This Burmese fried rice is a quick vegan dish, filled with shallots, peas, and a touch of turmeric. It’s perfect for lunch and dinner.
It’s not often that I come across a cookbook that captivates me enough to make me want to cook every single dish in it, but I think I’ve found a match. I was casually perusing the cookbook section of my local library when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this book: Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid.
As I thumbed through its pages, it dawned on me how little I know about Burmese cooking, or Burmese culture, really. I loved the simplicity of the recipes. Turmeric, shallots, and peanut oil are the basic building blocks to most dishes. Fresh ginger, garlic, chiles, tomatoes, limes, fish sauce, and dried shrimp are layered on to give the food more complexity.
I decided to start with the fried rice because it seemed like the best introduction to Burmese cooking. It’s a simple dish that’s often served for breakfast along with some fried eggs or other leftovers. The cooking method is slightly different from how I would prepare a Chinese-style fried rice, and I had to fight off my instincts to throw in onions, soy sauce, or five-spice powder. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe by adding ginger, garlic, and sliced scallions.
Since peas are in season, I decided to use fresh peas here, but feel free to use frozen ones if that’s more readily available.
LEARNING FROM MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Be sure to use cold, cooked rice: Traditionally, fried rice is made with overnight rice as a way to repurpose leftovers into a new dish. That’s why you want to start off this dish with cooked, chilled rice. Freshly cooked rice can be a bit mushy.
If you make this recipe, let me know! Take a photo of your creation and tag me on Instagram so that I can give you a fist bump!