I love a noodle soup. LOVE a noodle soup. So much so that if you ask most people who know me at least semi-well, they know that my greatest love and obsession is laksa and that it’s become a major pillar of my personality. I’d link here to the many Instagram posts on my personal account extolling my love for the meal, except that account is private so I’ll spared us all the indignity.
Having said that, I’m always excited to discover a new noodle soup. Myanmar (formerly Burma) borders Thailand, Laos, China, India, and Bangladesh and is home to over 100 ethnic groups and its cuisine reflects these influences and diversity. The first time I tried Burmese food was at Cafe Mandalay in London. The menu was so exciting and overwhelming that we asked the waiter to just surprise us with his favourite dishes and the meal was did not disappoint. This was over 15 years ago so I can’t remember exactly what we ate, but the memory of the meal remains.
As such, I was excited to get to Myanmar in this project. What drew me to this particular dish was a) that it was a noodle soup and b) it featured chickpea tofu. I’ve already expressed my love of chickpea flour in the panelle post, and I was excited to try it in a different setting.
Besides making the chickpea tofu – which is not hard but does require some setting time – this meal was quick to come together. Boil some noodles, fry off some onions, add blended aromatics and fry off a little longer, then spices, stock, and coconut milk and you’re ready to go!
I will admit that the version I made was a bit too subtle for me. I like bold flavours and ended up adding some chilli crisp to spice it up. I also added bok choy and broccoli because your girl loves a vegetable. However, the real star of the show was the chickpea tofu, and I’m not the only one who thought it. My partner said, unprompted “This chickpea tofu is dope” which isn’t a sentence I ever expected to hear anyone utter.
I’m not sure I chose the right recipe for Myanmar, but this meal was filling yet light, fresh, and something I would like to do more research to discover more recipes and recreate that feeling from Cafe Mandalay circa 2005.