Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Burmese Chicken with Fried Rice and Broccolini

You may or may not know this about us Reid Girls, but we absolutely love writing this blog. It is a constant topic of conversation, and we check our stats every day. The beauty of Blogspot is that it tells us when we have hits from different places in the world, and it’s so fun to look at the different countries people are reading us from. We’re big in Russia, and we have a few faithful followers in Germany and the UK.

When Mummy called me the other day to tell me that we have a reader in Burma, I was especially touched. Burma (also known as Myanmar) is a country in South East Asia that I must admit, I had never even heard of until I started working with refugees. In the last few years, I have worked with a number of children leaving this part of the world because of a civil war, human trafficking, poor health care and numerous other human rights violations. I had to Google Burma when I first heard about it to learn more, and I would encourage you to as well.

Sadly, like so many gorgeous countries in the world, Burma’s bad reputation precedes it, and people often don’t look past the violence. But if you do a quick Google Image search, you’ll see it’s actually a beautiful country. It is full of teak forests, has a huge coastline, and a vibrant culture. Like most Asian countries, the cuisine is varied and incredibly flavourful. It borders India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos and China. Each of those countries has its own incredible cuisine, so you can imagine the influence on Burmese cuisine. I came across a recipe for Burmese chicken right after I learned about our reader, and I knew I had to try it.

I cannot find this recipe online, but it’s from a book called “Burma” by Naomi Daguid. This recipe, despite tasting complex and amazing, is actually quite simple. Unlike many Asian recipes, you don’t need a ton of ingredients, and you’ll be able to find everything in your local grocery. But if you have an Asian store in your neighbourhood, I strongly urge you to take a trip there one afternoon to see what you can find.

You’ll need:
·      Chicken (I used boneless skinless breasts)
·      1 tbsp. garlic
·      1 tbsp. ginger
·      ½ tbsp. turmeric
·      ¼ tbsp. chili powder
·      ½ tbsp. salt
·      Splash of peanut oil
·      2 tbsp. fish sauce

I don’t often take shortcuts, but when I do I have good reason. You can buy minced garlic with ginger in a jar, and when it’s for something like a marinade or a curry, I strongly urge you to use it. Would I do this for a fresh dip? No, probably not. But since this is going on a barbecue, you can get away with it. It will just makes this recipe that much easier. Mix all of this together in a bowl and rub on the chicken. Let sit for thirty minutes in the fridge and then fire up your grill. This will cook on low medium heat for about thirty minutes.

            While you have that fired up, make your rice. This is a recipe that works really well if you have leftover rice, but you can also make it fresh. You need:

·      ½ cup of sliced shallots
·      ¼ tsp turmeric
·      3 tbsp peanut oil
·      Rice (4 servings)
·      Cup of peas (optional)
·      Lime wedges (optional- and I am mortified I had none because it would have been amazing)

Start by heating your oil and sautéing your shallots. When they are transparent, add in your turmeric and rice. Finish with peas (I just used frozen) and fry that all up. Turn it down when it gets golden and just keep it warm.

Your broccolini is the last step. This is just a skinnier, taller version of your standard broccoli. It only needs a brief sauté in the pan, with a little sliced garlic and sesame oil. Go easy on the sesame oil, because it is strong.

Plate this all in an attractive way, I sliced the chicken and put it on the rice. Fresh cilantro is never a miss when it comes to Asian cooking. Let me give you a word of advice about cilantro though. I don’t know if they grow it by the side of the road or something, but it is always absolutely filthy when I get it home. Rinse it very well, or you will be serving grit with your chicken, and that will not be pleasant at all.

I really enjoyed making this and especially enjoyed eating it. I hope that this recipe brings our Burmese reader some joy, and that this recipe honours your culture and cuisine! 

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