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Burmese fish stew with aromatics

I was craving Asian flavours and wanted to make a quick recipe, this is the dish that popped out from my library. This dish brings forward the essence of Burmese cuisine, herby, complex and beautiful.

The fish are moist and tender and smothered in a light stew, almost like a soup that is aromatic with lemongrass, ginger, chillies and fresh turmeric. Yes, I strongly recommend fresh turmeric for this soup if you have it, it changes the flavour of the dish completely. The fresh herbs that garnish the dish add lovely notes and freshness to the stew. I served this with Thai Jasmine rice, it was a perfect combination.

This is my favourite cookbook for Burmese cuisine. Wonderful, well-researched recipes from all across Myanmar, this is a cookbook I come back to often. I also have most of Naomi Duguid's other cookbooks and absolutely admire her work, her writing and all the travel and research she puts into every one of her books.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the paste:

2-inches lemongrass, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh turmeric, or 1 teaspoon powder

1/2 cup shallots, cleaned and chopped

20 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons ginger paste

2 coriander roots and base, well washed

4-5 green chillies, or to taste

1 teaspoon salt

3-4 tablespoons water

For the stew:

8 cups water

3 tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons soybean disk, or brown miso

3 lb fish fillets. or whole fish cut thick with head

Salt, to taste

2 scallions, thinly sliced

20-25 Thai basil leaves, roughly torn

3 tablespoons cilantro, minced

Add all the ingredients for the paste to a small blender and purèe till you have a smooth paste.

Bring the water to a boil in a pot and add the tomatoes and soybean disk or miso. Boil for 10 minutes.

Add the fish and the spice paste and cook for an additional 10 minutes till the fish is cooked through. Remove from the heat and add the aromatics, scallions, basil and cilantro and stir in well.

Serve immediately with rice.

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