Burma: Rivers of Flavor
Workman, 2012 (2012)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ere's a beautiful book for anyone interested in South East Asia, Naomi Duguid's
Burma: Rivers of Flavor
- a combination of travel book and cookbook in a delightful coffee table presentation, filled with striking color photographs.
he author tells us, '
Burma's culinary scene today is rich and multilayered.
' She avoids politics in the book but uses the name
rather than the official
because historically the name "Myanma" was used for only a small area, the central valleys where the dominant Bamar population lived.
' The volume is filled with full page color photographs that make the reader want to hop on a plane and share these scenes directly.
he meat of the book is, of course the central recipes, but Duguid also introduces us to
The Place and the People
(the country's history, regions and different ethnic groups). She covers
Flavors and Dishes
- the basic pantry, spectacular salads, central soups, mildly hot curries, fish and seafood, meat, rice and noodles, sweet treats, cooking tools, and serving suggesions for Burmese food.
, she addresses pantry staples ('
peanut oil, dried red chiles, turmeric powder, dried shrimp, fish sauce, shrimp paste, and tamarind pulp - and long-keeping perishables such as limes, shallots, gralic, and ginger
') as well as prepared ingredients to make ahead. The recipes themselves are divided into:
Fish and Seafood
Beef and Pork
Condiments and Sauces
ll the salads entice me but I'll have to start with the
shan tofu salads
. The soups are just as unusual, from
fish soup with lemongrass and chiles
kachin rice powder soup with chicken and ginger
intrigues me as do
new potatoes with spiced shallot oil
. How about
crispy anchovies with chile and ginger
fish cakes and fish balls
(made with tilapia, shallots, garlic and ginger) to go with it?
'm always looking for new chicken recipes and will definitely try
minced chicken with galangal and tomato
mandalay noodles with chicken curry
. And in sweets, I love
fried sesame-seed bananas
, so must try the recipe here soon. And although I don't normally use many of the ingredients needed for these recipes, they do seem to be popping up in local grocery stores much more often nowadays.
ravel tidbits for different regions are scattered throughout this lovely book, which ends with a section on
Traveling in Burma
now that '
the country's politics are more open
of terms and ingredients; and an
. if you have any interest in this fascinating country or its cuisine, don't miss this remarkable volume.
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