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Burmese Recipes Site – Hsa*ba

I came across this lovely site, “Hsa’ba” (please eat), full of delicious Burmese recipes via another Burmese recipe site. “Hsaba” is in English and is very well organized by Ma Tin Cho Chaw. She’s even publishing a cookbook on Burmese dishes and there are about 100 recipes featured on “Hsaba” site. I find it very interesting to read each ingredient information along with the photos.

My bro reads “Hsa’ba” as “Hi Sha Bah” ဟိုက္ရွားဘား :P and I have to correct him. There is no “H” sound in “Hsa’ba”, it pronounces like “Sarh Bar”.

Updated: 31 Oct 2008

I got this email from Cho of Hsa*ba site. She notified me that her book in store now hence I’m just updating the news here.

Dear May
I am pleased to say the long-awaited hsa*ba, burmese cookbook is finally available. Thank you for your patience and support. It’s been an amazing journey creating the book and all the new content for the website.

The book is filled with authentic recipes such as the much-loved Traditional fish noodle soup (mohingar), fresh robust salads (thote), simple comforting curries (sipyan) and much more. Accompanied by beautiful photography that captures the distinctive Burmese kitchen.

To order a copy, visit our online shop.

For a sneak preview of the book, go to the new website and flip through the pages. For those new to Asian cooking, there is a glossary of ingredients on the website as well as free recipes from the book. So get cooking!

Don’t forget to check out my blog where there are more recipes for you to share and enjoy! If you have any comments or want to share your recipe, get in touch.

Best wishes,

Cho

Duna – The Eel

I have a great dislike, rather a phobia, for long eerie looking creatures namely, earth worm, leaches, snails, snakes, caterpillars etc. I remember back in high school (Form 6 Bio Lab), we have to do experiment on earth worms. We have to search for earthworms and found heaps of them near the creek at the back of our school. I almost vomit looking at the size of those earthworms. They were so healthy, huge, twisted and piles of it once you unearth moist rubbish dump.

My classmates (mainly guys and some daring gals) were picking them up with their hands and throwing around. That was so gross yet we have to endure it and took the best looking big, fat, long worms back to the lab. We then boil them up in hot water. Gosh the smell was indescribable. It stinks the whole lab and near by classrooms too. Once you boil them up, they changed in color and their size too. Before they were reddish brown and changed into dirty pale pink.

We then dissect them from head to tail. I didn’t touch a single thing. I just watched and examined from the sideline. It was quite an experience to study my greatest fear – the worms. Though they seem to be very harmless and have many worthy means for the environment, they are the most annoying, ugliest, yuckiest, good-for-nothing, useless creatures for me.

The once and only time I encountered an earthworm was while I was digging soil for a vegetable plant. I cut them half in the process. The cut parts got twisted and jumped up on my foot; I run like hell and never dig the moist soil again. It was my 1st and last association with earthworms as well as helping mom garden.

Ok, enough about my earth worm adventures and back to the main story. I want to talk about another long eerie looking creature called “Duna”, the eels. A few days back, my friend forwarded two great photos of Duna caught at Monasavu Dam. The eels were enormous. I was surprised by the way locals caught them. They seemed to be using some bamboo and a few spears which I find it quite small to catch that big eels.

Duna At The Dam
Check out the way they handle the eels. Slice up the head and poke a bamboo in to carry around.

I never seen an eel in real life but only seen some small ones on books and TV. I don’t know much about eels but I’ve decided that they are surely not in my desirable animal list. I wasn’t sure of whether there are lots of eels in Fiji so I did a bit of research for my own satisfaction. Turn out that, Fiji is a good place for eels culture since they like tropical climates with temperature around 23-28C.

Here are some facts about eels.

True eels (Anguilliformes) are an order of fish, which consists of 4 suborders, 19 families, 110 genera and 400 species. Most eels are predators.

The flat and transparent larva of the eel is called a leptocephalus. A young eel is called an elver.

