Curried Fish and Noodle Soup (Mohingha) Recipe

Curried Fish and Noodle Soup (Mohingha) Recipes

Ingredients :

2 lb (1 kg) catfish fillets

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

2 lemongrass stalks, smashed and each one tied into a knot

4 cups (32 fl oz/1 liter) water


Spice paste -

3 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces

1 inch (2.5cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic

1 lemongrass stalk, tender midsection only, chopped

2 fresh red chiles, seeded and roughly chopped

1 tsp dried shrimp paste

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

3 tbsp peanut oil

4 cups (32 fl oz/1 liter) thin coconut milk

1 cup (4 oz/125g) thinly sliced bamboo shoot

2 tbsp chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour or toasted rice powder mixed with 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60ml) water to make a smooth paste

2 tbsp fish sauce

salt to taste

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

3/4lb (375g) thin fresh egg noodles or dried rice vermicelli


Accompaniments -

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges

2 lemons, cut into wedges

1 cup (1 oz/30g) fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

1 white onion, finely sliced

1/2 cup (1.5 oz/45g) fried shallots

Method :

Cut the fish fillets into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes. Put into a bowl and toss with the salt and turmeric to mix well. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. Put hte fish, lemongrass and water into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a bowl and set aside. Reserve the stock, discarding the lemongrass.

To make the spice paste, in a mortar or blender, combine the onions, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chiles, dried shrimp paste and turmeric and pound or process to a smooth paste.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the peanut oil until it is almost smoking. Carefully add the spice paste - it will spatter in the hot oil - and stir immediately to incorporate it with the oil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently, stirring very few minutes. If the mixture seems too dry and without oil, stir in some water, re-cover, and continue simmering until the oil returns and appears at the edge of the paste. This step should take 10-12 minutes total. Uncover, raise the heat to high, and add the reserved fish stock, thin coconut milk, and bamboo shoot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the bamboo shoot is tender, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the chickpea or rice powder paste, and stir until the stock begins to thicken, 1-2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and fish pieces and simmer together for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Meanwhile, if using egg noodles, bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until the water boils a second time. Cook until the noodles are tender, 1-2 minutes longer. Drain in a colander, rinse with warm water, and drain again. If using rice vermicelli, soak in warm water for 15 minutes, drain and then boil for 1 minute and drain.

Arrange the egg and lemon wedges, coriander, onion slices and fried shallots on a platter. Divide the noodles among individual bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and serve immediately. Each diner squeezes a lemon wedge into his or her bowl and adds accompaniments as desired.

Serves 6

Note - Soup is common breakfast fare throughout Asia. Each country has its favorite, and Myanmar is no exception. Mohingha is quintessential hawker food, and most home cooks rarely make the dish, relying instead on favorite local vendors. Catfish makes the best stock, but other fish, such as snapper, cod, or halibut, may be used. In Myanmar, where banana trees are plentiful, slices from the heart of the trunk are added. Bamboo shoots make an acceptable subsbitute.

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