Mohinga is considered one of the national dishes of Burma/Myanmar. It is actually eaten for breakfast. But for me it could be lunch or supper.

Serves 6-8

For the broth:

  • 1,5 l water
  • 5 tbsp chickpea flour 
  • 2 tbsp rice flour 
  • 1 cube vegetable or fish stock
  •  1 whole catfish or use other fish you can get
  • 2 large onions, quartered 
  • A handful coriander
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (known in Burmese as ngan-bya-yay) 

For the spice:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 cm knob of fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed of woody bits 
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander, stems only
  • 6 tbsp groundnut or other neutral oil 
  • 1 tbsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot paprika 
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

To serve:

  • 600g dried rice vermicelli noodles or homemade rice noodles
  • Cooked fish cut in pieces. Wedges of hard-boiled eggs 
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped 
  • Shallots or red onionLime wedges 
  • Fish sauce
  • Chili oil

Pour 1,5 l water in a pan, add a handful chopped coriander and bring to a boil. Put in the fish and let it zimmer until fish is boiled. Take out the fish and clean from skin and bones and cut fish meat in pieces. If you used filées cut the filées in bitesize pieces.

Let the broth rest on the side while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Toast the chickpea flour and rice flour by tossing in a dry frying-pan on a medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes till fragrant. Watch like a hawk and keep moving the pan, since it can catch and turn black in seconds. Leave to cool and then sieve the toasted flours.
Whisk the sieved flours with 500 ml water from the cooled down broth in a bowl or jug till smooth. Set this flour solution to one side.

Now prepare the spices. Add a little oil in a wok or frying pan. Add all the spices and fry a little to release the fragrance and taste. Add the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, corianderstems  and onions which are chopped finely. Fry for 3-4 minutes till fragrant.
Now add the fish to the spicemix. Add the spicemix and fish to the stockpot. Stir to combine and then add the flour solution you made earlier as well as the cube of stock. Stir while mixing in the flour solution to avoid lumps.

Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to medium and simmer vigorously for 30 minutes.
If you use dried noodles: put the noodles into a heatproof bowl, generously cover with just boiled water, untangle with a fork and then leave to soak for 15 minutes. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse them thoroughly with cold running water.

Leave the colander in the sink to allow any residual water to keep draining. The Burmese don’t like mushy or starchy noodles and this process gives the best result.
When you’re ready to serve, stir the fish sauce into the stockpot of broth.
Now divide the noodles amongst pasta plates (should be about a handful in each), and ladle the hot soup on top (which will reheat the noodles).

Garnish each dish with sliced red onion, wedges of boiled eggs and coriander leaves and serve with lime wedges, fish sauce and chili and garlic oil on the side.

Homemade rice noodles

To make these rice noodles, you’ll need:

  • 1¼ cups rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing

Add the rice flour, tapioca starch (or cornstarch), salt and water to a mixing bowl. Mix and dissolve everything together well. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl. Cover the liquid and let rest for 30 minutes.

While the mixture is resting, fill your steamer (make sure that your flat-bottomed pan fits comfortably inside first!) with water. If you don’t have a steamer, use a large, deep cooking vessel with a wide opening and a lid. Bring the water to a boil. (You might need to add more water throughout the cooking process. The goal is to have the pan float on top of the boiling water.)Brush a light coating of oil on the bottom of the flat-bottom pan, put the pan on top of the boiling water, and add a 1/4 cup of the rice liquid to the pan. Tilt it a little so the rice liquid covers the bottom of the pan. I did use a plate instead of a pan.

Now, cover with the pot lid and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. If the flat bottom pan you use has a thicker bottom, e.g., Pyrex, increase the cooking time to 7 or 8 minutes. While it’s cooking, brush the second pan or plate lightly with oil.

After 5 minutes, remove the lid, take out the 1st pan, and set aside. Put the 2nd pan on top of the water in the steamer, add a ¼ cup of the rice mixture. Tilt it a little so the rice liquid evenly covers the bottom, cover, and let cook.

While it’s cooking, attend to the first pan. We’re going to lift the noodle sheet out and place it onto a cutting board. Brush the cutting board with a thin layer of oil to prevent sticking. Then, use a rubber spatula to loosen all sides of the sheet of noodle, and slowly lift it up and off the pan/plate. Lay it flat on your cutting board.

By now, your second pan is probably ready. Remember to brush the first layer with a thin layer of oil before layering the second sheet on top to prevent sticking.

Now brush the bottom of the 1st pan with some oil and get ready to make your 3rd batch. Repeat the above steps until all of the rice noodle batter is gone. Once all of the noodle sheets are made, I cut the noodle sheets into pieces. Feel free to cut them in whatever sizes and shapes you like. I then toss the noodles, loosening each layer to separate them. Now the rice noodles are ready to be used!

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