A Thai/Burmese restaurant in our neighbourhood gave us an introduction to Burmese food many years ago, namely Burmese curries. They include many similar ingredients to Thai curries although they don't typically use coconut milk or kaffir lime. I used to reproduce one at home with the aid of a cookbook recipe that would have my boys raving that it tasted exactly the same as the one down the street. These curries were always meat based so it's something I've been keen to replicate with the aid of some mock meat.
This was in fact my second attempt at a mock meat version. When I first gave this a shot and it didn't taste quite right, I realised that I had used the wrong recipe. There are a couple of Burmese curry recipes in my cookbooks and I had completely forgotten which one I used to make. This time it turned out much closer to how we can recall it tasting although it still wasn't perfect in my mind. It was a dry curry rather than saucy which may have been due to using mock meat; that stuff really seems to absorb a lot of liquid.
People who aren't fond of mock meat may find that this recipe works well with tempeh which is something I will try at some stage. The amount of chillies could also be decreased to suit personal spice preferences. It was perfectly spiced for us which means it could be too spicy for others with lower heat tolerance. It's also quite a simple meal to put together. Preparing the paste is the most labour intensive task and once that's out of the way, it's just a matter of simmering with the occasional stir.
Burmese Curry (Adapted from Taste of Thailand by Kit Chan)
3 dried red chillies, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
3 small shallots, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons roughly chopped ginger
1 teaspoon roughly chopped galangal
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
300g "beef" chunks
1 cup water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon tamarind puree
Pound the chillies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and galangal into a rough paste with a mortar and pestle. Add one teaspoon of the
Heat a pan over medium heat, add the "beef" chunks and the paste and stir frequently for 5 minutes. Stir in a cup of water along with the turmeric and dark soy sauce. Cook over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The curry will be quite dry after this time.
Add the remaining teaspoon of