Burmese food: Part 2

It’s been awhile. Been busy with school and research. This is a Burmese noodle salad recipe. It doesn’t really have a name, it’s just something I’ve adapted from my parents. In Burmese cuisine, there’s a lot of types of noodle salads, called “thote” in Burmese. The ingredients in this recipe are common in a lot of thotes, so I would say this is a pretty authentic recipe. I like this recipe because you can make it beforehand and it can be served cold. The main flavors come from the fish sauce, shallot oil, and gram flour. Play around with the recipe and adjust it to your taste.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
2 servings rice vermicelli, cooked per package instructions and rinsed in cold water
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

for the dressing,
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp chili flakes or 1 thai chili, chopped
2 tbsp shallot oil

3 large cloves shallot (or 1/4 an onion), sliced
2 boiled eggs
fried shallots
3 tbsp roasted gram flour
2 tbsp dried shrimp, pounded into a coarse floss/powder
a few pea crackers
(see link for recipe from a previous post)

  • First start off by roasting the gram flour (Note: This is not the same as graham flour. Graham flour is whole wheat flour, but gram flour is just ground chickpeas). Just drop the gram flour onto a pan on medium heat until the color turns darker. It’ll give off a nice nutty scent once they’re roasted. Don’t burn them! Set this aside.
  • Now for the fried shallots. Cover a pan with a very shallow layer of oil. Take shallot slices (can substitute onion) and fry them on medium heat until golden brown and crispy. This will take a while. You only need to stir to make sure they don’t burn. Drain the shallots once they’re done. Save the oil for the dressing. The oil should take on the shallot flavor.
  • Now make the dressing by mixing in the oil, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, chili, and shallot oil
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked noodles, shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, shallot oil, roasted gram flour, and dressing.
  • You can keep this in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
  • Once you are ready to serve, just add the garnishes as you like. Crumble in a few pea crackers. Top with some fried shallots, cilantro, dried shrimp, and sliced boiled eggs.

bumrese noodle salad

burmese noodle salad
I tried plating two different ways. I think I like the bowl shot better.

Here’s a street hawker that sells noodles. You can see that he’s got everything in nice compartments and it’s a quick and simple procedure to make an order. You’ll find a lot of these guys walking around with their carts or sometimes they’ll set up on the side of a busy road.

I think the best meal is breakfast in Burma. Almost everyone buys breakfast in the morning, because that’s when the most street vendors and hawkers are out. No one ever makes breakfast at home just because of the number of vendors available in the morning. The best thing is, a lot of street vendors have regular routes so the food comes to you! If you’re a regular, they’ll remember you and come to your house every morning. The cities are pretty condensed and there is a high population density so you can easily find a remedy to any food craving within a half-mile radius. The street we lived on had a coffee shop at the end and when you would wake up you wouldn’t have to walk more than 5 minutes to get anything you wanted for breakfast. Way better than walking to your fridge and getting cold cereal. That’s the thing I miss most about Burma, the food and the food culture. Words can’t describe how nostalgic I am right now.


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