I had a short dilemma with this country as I debated between making it with the Bs (old and now colloquial/unofficial name of Burma) or Ms (now official name of Myanmar). But since I knew we had started down a long stretch of African countries (6 out of 9 consecutive countries are in Africa), I thought we could use the variety of an Asian country right now.
I selected two dishes for this country. The first is called ohn noh kauk swe (there seem to be multiple spellings out there), which is best described as a South Asian version of chicken noodle soup with many toppings to mix in. The second is a ginger and cabbage based salad called gin thoke.
Ohn Noh Kauk Swe (recipe)
This recipe started by frying onion, garlic, and ginger. I followed the recommendations in the recipe notes to increase the quantity of spices (including the garlic and ginger) to get a more authentic flavor (I used roughly 1.5 times what the recipe specified).
Then the chicken, turmeric, and chili powder were added and cooked. Rather than adding the fish sauce and salt in this step, I followed the recommendation of several other recipes for this dish to marinate the chicken in the fish sauce and salt for a while (maybe 15 minutes?) before cooking in it.
At this point we realized we were going to run out of space and made the necessary transfer to the stock pot. I didn’t take many photos, but we added in the chicken stock and chickpea flower (which had been soaking in water), then later the shallots, coconut milk, and more fish sauce. From what I read, the risk of clumping is pretty high with the chickpea flower, so there was some pretty continuous stirring going on at this point. You can’t tell in this picture, but there actually are chicken pieces in there.
The other part of this recipe was to chop all of the toppings! Onions (we used sweet vidalia onions that are in season!), chow mein noodles, lemon and lime wedges, toasted red pepper flakes, cilantro (from the garden!!), green onions (not specified in this recipe but several others listed it), and hard boiled eggs. We also had some leftover serrano pepper from the gin thoke, so I put that out as another topping.
We also made rice noodles to go with it! I have never cooked rice noodles before, and I was pleasantly surprised by the short (~5 minute) cook time! I know this recipe lists egg noodles, but I saw rice noodles in many of the other recipes for this dish and was curious to try them.
The final spread:
…definitely one of our more photogenic meals!
Gin Thoke (recipe)
This recipe was a lot of chopping, then it just had to be stirred together and left to chill and intermix the flavors in the fridge. The worst part was thinly slicing ginger, since this recipe uses a LOT of ginger. I’m guessing the “gin” in the name of this recipe is referring to ginger. I started with a chunk of ginger this size:
And sliced it to get a half cup:
The ginger marinated in lime juice for a few hours, which was supposed to take some of the bite out of it.
Other ingredients for this salad included chopped cabbage, diced tomato, ground peanuts, sesame seeds, chickpea flour, sliced garlic (first fried in peanut oil), soy sauce, and lime juice. We weren’t sure if “white”/”low-sodium” soy sauce was a really special thing, but we ended up just using the regular soy sauce we had on hand. These ingredients were all dumped together:
Then mixed together and topped with chopped chili pepper (we used serrano).
We also made a pot of green tea to enjoy with the meal!
We enjoyed the meal during a nice summer day on the porch. 🙂
This meal was delicious. The ohn noh kauk swe was really good. The soup (if you can call it that) itself had a lot of flavor, and I thought the toppings all complemented the soup very well. I found the raw onions to be surprisingly pleasant, which is unusual for me. I also continued to push myself out of my comfort zone as I powered through three or four hard boiled egg slices in each servings. I keep telling myself that if I keep eating small quantities of egg disguised with other delicious foods, I will one day get to a point where I can tolerate eating egg based dishes. One day. It would sure make going out to breakfast restaurants easier. Anyway, this dish was a winner. As an added bonus, the fish sauce flavor was very subdued… I was worried about this while cooking. The worst part was that it was kind of difficult to eat without making a mess. I ended up doing a shoveling maneuver between my fork and spoon for each bite. Tyler used chopsticks. The volume of food was also a little out of hand. I counted 16 servings that we have gotten out of it (including 4 servings for family and friends that came over a couple night… thank goodness we had some help getting through the full stock pot of food), and we still have some in the fridge that is probably going to get thrown away eventually. As much as I enjoyed this meal, I definitely reached a point where I was very tired of eating it.
The gin thoke salad was good, but not stunning. It was so different from anything I have eaten that I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. The ginger mellowed out over time, and I could see why it is considered an after dinner/palate cleanser dish. I enjoyed trying it, but it isn’t something I’ll be in a hurry to make again.