Most eels prefer to dwell in shallow waters or hide at the bottom layer of the ocean, sometimes in holes.

Depending on their species, eels can reach from 10 cm to 3 m, and weigh up to 65 kg.

In Micronesia, eels are believed to hold the souls of one’s departed relatives. As such, killing eels is a grave offence and was once punishable by death.

Wiki information on Eels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eel

Duna at the dam2
Don’t you think it’s just so big and ugly? (I meant the eel) Those Fijians seem happy, may be a good meal for them.

This is an abstract from SPC article:
Catching Eels in Pacific Island Countries and Territories [ pdf ]

Pacific Island countries offer a good environment in which to culture eels, as they grow rapidly in tropical climates, preferring a temperature range of 23-28C, and a pH rane of 7.0 – 8.0. In Fiji, when the word “duna” or “bham” is used, it is certain that the fish referred to is the so-called common eel, Anguilla, which occurs in most of the islands.

For pond-based aquaculture, the best site is one with a constant water supply. Eels are consumed in PICTs and particularly in Fiji, where it is an important source of protein for the rural indigenous population. In some localities, high demand has led to the collection of young eels from the wold for culture in tilapia ponds.

In Fiji, elvers and juvenile eels are caught from estuaries, mountain tributaries, swapms and ditches using various types of local gear. These eels are grown to marketable size in ponds designed for tilapia culture and solic live at Fj$ 10.00 per kg at Suva and Nausori markets.

In PICTs, eels are caught with hand lines, spears, cane knives and push nets. This gear is designed to capture a wide range of fish and crustaceans and is not specific to capturing eels.

Eels feed on a variety of feeds such as fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and terrestrial and aquatic insects.

Fishing methods and gear
The catching of eels in Fiji and other Pacific Islands normally involves inexpensive and very simple gear, which includes: baited hook and line, spears, push nets, hollow bamboo piece or PVC pipes, baited trap and seine nets. There are 3 commonly used methods, depending on materials available in villages, to catch eel.

  • Baited line
  • Eel spears
  • Push net

Unagi RecipeAnd here are the famous Japanese Eel (Unagi) Recipes.

# Unagi – Japanese Eel Dishes
# Unagi (eel) Salad Recipe
# Unagi (eel) Stir-fry Recipe

I guess, that’s enough facts about eels. Interesting isn’t it? Well, at least it is interesting for me. Thanks Jachin and Alisi for the photos, my bossy sis for some fixes and you can read the prologue too.

Hta Ma NhalHta Ma Nhal (Nhan Ma Nhal) is a very popular food for Burmese people especially for this time of the year. We, Burmese, have 12 special meals + celebrations for 12 special Burmese months. This month in Burmese calendar is called – “Ta Po Twal” and the special food for the month is “Hta Ma Nhal”.

Preparing and making of Hta Ma Nhal is very significant and memorable to Burmese society. It requires a group effort to create a successful, delicious dish. It signifies unity, cooperation, team work, harmony and the ecstasy for everyone. Many teams compete against each other to make the best Hta Ma Nhal in Ta Po’ Twal month celebrations. There will be side-kick helpers, cheerers, judges and on lookers.

myanmar-festival-htamane1The celebration has always been one of the most energetic and joyful occasions. I won’t go farther into the competitions and celebration part as I’m not sure how to explain it. I couldn’t find any photo related to “Hta Ma Nhal Pwal” but lucky enough, one post has this photo. Just for my readers to get a brief understand on what it is about, I’ve linked it here.

A few weeks back my mom made Hta Ma Nhal and I took some photos of it; but due to lack of motivation, couldn’t type up the post to publish it. This week I’ve read two of similar posts from other Burmese blogs as I’m sure everyone’s enjoying the Hta Ma Nhal season. But both of them lack photos hence I get myself together to type up this post.

Hta Ma Nhal is a simple meal yet a lot of hard work and sweat involved. Different people have different ways of making Hta Ma Nhal and this one is my mom’s style. So here is how it’s done for family size Hta Ma Nhal.

