Ngayokekaung Chinye – Burmese Pepper Soup

The theme for this months AWED(A Worldly Epicureans Delight) Event started by DK, is Burma. I was really excited about this because I have Burmese neighbors who happen to have South Indian heritage. And Burmese food, is a mixture of the 125 ethnic cultures that it holds, and so is as versatile as Indian cuisine is. In all excitement, I got two books from the library that showcased Burmese cuisine. ‘Flavors of Burma’ by Susan Chan and ‘Under the Golden Pagoda’ by Aung Aung Taik. I particularly loved the latter.

As I went through these two books, what amazed me, was how rich Burmese culture is and the cultural similarities that we share with Burma. I also should say that it was a great challenge to pick vegetarian recipes from Burmese cuisine. Although it is a Buddhist country, Burmese cuisine is mostly based on meat and seafood and even their vegetable dishes have either shrimp powder or fish sauce in it.

This particular soup is very similar to our ‘rasam’. It also looks like the morphed version of the anglicanized ‘Mulligatawny soup’, which is the actual tamil word – ‘Milagu Thanni’ .  Ironically, the literal translation of ‘Ngayokekaung Chinye’ also means Pepper water. I made this soup and enjoyed it for a light lunch along with a Burmese Salad. (Recipe to follow)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, pounded in a mortar
1 tsp ginger, chopped
1 tbsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp pepper powder
2 bay leaves
1 cup tamarind water
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4 cups water

Heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, pepper and bay leaves and saute stirring frequently until the onion softens. Add the tamarind water, vinegar, stock, salt, sugar and water. Cover and let simmer over low heat for 30-45 mins. Serve hot!

Verdict: The soup was warm and comforting…not too spicy though. The onions and garlic added great flavor to the soup. I dipped a piece of toast into the soup and enjoyed it for lunch.

I am also sending this to the ‘Cooking with Seeds – Pepper’ Event started by Priya and hosted by Padma.

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