Myanmar: cuisine, culture and customs, 228pp.
by Mohana Gill
Marshall Cavendish, Singapore, 2014
Cooking on page 132
We lived in Burma (Myanmar) for several years in the 1980s, so I am always on the lookout for Burmese recipes. I initially checked this out of the local library, but the recipes looked so good I was motivated to buy a copy for myself.
We ate so well in Burma. Our cook, Wah Too, was probably the best home cook of Burmese food in all of Rangoon. It used to be that when Burmese people were invited to dine in a Western home, they wanted to be served Western food. It was just the opposite at our house. Our Burmese guests hung out for Wah Too’s cooking. A guest once called her out of the kitchen to praise her food and give her a generous cash tip.
So let’s check out page 32 from this book.
Pumpkin curry (Shwe phayoun thee hin)
450 g (1lb) pumpkin
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 Tbsp dried prawn (shrimp) powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
180 ml (6 fl oz, 3/4 cup) water
1–2 bird’s eye chilli, chopped
juice of 2 limes
salt, to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
If the pumpkin is young and the skin green, you can cook it with the skin. Otherwise, peel the skin. Cut the pumpkin into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric and stir-fry lightly. Add the dried prawn powder and chilli powder. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the sugar and pumpkin cubes. Increase the heat and add the water. Cover and cook until the pumpkin is tender. Add the chillies and lime juice. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve hot as part of a meal. Serves 4–6.
How it played out
I don’t remember Wah Too ever cooking with pumpkin and I don’t remember eating it at anyone else’s house. Perhaps it’s more common further north where the temperatures are cooler.
But back to this recipe which I made as written using butternut pumpkin (called squash in the US). Straightforward and easy to make. I made my own dried prawn powder, by buzzing up whole dried prawns in my spare coffee grinder.
Served with fish in tomato gravy.
So pleased to have another easy-to-make, tasty curry recipe that showcases vegetables, and especially nice to have one that features pumpkin.
This is the second foray I’ve made into my Burmese cookbooks—the first was for toasted chickpea flour. I have three more Burmese cookbooks, so stay tuned for more. And be sure to check out my travel blog.