Ingredients

  • Glutinous Rice (1kg)
  • Peanuts (185kg, small peanuts better)
  • Seasame Seeds (50kg Black, 50kg White)
  • Ginger
  • Coconut (1, Medium size)
  • Sugar (3 tbl spoons)
  • Salt (a pinch/ 1 tbl spoon – depending on your taste bud)
  • Oil (300ml)

Htama Nhal3

Preparations

  1. Dip glutinous rice in water for 1 – 2 hrs.
  2. Slice up coconut into thin piceases.
  3. Slice ginger into thin pieces and pound a few more ginger for better smell.
  4. Roast black and white seaseme seeds. The black seaseme are added just for the beautification to have some mixture of colors.
  5. Crack and quarter the peanuts. The smaller peanuts are better but we only got big ones here.
  6. Raise the rice once it ready. Let the oil hot and ready to cook.

Htama Nhal - Sticky Rice

Htama Nhal - Coconut

Making It

  1. Fry coconut pieces in deep oil until it golden brown. Raise it from oil.
  2. Fry ginger pieces till it brown. Raise it from oil.
  3. Fry peanuts, raise it from oil – fried peanuts has a better chance of preserving the food.
  4. Fry raisen rice till it brown.
  5. Once the rice is brownish in color, put water till rice submerges. Cover and cook it for a few minute.
  6. Start stirring the rice just before all water dry out.
  7. Stir well till the rice gets mashed up and let water dries up.
  8. Once the rice been mashed enough put all fried ingredients, sugar, salt and mix it all well.
  9. Save some seaseme seeds for later decorations.

Step 1 + 2

Step 3 + 4

You will need a strong arm to mix it as the rice become stickier once it’s been mashed and once all ingredients been placed into it. There is a tendency of burning the bottom parts as you mix the top layers. So you must have a strong fast hand to turn the mixture in many different directions and lower the heat to save some time from burning.
When you are satisfied with your mixing, tasting, sweating and weary yourself out, Hta Ma Nhal is ready.

Hta Ma Nhal - Big Plate Hta Ma Nhal - Small Bowl

You can preserve Hta Ma Nhal up to 2-3 weeks (may be more). Keep it in a fridge and heat up in microwave whenever you want to serve it.

Hta Ma Nhal is 0% cholesterol, 100% calories, a bit of protein and very good to fatten/cure anorexia. Definitely not the choice for obese ofcos.

So there you have it. Enjoy trying out.

Note:

Hta Ma Nhal is it also known as “Nhan Ma Nhal”. “Nhan” means sesame seeds cos’ it uses lots of sesame seeds.
Hta Ma Nhal is a food,
Hta Ma Nhal Pwal is a celebration/competition,
Ta Po’ Twal La is a Burmese month. La = month

Halloween Dishes

Oh this is…soooo gross! I’m lost for word, how can someone think up like that. I must admit her excellent imagination though. What a magnificent Halloween dishes she created. If you care to try out…I doubt it. May be a finger. Haha.

Check out the recipes.

Finger Cookies

“Finger” Cookies

makes ~ 5 dozen
Yield: 5 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
raspberry jelly

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together, then add to wet and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Read detail recipe here.

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta (brain style) with Pomegranite Sauce

1 cup milk
5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup + 1 Tb sugar, divided
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons vanilla
8 oz. pomegranite juice
1/4 cup cornstarch

Place milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Stir and let sit for about five minutes so the gelatin can rehydrate a bit.

Combine cream and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the gelatin mixture and stir again until combined. Pour into (brain) mold, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or until mixture is completely set.

To unmold, gently tilt mold so sides of the panna cotta pull away a bit, then place on platter or plate. You can also dip the bottom of the mold into warm water to help in unmolding.

Read detail recipe here.

