Definitely a quick meal I suspect I'll be whipping up quite often in the days to come.


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