Located at the crossroads between China, India, and Southeast Asia, Burma has developed a rich, complex cuisine of flavour combinations. Naomi Duguid has captured the essence of the country, in her latest book, Burma: Rivers of Flavor. This recipe is taken from the book.
Almost any leftover cooked ingredient can be made into salad in Burmese cuisine, and often is. If you have leftover cooked chicken, for instance, after making chicken broth from whole legs or roasting a chicken, transform it into this refreshing salad. Serve as a light main course for lunch, or as an appetizer.
You’ll end up with about 3/4 cup fried shallots and 1 1/4 cups shallot oil, more than you need for this salad, but they both keep well and have many uses: drizzle the oil on salads or freshly cooked greens, and use a handful of shallots to finish and flavour a salad. If you are unable to get shallots, use small red onions instead.
About 2 cups large bite-sized pieces cooked chicken (cut or pull the chicken into pieces) or any other meat, see introduction
1/3 to 1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onions, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and drained
2T fresh lime juice
2t Shallot Oil
2 tsp. minced green cayenne chilli, or to taste
1T toasted chickpea flour
1 to 2T Fried Shallots
Scant 1/2 cup chopped coriander or mint, or Vietnamese coriander
For the fried shallots and shallot oil
1 cup peanut oil
2 cups (about 250g) thinly sliced Asian or European shallots, or small red onions
- Place the chicken in a shallow serving bowl. Add the spring onions and toss.
- Mix together the lime juice, shallot oil, salt, and green chilli in a small bowl or cup. Pour over the salad and, using your hands, mix thoroughly. If you have the time, let stand for 10 minutes.
- Just before serving, add the toasted chickpea flour, the fried shallots and herbs, and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
For the fried shallots and shallot oil
- Place a wide heavy pot or a large stable wok over medium-high heat and add the oil. Toss in a slice of shallot. As the oil heats, it will rise to the surface, sizzling lightly.
- When it’s reached the surface, add the rest of the shallots and lower the heat to medium. (The shallots may seem crowded, but they’ll shrink as they cook.) Stir gently and frequently with a long-handled wooden spoon. The shallots will bubble as they give off their moisture. If they start to brown early, in the first 5 minutes, lower the heat a little more. After about 10 minutes, they should start to colour. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the pan or to each other, until they have turned a golden brown, another 3 minutes or so.
- Line a plate with paper towels. Remove the fried shallots from the oil, and place on the paper towels to drain. Separate any clumps and toss them a little, then let them air-dry 5 to 10 minutes, so they crisp up and cool. Once they have cooled completely, transfer the shallots to a clean, dry, widemouthed glass jar and seal tightly.
- Once the oil has cooled, filter into another clean dry jar. Cover tightly and store in a cool dark place.
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