Via: BoingBoing | Forum Egullet

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  • Filed under: Cooking Recipes, General, Life Style, Yummy Food
  • Yakhine Mont-Te

    I hate raining days and dull weather. The whole day, it’s been raining, cold, wet and just sucks. The worse thing is to wake up in the raining morning for work while we’re still half asleep.

    Well this is not about how I hate raining day, but it’s about how I love to eat “Yakhine Mont-Te” during cold weather so the weather still counts. So this evening my mom made “Yakhine Mont-Te” and I have two bowls full as soon as I got back from work. There is nothing like the taste of hot-chili-pepper soup to drink in a cold, bad weather like today.

    Yakhine Mont Te 1Back in Burma, “Yakhine Mont-Te” is most popular in winter days. You got to eat with lots of pepper and chili and while it’s very hot. If you’re Burmese I bet you know what Yakhine Mont-Te is. But for the sake of my non-Burmese friends, let me do a bit of explaining.

    Yakhine : a tribe/group out of hundreds of tribes in Myanmar.
    Mont-Te : it has different meanings depending on how u use it. Some cases it means “salad”, in this case it mean mix soup.
    So “Yakhine-Mont-Te” means Yakhine soup…or whatever it means. You got the idea. “Yakhine Mont-Te” is a food soup (obviously! :D ). It’s a specialty of Yakhine people. Well Burmese(Burman) people can make that very well too.

    It’s very easy to make and takes only a few minutes if you have all the ingredients. The main ingredients here are some good fish and a good piece of “Nga Pi” (Burmese Chocolate/Fish Paste).

    In Burma we use “Ngar Khu”, “Ngar Gyin” (Fish Types) for this. I think my mom use “Wah Lu” fish today, but it’s better with those colored fishes, they’re softer and sweeter. Then you need a good “Yakhine Nga Pi” and lots of grinded dry prawns.

    Yakhine Mont Te 2All those gonna make it sweet but it’s not support to be sweet. It’s support to be hot. For that you need lots of black peppers and white pepper afterward. Well the idea is you mix all up in water and let it boil. Put some salt too ofcos. I’m not quite sure whether the fish needs to be cooked first or can use raw one…(will check with mom and update soon).

    So that’s done the soup part. But you can’t drink the soup alone. You need vermicelli(Mont-Fat) to mix with. You have to boil vermicelli separately and drain the water out. Put little oil to it so that it’s good to handle.
    When the soup ready, put soup and vermicelli in a bowl and done.
    Ah…not quite.

    To make it better, you need three more things.

    • Crushed green chili and garlic in water to make green chili sauce which makes the pepper hot soup – chili-pepper hot.
    • Fried Onion with curry power in lots of oil. (Se-Chat) Put a few to color up the soup.
    • And ofcos coriander (Nan Nan Pin) for a good smell.

    That’s it! You have a perfect “Yakhine Mont-Te”.

    I take some shots of it to share with you but I forgot to put coriander in there. Yummy!
    If you want proper recipe, go ask my mom. :D

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    Dar TaChoung Hnint Arluu

    က်မ အေမက သူသြင္ေပးေနၾက အာလူးကို ဒီေန႔မွ က်မအား အျမင္ကပ္ ဆႏၵျပၿပီး ကိုယ္ဟာကိုယ္ သြင္္ခိုင္းလိုက္ သျဇင့္၊ ဗိုက္ကဆာဆာ၊ စိတ္ကတိုတိုျဖင့္ အာလူးသြင္ရင္း ထြက္ေပၚ လာေသာ အေတြးအပိုင္းအစေလးမ်ားကို ခ်ေရးလိုက္ျခင္း ျဖစ္ပါသည္။

