Burmese food part 3: Baya-kyaw

Bayakyaw is a popular snack food in Burma. It’s a thick paste made of ground yellow split peas, chilies, coriander leaves, and onions. Golf ball sized portions of the batter is deep fried until crispy on the outside. They’re pretty much like falafel except falafel is made with chickpeas or fava beans.

My dad made these. Next to them are meatballs.
byakyaw - yellow split pea fritters

If you skip to 1:52-4:00, you can see the vendor mixing bayakyaw and frying them up. There’s a lot of fritters featured in the video: bayakyaw, shan tofu, samosas, fried gourd, etc. Typically these are added as extras to soups or salads but they are also eaten as a snack through out the day. Because of the broad availability of street vendors in busy areas, people usually don’t make these fritters at home. You almost take them for granted until you are overseas and there are no vendors.

*video credits to meemalee3

In this video, Cho, the author of Hsaba demonstrates how to make bayakyaw. Here’s the recipe from her website. Thanks to Cho for doing all the work for me. =p

Bayakyaw go great with a sour dipping sauce like this one:

juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 chopped thai chili, some coriander leaves. Mix and serve.

Fried fritters also go great with a tamarind dip:

1 tbsp tamarind pulp, 1/4 cup warm water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 crushed garlic clove. After mixing the ingredients, you need to strain it to get the tamarind solids out. I like to let the crushed garlic clove chill out in the dip to release it’s oils and flavor into the sauce. This tamarind dip should be sour with a tiny bit of sweetness but I like mine with some heat. If you want some heat, replace the 1/2 tsp salt with Sriracha to taste. You don’t need the salt since Sriracha has a good sodium content.