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Cooking with "Burma – Rivers of flavor"

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I got my copy of "Burma - Rivers of flavor" from Naomi Dugui and I'm ready to start cooking from it.

Has anybody cooked any recipe from this book? Would love to hear about your experiments. Which recipes are winners? Which techniques worked and which ones didn't?

Has anybody been able to find banana stems in the US? This is called for in the Mohinga recipes (pages 256, 260).

And what about "roasted or fried split soybeans"? She says this can be store-bought or homemade. I looked for it in my local Asian store but couldn't find it. How would I go about making it at home? Are soybeans sold already split?

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  • 5 weeks later...

Not sure about spit soy beans but we used to make roasted ones when I was growing up. Just soak soybeans overnight, then drain well. Put on a cookie sheet in a 350 F oven and roast till crispy. Usually it takes about 30 minutes - but you have to check on them. You can add a little salt when wet if you like and this will adhere to them. Not sure if this is the end product you want for Burmese cooking? These are called soy nuts. You could chop them at this stage to get closer to split sized beans.

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Thanks loki! That sounds like it would get really close to what the recipe calls for. Recently I noticed that Whole Foods sells whole roasted soy beans, so that's another option.

Since I started the thread I've made the recipe that calls for the split roasted soy beans without the soy beans (punchy crunchy ginger salad), and it was great. I'm sure it would have been fantastic with the beans, but it was very good without them.

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Yeah, those are the ones. They are so easy to make! I looked into split soybeans and I think that they are mostly made that way to cook faster, be easier to process/use for animal feed, and to help separate out stones and other material (it either won't spit or disintegrates in the splitting process). . So - for this purpose I think whole ones would work.

I also think that other crunchy things would work in the salad. One of my favorites is roasted favas. Now I've never made these, probably because raw favas are not that easy to come by, and I'm having a challenging time growing them. But they are easy to find in Asian markets (chinese or taiwan made), in either plain or spicy. These are a cool-weather bean so would have to be grown in the mountains in Burma. There are also chick peas made this way, but I've only found them once in a Latin Market. But all sort of nuts could work too.

I will have to look into that book - I've always been interested in SE Asian and Indian food, and this would fill the gap. I do have one book by Copeland Marks and Aung Thien = The Burmese Kitchen: Recipes from the Golden Land. It's pretty good, but not very comprehensive (But boy is it expensive on Amazon now?). I make a dish from it with the leaves of Matrimony vine from my garden (It's now known mostly as Goji Berry, but this cultivar is shy to fruit and is grown for it's leaves, which are also supposed to be cure-alls). It's a simple beef soup with the leaves added at the end - very good!

I also found that you could fry them after soaking (but they have lots of oil and baking/roasting is much easier). I think that people without ovens (much of the world actually) would fry them

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  • 2 months later...
Has anybody been able to find banana stems in the US?

One uses the flower (one of a few foods that can sometimes be past my threshold for bitter) frequently in Thai salads; Burma also calls for banana flowers, and distinguishes between them and stems. Stores that carry the flower may also carry the stem.

My Thai cooking teacher (very highly recommended with a caveat: it's very hard to find Thai I can eat in the US now after eating in her classes and on her tour) maintains an actively updated site for Thai markets (and ingredients, etc.):


The ones I've visited are sometimes run by other nationalities, and also cater more broadly to SE Asian needs. So this list could be a start...

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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