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Mohinga | a Burmese Bouillabaisse

Mohinga is the unofficial national dish of Burma (Myanmar).  A lightly spiced fish soup that is served over rice vermicelli noodles and garnished with cilantro, sliced red onions, lime wedges and crispy toppings.  This Burmese food is easy to make and a great starter dish for anyone interested in learning how the Burmese chow down.

A bowl of seafood soup.

After Anthony Bourdain passed away, I started watching his series Parts Unknown on Netflix.  I had heard of it but I actually don’t watch much media anymore.  This year has been especially busy so the show was not on my radar.

His series has a lot in common with Fusion Craftiness, World inspired cuisine.  He actually goes to all of these far away places and I just live vicariously through old cookbooks and Wikipedia.  I feel like this is a good time to dive into his series.  First stop: Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The show on Myanmar is in season 1, episode 1.  I’ve heard of human rights abuses in Myanmar generally speaking but I had no idea so many average citizens spent time in prison at the hands of a paranoid government.  In the show, Anthony talks to locals and apparently the situation has gotten better.  I hope so.

Anthony and his guest chow down on a vibrant little seafood soup known as Mohinga that is commonly eaten for breakfast.  Hmm…. I think we will have this for dinner.  This soup is so common, it is the unofficial national dish of Myanmar.

How to Make Mohinga

Don’t be intimidated by this easy Burmese soup.  This recipe can be broken down into 5 easy steps:

  1. Fry your aromatics in a little bit of oil.
  2. Add your liquid and simmer.
  3. Add your seafood and simmer a little more.
  4. Serve over a bowl of noodles.
  5. Garnish with your favorites.

See?  Easy Peasey.

The ingredients for Mohinga.
A pan with onions and spices.
A bowl of seafood soup.

Now go forth and make some delicious food and share with people you know, or don’t know.  Sharing makes the World a little bit smaller.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.Desmond Tutu

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A bowl of seafood soup.

Mohinga | a Burmese Bouillabaisse

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Mohinga is the unofficial national dish of Burma (Myanmar).  A lightly spiced fish soup that is served over rice vermicelli noodles and garnished with cilantro, sliced red onions, lime wedges and crispy toppings.  This Burmese food is easy to make a great starter dish for anyone interested learning how the Burmese chow down.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs cooking oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots
  • 1 Tbs minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs lemongrass paste
  • 1 Tbs turmeric
  • 2 Tbs paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz clam juice
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • soup thickener (see notes below)
  • 3 lb seafood, your choice
  • 3 Tbs fish sauce
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
  • Vermicelli rice noodles or your favorite Asian noodle

Optional Garnishes:

  • chopped scallions
  • cilantro
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • lime wedges
  • French's fried onions or fried jalapeños

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions and shallots until soft and translucent.
  2. Add ginger, lemongrass, turmeric, paprika and stir and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add garlic, stir and cook one more minute.
  4. Add clam juice, broth and brown sugar, stir and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add your thickener of choice (see notes below).  Simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. While your soup is simmering, prepare your hard boiled eggs if you haven't already and cook your noodles according to package directions.  After cooking noodles, I always plunge in cold water and leave it there until ready to serve.  The noodles won't stick together that way and you won't have to toss them with oil.  I also store leftovers in the fridge that way.  If they dry out, they will stick together.
  7. Add seafood and cook until seafood is just cooked through.  It will turn opaque and if it's fish, will flake easily with a fork.  Shrimp will turn pink and opaque.  Seafood cooks quickly, usually 3-5 minutes in a simmering liquid depending on how thick the portions are.  Use your best judgment.  The longer you cook seafood, the more tough and chewy it becomes.
  8. Add fish sauce at the end, stir gently.  Serve over noodles and sliced egg.  Garnish.

Notes

  • I always have jarred aromatics ready to go in the fridge.  Although I love using fresh garlic, ginger and lemongrass, some recipes can be a bit too much work for me if I don't take some shortcuts.  I always have a small jar of minced garlic and ginger in the fridge, they keep for a long time.  I buy lemongrass in a tube as I need it, it has a shorter fridge life.
  • The Burmese use toasted rice powder to thicken their soups.  It's the common starch they have.  To make it, roast uncooked rice on a baking sheet in the oven at about 300 degrees until golden.  Cool and pulverize in a spice grinder.  Westerners typically use either corn starch or tapioca starch mixed in with some water to form a slurry and pour that into simmering liquid.  I prefer potato flakes.  For this recipe I actually used 1 cup of dried potato flakes.
  • Clam juice is my shortcut to making seafood broth.  It's too easy.
  • You may use your choice of seafood.  The Burmese, like most food cultures, use what's available.  Catfish is common.  I used a frozen seafood mix I found at the grocery store.  We don't have access to fresh seafood here.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 281mgSodium: 2023mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 47g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Hannah

Sunday 14th of April 2019

Who knew, Burmese cuisine! There is so much going on in the soup, but it all blends together so beautifully. And the pictures just make it look so delicious (which I can confirm that it is!).

Tina

Saturday 11th of May 2019

Ah thanks Hannah! You are my biggest fan:) Can't wait to see you again!

Susana Parker

Sunday 26th of August 2018

Mohinga? I've never heard of this! But it looks soo good. I love these soups with noodles! I would probably add more noodles than it should have. Just a personal preference!

Lisa

Friday 6th of July 2018

I so miss Anthony Bourdain... but at least we have his shows to watch to keep his memory alive. He did inspire us all to learn about other cultures through their food. This soup sounds layered with flavors and textures. I love the fresh toppings too -- not heavy, but very satisfying.

Amanda

Thursday 5th of July 2018

I love this tribute to Anthony. Parts Unknown was one of my favorite shows - he always took us on such amazing journeys with him. Such a tragedy and he will be so deeply missed by many. I remember the Myanmar episode well. What a beautiful recipe. I've never made Burmese cuisine myself and would love to try this.

Kris | How To Feed a Loon

Monday 2nd of July 2018

Wow! This literally looks like an explosion of flavor. I love cooking the aromatics in the oil to truly deepen the flavor. As I'm looking through the beautiful images and reading about the recipe, I feel as though I can smell it cooking in the kitchen. Very inspiring and wonderful recipe. Thank you for sharing! Will be making this for sure!

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