Burmese cuisine is complex and beautiful. The dishes pop with flavours that are bright and unique, bringing together flavours from neighbouring India, Thailand and Vietnam, and yet being distinct. I am continually surprised by how diverse and delicious Burmese vegetarian cuisine is. This recipe is no exception.
This is a lovely dish that highlights some of the core elements of Burmese vegetarian cooking. The tomato curry is complex and pops with spice from the chillies. It is topped with protein-rich eggs and okra to balance out the flavours. I have changed the presentation of the dish to a more contemporary style. Traditionally, the eggs and the okra are mixed into the sauce, but I find this style makes the okra slimy. I instead roast the okra separately and add it as a topping keeping them crisp. The eggs too get completely swallowed in the sauce when mixed in and the yolks tend to fall apart in the sauce. Plating the eggs on top of the sauce prevents this completely.
Burma Superstar is a fabulous restaurant, one that I have enjoyed many a meal at, and this recipe is no exception. The recipes re authentic, vibrant and delicious, it is literally like bringing the restaurant home. This is a wonderful cookbook for Burmese cuisine.
For more recipes from this wonderful cookbook, click here.
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 + 1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup garlic, minced (yes the amount is correct)
2-3 Thai chillies or green chillies, minced, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
6 tomatoes, purèed smooth
A few drops of fish sauce
3-4 hard-boiled eggs
Cilantro, minced, to garnish
10-12 baby okra
Olive oil spray
Sprinkling of salt
Heat the oil in a wok or pan and sautèe the shallots and sautè on low heat for 3-4 minutes till the shallots are soft. Add the garlic and chillies and cook till the garlic are pale golden. Do not let it become a dark colour.
Stir in the turmeric, paprika, and chilli powder and toss well for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat till the tomato forms a thick sauce and the oils begin to rise to the surface, about 15 minutes. Cook on low heat and be patient, this needs to take time. Also, the sauce will splatter so cover the pan partially with a lid.
Add in the second batch of shallots and simmer for 2 minutes. taste for salt and spice.
There are a few ways to proceed from here. You can add in the okra and cook covered for 15 minutes till the okra are soft. Take care to use stir the pan often so the tomatoes do not stick to the bottom and burn. Adjust the consistency with water as needed, you are looking for a thick curry.
Alternatively, heat the oven to 375° F.
layer the okra on a lined sheet and spray with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 20-25 minutes till the okra is soft and crisp. This step is best done right before serving the dish.
To serve, halve the eggs and toss them into the sauce. serve in a bowl garnished with cilantro.
Alternatively, spread the curry out in the centre of a large shallow plate. Arrange the okra on the sides and the eggs nestled into the sauce. Serve garnished with cilantro.