    ေအးစက္ မာေၾကာၿပီး၊ အေရာင္ကင္းမဲ့လွတဲ့၊ က်မရဲ့ လက္ေခ်ာင္းမ်ားဟာ…

    • ကီးဘုတ္တစ္ခုေပၚမွာ သြက္လက္လ်င္ျမန္စြာ
      ေျပးလႊား ေဆာ့ကစား တတ္တယ္
    • စာရြက္သားျဖဴ တစ္ခုေပၚမွာ၊ ညီညာဝိုင္းစက္တဲ့
      အကၡရာမ်ားကို ခဲသားမ်ားနဲ႔၊ ေရးျခစ္တတ္တယ္
    • စုတ္တံတစ္ေခ်ာင္းကို က်င္လည္စြာ ေဝႊ႔ရမ္းၿပီး
      ရုပ္လံုးေပၚေအာင္ ေဆးသားမ်ားနဲ႔ ျခယ္မႉန္းအသက္သြင္းတတ္တယ္
    • သိုးေမႊးခ်ည္ခင္ကို အပ္တစ္ေခ်ာင္းႏွင့္
      ဒီဇိုင္းအမ်ိဳးမ်ိဳး ေဖာ္တတ္တယ္
    • ဆယ္ေခ်ာင္းေသာ လက္အဆံုကို၊ စည္းခ်က္ညီစြာ
      အကြက္က်က် ယိမ္းႏြဲ႔ၿပီး ကကြက္တစ္ခု ဖန္တီးတတ္တယ္
    • ဘတ္တံတစ္ေခ်ာင္းကို အနိမ့္အျမင့္၊ အတိုးအခ် လိုအပ္သလို အားသံုးၿပီး
      ၾကက္ေတာင္တစ္လံုး တဖတ္ကြင္းထဲ က်ေအာင္ ရိုက္တတ္တယ္
    • လက္စစ္မ်ားကိုေကြးၿပီး ဂ်စ္ကန္ကန္လုပ္တတ္ေသာ ညီမရဲ့ေခါင္းကို
      ေဒါက္ကနဲ ျမည္ေအာင္ေခါက္တတ္တယ္
    • အလြန္အစသန္ေသာ ေမာင္ကို၊ က်စ္က်စ္ဆုပ္ထားတဲ့
      လက္ေခ်ာင္းမ်ားနဲ႔ ထိုးႏွက္ကုတ္ျခစ္တတ္တယ္
    • က်မအျမင္ကပ္ေအာင္ လုပ္ေသာသူမ်ားကို၊ က်မရဲ့လက္မ်ားက
      ေတြ႔ရာတုတ္တစ္ေခ်ာင္းကို ေကာက္၍ေသာ္၄င္း
      လက္ခ်ီးသက္သက္ ေသာ္၄င္း
      လွည့္ရိုက္ရန္ ဝန္ေလးေလ့ မရွိခဲ့

    ဤမွ် အသံုးဝင္လွေသာ က်မ၏ လက္မ်ားသည္
    ဓါးတစ္ေခ်ာင္း၊ အာလူးတစ္လံုးႏွင့္ ေတြ႔မိေသာ အခါ…

    ဓါးတစ္ေခ်ာင္း ႏွင့္ အာလူး

    ဓါးတစ္ေခ်ာင္းကိုင္ ဆရာမနိုင္
    ပြက္ပြက္ညံေအာင္ဆိုးလွ၏။

    အာလူးတစ္လံုးသြင္ ရပ္ကြက္တြင္
    ျပဲျပဲစင္ေအာင္ ၾကားရ၏။

    အရပ္ကူပါ လူဝိုင္းပါ
    အေမလာ လွည္ပါ တဆာဆာ။
    အျဖစ္ၾကီးက ၾကီးသေနာ္၊
    ေမာင္သာမိရဲ႔ ၾကီးေတာ္။

    (Ok I don’t know where that come from.)

