What is the national dish of Myanmar?

Update:17 May 2007


Mohinga, a light, curry-based fish noodle soup, is the most popular and traditional breakfast item of Myanmar.

The noodles by themselves have no taste, so it is the gravy that adds zing and the most important ingredient here is the fresh water catfish. Then again a dish is never the sum total of its individual parts, is it? There is always something more. So, boiled eggs, chickpea crisps, gourd fritters, coriander leaves, fried garlic, onion, and dried chilli powder are also added to bring a unique appeal to this fabulously flavorsome dish.

There are different ways of cooking Mohinga across different towns of Myanmar, which mainly depends on the geographical conditions.

Therefore it is a common practice for many shops to display the name of the chef and the place where the person comes from! For example, Mohinga from the Bassein region is known for its heavy use of fish as it is in the delta region with access to plenty of fresh marine life. They also use rice powder, whereas Yangon natives use gram flour. In some regions it is flavored with pepper and some add a little coconut for a richer texture. Some are watery, some are meatier and the variations go on and on.

To prepare a perfect dish, the fish is cleaned, rubbed with salt and fish sauce, and then put in a pot with lemongrass stalks and water. When it is done enough to flake easily, it is taken out and boned. The stock is reserved for use later. Thinly sliced onions are fried until they caramelise. In the same oil, pounded ginger, some more onions, garlic, and paprika are stirred on a high flame. Fish stock is added gradually and then roasted gram flour and presoaked rice powder is also added. When this comes to the boil, fish sauce, flaked fish, pepper and fried onions are added and left to simmer.

When ready, it is served in soup plates along with noodles, chopped coriander leaves, spring onions, gourd fritters, bean crisps, boiled eggs, fish maws and fried potato juliennes.

Perhaps there is no better way to start the day!

SOURCE: Bidisha Bagchi

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