Well, here is a rather interesting cookbook! It has hints of familiar cuisines but Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen offers a delicious insight into an unfamiliar destination and culinary culture.
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar was once known as Burma. It shares borders with India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos and China. The food is influenced by all these very distinctive cuisines. Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma.
These recipes by MiMi Aye are vibrant and unique. Most of the ingredients are available in regular supermarkets. They don’t require cheffy skills and there’s no investment needed in new kitchen appliances or gadgets.
Perfect for entertaining
There are 100 tempting recipes in Mandalay, and I would be delighted to try all of them, but I do have some favourites. Rangoon Chickpea Fritters are simple to prepare and worth the effort. These can even be reheated, so perfect for entertaining; a nice addition to an Indian meal, too. Mandalay Bean Fritters are somewhat on the same theme and perfect as nibbles with drinks before an Asian meal, or perhaps a barbecue.
Every country has recipes for sharp-tasting condiments and Burma is no exception. Many pickles take a while to prepare but here we have Quick Rainbow Pickle and it’s made in moments; it would work well with European dishes as well as Asian fare. An ideal plate to go with salad lunches or spicy dinners.
But then there are the curry dishes and they are outstanding. Vegetarians are not forgotten in this book: Egg Curry is rich and satisfying, and most people who regularly cook Indian dishes will already have the spices needed. It takes an hour or so to prepare but the result will likely persuade you to make this quite frequently. It’s economic and perfect for both meat lovers as well as egg-eating vegetarians. This is a flavourful meal that just happens not to contain meat.
Fragrant Cinnamon Chicken is actually quite festive, containing both cinnamon and ginger along with the other spices. A wonderful winter celebration dish and making good use of cost-effective chicken thighs, which have more flavour than breasts. Those thighs are also the key ingredient in BFC – Burmese Fried Chicken.
End to any smart meal
Some Asian desserts I find too sweet but Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen has a beautiful creation which would be a delicate and sophisticated end to any smart meal. It isn’t complicated to prepare and has few ingredients. Coconut Marble Jelly is white and unfussy and could be part of a platter including fresh fruit and some chocolates.
Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen by MiMi Aye offers surprises and inspiration with its accessible recipes. It isn’t intimidating but just pushes culinary boundaries down a tasty road to Mandalay.
Mandalay: Recipes and Tales from a Burmese Kitchen
Author: MiMi Aye
Published by: Bloomsbury Absolute