    တစ္လံုးႏႊာ တစ္နာရီ၊ လုပ္ပါအံုး ကုန္ၿပီ
    အသားထြင္သလား၊ အခြံႏႊာတာလား

    လက္ကတုန္ရင္၊ ဓါးစုတ္က မလႉပ္ခ်င္
    အခြံနာက မထြက္၊ ျပတ္တာက ငါ့လက္။

    ဖြတ္မရ၊ ဓါးဆံုး၊ ငါ့အာလူးတစ္လံုး
    ျပဳတ္လို႔ ထုေထာင္းၿပီး၊
    ငပိေထာင္း လုပ္ခဲ့၏ ။ ။

    French Fries လုပ္ဖို ၾကိဳးစားေနဆဲ က်မဘဝေလးပါ။

    Hta Min Thote, Burmese Rice SaladLast weekend our family and a friend of us gather to eat “Hta Min Thote”, Burmese Rice Salad. Our friend(uncle KMCho) is very good at cooking and almost every weekend, he would make something special and my mom makes a few more and we eat together. This time, while my mom was preparing for morning (break-lunch) “Hta Min Thote”, uncle called and said he’s preparing to make “Mandalay Mont Tee”. So he brought some stuffs, we added some more and finally quite a lot of ingredients to make “A Thote Sone” (mixed salad).

    HtaMinThote3I had 2 serves of “Hta Min Thote” with lots of chili, seaweeds and green pawpaw. I don’t’ like “Mandalay Mont Tee” because it’s too oily and make you go sleepy. My bro ate 3 types of “Mont Tee” (salad) with different varieties. My mom was the only one who mix stuffs for all of us so she was very busy mixing then.

    One thing I love about Burmese Foods is cos’ we have lots of varieties in a single dish. But that’s the very same thing I hate about Burmese Food. It takes a lot of time to prepare and too many stuffs to add.

    Hta Min Thote1I’m not good with cooking/chopping/peeling/preparing or anything to do with food matters, except eating. :D If I’ll have to prepare this kind of meal for myself, I would never ever be able to do that. I take about 7-10 mins just to slice up one onion and think of all those stuffs to slice, chop, boil, mix …. Arrggggghhhhhh … just too much for me.

    Hta Min Thote 4Just for 15 – 20 min of delicious meal, you’ll need the whole morning to prepare. That’s just not right. But for those who love cooking then they might enjoy doing all those. So here are some of the ingredients you need to make one good “Burmese Hta Min Thote”.

    Main Ingredients:

    • Cooked Rice, (Hta Min)
    • Boiled Vermicelli, (Kyar San)
    • Boiled Noodle, (Khout Swal)
    • Chicken Curry, (Kyat Thar See Chat)
    • Boiled Eggs (Kyat Ou Pyout)
    • Dry Prawns (Pa Zon Chout)

    Seasonings:

    • Chili Powder (Nga Yote Thee Mhont)
    • Roasted Pea Powder (Pall Mhont)
    • Fish Source (Ngan Pyar Yae)
    • Tamarind Juice (Ma Gyee Phyaw Yae)
    • Fried Onion (Kyat Thon Nee See Chat)
    • Fried Garlic (Kyat Thon Phyu See Chat)
    • Seasoning Powder (A Cho Mhont)
    • Salt (Sarr)

    Veges:

    • Beans Sprout (Pal Pin Pout)
    • Cabbage (White – slice roughly, Green – slice finely) (Gaw Fee)
    • Seaweed (Kyout Kyaw, Yae Nheyit)
    • Boiled Potato (Ar luu)
    • Green Paw Paw (Thin Paw Thee Chit)
    • Spring Onion
    • Lime

    Side Dish:

    • Onion Salad with lime juice (Kyat Thon Nee Thote)
    • Chicken Stock Soup (Kyat Thar Sout Pyout)
    • Fried Crispy Noodle (Khout Swal Mont Kyout)

    Hta Min ThoteWell that’s all we add in our “Hta Min Thote”. If you want, you can add some more like “Tohuu”, “Hta Min Nee”, “Hta Min Sane” etc. The more ingredients you add, the better your “Hta Min Thote” will be, ofcos you also need to know how to mix the right potions of all those stuffs.
    Tough job to prepare one good meal huh? Oh mind you though, “Hta Min Thote” is not a main meal for Burmese. It’s just a breakfast kind of thing.

    So how’s your weekend meals like?

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