Mohinga (Burmese Noodle Soup)
Mohinga is a rice noodle and fish soup from Myanmar and is an essential part of Burmese cuisine. It is considered by many to be the national dish of Myanmar. It is readily available in most parts of the country. In major cities, street hawkers and roadside stalls sell dozens of dishes of mohinga to the locals and passers-by. It is usually eaten for breakfast, but nowadays it’s available throughout the day, and this particular Yangon street stall. Mohinga is usually made with small river catfish known in Burmese as nga gyi, nga ku or nga yunt. If you can´t get river catfish you can use tinned mackerel and sardines and you will have the same flavor than a “real” Burmese Mohinga.
5 tbs gram flour
2 tbs rice flour
2 tins of mackerel in brine (~200g)
1 tin of sardines in oil (~100g)
500ml vegetable or fish stock
2 large onions, quartered
Handful of shredded banana blossom
1 tbs fish sauce (known in Burmese as ngan-bya-yay)
Ingredients (Spicy Paste)
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 tbs groundnut or other neutral oil
1 tbs mild chili powder
1 tbs ground turmeric
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
600 g dried rice vermicelli noodles
200 g ready-made fishcake, sliced (available in Asian supermarkets)
Wedges of hard-boiled eggs
1 small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Yellow split pea crackers (be-gyun kyaw)
Crispy garlic oil
Toast gram flour and rice flour by tossing in a dry frying-pan on a medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes till fragrant. Let it cool and then sieve toasted flours. Whisk sieved flours with 500 ml water in a bowl till smooth.
Spice paste: Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass and coriander stems to a blender or food processor and purée until you have a smooth paste.
Heat oil in a stockpot on medium-high add purée and rest of the spices. Fry for 3-4 minutes till fragrant. Add fish as well as the oil and brine from tins to the stockpot and mash them with a masher or a fork till smooth. Stir to combine with the spice paste and add flour and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Add quartered onions, banana blossom and 2 litres of water. Simmer for 2 more hours, stirring from time to time.
Meanwhile, put noodles into a heatproof bowl, generously cover with just-boiled water, untangle with a fork and then leave to soak for 15 minutes. Drain noodles into a colander and rinse them thoroughly with cold running water. Before serving heat 2 tbs oil in a frying-pan on medium heat, add fishcake and fry for 5 minutes till golden. Pour fish sauce into stockpot of broth. Divide noodles amongst pasta plates (a handful), and pour in hot soup on top.
Garnish each dish with fishcake, chunks of split pea cracker, egg and coriander leaves and serve with lime wedges, fish sauce, chili and garlic oil on the side.