Burma: rivers of flavor, 372pp.
by Naomi Duguid
Artisan, Workman Publishing, New York, 2012
Cooking on page 32
We lived several years in Burma in the 1980s and I absolutely adored the food. It’s not Indian or Chinese (Burma’s two big neighbours), but a sort of combination of the two, and yet a cuisine all its own.
WahToo, our cook—yes we had a cook—was famous in Rangoon for her version of ohn-no khaut swe (a chicken and egg noodle dish that I am still trying to recreate). A Burmese dinner guest once called WahToo out of the kitchen to tip her for her efforts. That recipe called for chickpea flour and I wonder if her trick was to toast it?
Toasted chickpea flour
2 cups chickpea flour
Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add the flour and use a wooden spoon to stir it frequently as it heats and starts to toast. Lower the heat to medium if it starts to brown quickly, and keep stirring to expose all the flour to the heat. After about 6 or 7 minutes, it will start to change colour. Lower the heat a little and continue to stir as it gets a little more color, then remove from the heat and continue to stir for another minute as the pan starts to cool. The whole process takes about 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to a wide bowl and let cool to room temperature. Store in a clean, dry glass jar well sealed.
How it played out
Libby and Daniel (of prinzregententorte and limoncello cocktail fame) made this to use in a monti salad, a noodle concoction they tried when they visited Burma late last year. That recipe calls for only a tablespoon of toasted chickpea flour.
I’d be crazy not to have a jar of this on hand all the time. Off to make my own batch now. Oh, and chickpea flour is also known as besan flour.
And in breaking news
Libby and Daniel got married last month and are moving to Paris France later this month. We’re in India and they are in Sydney, so we missed the whole thing. You can read all about it here.