Burma : Rivers of Flavor
by Naomi Duguid
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Situated at the crossroads between China, India and Southeast Asia, Burma has long been a land that has absorbed outside influences in its daily life, from the Buddhist religion, food as potatoesIn the process, the people of the country that is now known as Myanmar, have developed a rich, complex cuisine that makes the inventive use of ingredients readily available to create combinations of flavorsSalads are one of the best entry points into the glory of this cuisine, with crispy shallots fries, a drizzle of fresh lime juice, a drizzle of garlic oil, a pinch of turmeric, some crisp roasted peanuts balanced with a light in handThe traditional salad is flexible; Burmese cooks process all types of food into salads, chicken and grilled eggplant with spinach and tomatoMohinga, a delicious blend of rice noodles and fish broth, adds to the comfort food at its bestEverywhere you go in Burma, you get a slightly different version, because, as Duguid explains, each region layers its own touch in the dishTasty sauces, chutneys and condiments – the essential elements of Burmese cuisine, will become pillars in your kitchen, like a roasted chicken with potatoes, turmeric, lemongrass; seafood noodles sautéed with shrimps and mussels; Shan khaut swei, an amazing noodle dish made with pea and pork twists; a copInterspersed in the 125 recipes are fascinating stories of the author, many trips into this fascinating but little known landOne of these captivating essays shows how Burmese women adorn themselves with thanaka, a white paste used to protect and decorate the skin.
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