A long ingredients list goes some way to explaining the sweet, sour and salty notes of this complex noodle soup, one of the national dishes of Myanmar. It typically includes banana stem, but we’ve used banana blossom.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 long red chilies, 1 finely chopped, 1 thinly sliced
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cm-piece ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch coriander, stalks and roots finely chopped, leaves chopped
- 2 tbsp ngapi (Burmese shrimp paste) (see Note)
- 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (liquid form) (see Note)
- 150 g banana blossom (see Note), thinly sliced
- 35 g (¼ cup) chickpea (besan) flour (see Note)
- 100 g (½ cup) chickpeas, cooked and crushed
- 750 ml (3 cups) fish or vegetable stock
- 400 g vermicelli rice noodles, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, drained
- 250 g firm white fish (such as barramundi), skin on, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- lime wedges, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add finely chopped chilli, turmeric, onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, coriander stalks and roots and ngapi, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until softened.
Stir in tamarind pulp and banana blossom and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until banana blossom has softened. Add chickpea flour, stirring to combine. Add chickpeas, then gradually stir in stock and simmer for 10 minutes or until soup has thickened. Add drained rice noodles, fish, tomatoes and fish sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes or until noodles and fish are just cooked.
Divide fish noodle soup among 6 serving bowls. Scatter over coriander leaves and thinly sliced chilli and serve with lime wedges.
• Ngapi (Burmese shrimp paste), tamarind pulp (liquid form) and banana blossoms are available from Asian food shops.
• Chickpea (besan) flour is thicker and grainer than refined white flour. It is available from health food shops, Asian food shops and select supermarkets.
Photography Chris Chen