What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen)?

I've changed the name of this blog to What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen) because I will be getting a kitchen of my own very soon, it maybe small but will be able to produce more goodies to share with everyone!

Monday, March 03, 2014


Mohinga, literally translated as soup snack, is a much celebrated and beloved noodle soup in Myanmar.  Traditionally, served as breakfast, this comfort food is sold every where in the country.  In fact, some Burmese crown mohinga as one of their national dishes.

I first came to know about this amazing dish when one of my Burmese colleagues.  Dr Htar Htar, a plastic surgeon, made and shared this delightful dish at an office potluck and completely knocked my socks off.  I mean, it's a humble looking noodle soup that is nothing that looks and screams extraordinaire; but boy, once you have had a slurp of the soup, the well-balanced flavour of fish, herb and spice lingers on your palatte and leaving the type of craving that you wanting for the second and more.

Dr Htar Htar and her homemade mohinga.  

What I love the most of this dish is that the herb and spices work so perfectly with one another and they are easily sourced locally, or in Asian market--lemongrass, turmeric, shallot, dried chillies, onion, garlic and ginger and yet their distinctively flavour do not steal the limelight of the star, the fish.  Originally, the Burmese use catfishs to prepare this dish, but I don't take them and it's one of those fish that requires quite a bit of work to clean and get rid of the pungent smell, I used mackerel fillet instead.

There's nothing to lie about this.  The ingredient list is super long and it requires quite a bit of work.  But with the help of electric appliance such as blender, it has helped reducing the preparation work by a fraction.  I used pestle and mortar to pound the ingredients for chili paste but the same result can be achieved with just a few blitz in a blender.

The recipe is extracted and modified from here, there's a short video clip that demonstrates how to cook the dish in English language.  The fish paste can be made in large portion and it can be easily frozen for further use.

Hope you will enjoy cooking, savouring this earthy and wholesome dish, as much as I do.  Bon appétit!  

Fish flakes
200 g              mackerel fillet, marinated with 1 tsp turmeric powder (you can also use canned tuna or salmon)
1 stalk           lemongrass, only white part, bruised
3 slices          ginger
½ cup            water

Chili paste
3 stalks         lemongrass, only white part, finely chopped
2                      red chilies, deseeded, chopped
4                      dried chillies, soaked and chopped
4                      red shallots, diced
4 cloves        garlic, diced
2 cm piece   ginger, finely chopped

Fish paste
2 tbsp            peanut/vegetable oil
2 tsp              turmeric powder
2                      red onion, finely sliced
1 stalk           lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced
2 cm piece   ginger, finely sliced
2 cloves        garlic, finely sliced
2 tbsp            fish sauce

Fish broth
2L                    water
3 tbsp            chickpeas or garbanzo cooked, crushed/blended
60 g                rice powder, toasted
2 tbsp            fish sauce
4                      shallots, peeled and halved
2                      hardboiled eggs, quartered
100 g              banana trunk (optional), boiled with turmeric powder and some water
Salt and pepper to taste

600 g              vermicelli noodles, cooked and set a side

4                      sprigs of coriander, to garnish
4                      long beans, finely sliced
pinch of        dried chilli flakes

  1. 1.       To prepare the fish fillet, add the fish fillet, lemongrass, garlic and water to a large saucepan or stockpot. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the fish fillet and mash it into flakes, strain the broth to remove any impurities. Set the fish flakes aside and reserve the broth.
  2. 2.       To make the chili paste, put the lemongrass, chillies, shallots, garlic and ginger in a blender to grind them into a nice paste. Set aside.
  3. 3.       To cook the fish paste, heat the oil in a saucepan over low-medium heat and add the turmeric. Next, add the chilli paste and sauté until it’s fragrant. Add the red onion, lemongrass, ginger and garlic to cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the flaked fish and coat in the paste. Sauté over low-medium heat for 20 minutes. Continue to cook, over low heat, for another 5 minutes to infuse flavours.
  4. 4.       To prepare the fish broth, return the fish broth reserved in step 1 and water into a big pot, cook over medium heat. When the liquid is hot, add the crushed chickpeas, toasted rice powder, fish sauce, flaked fish mixture. Season with salt and black pepper. Reduce heat simmer for 30 minutes. Add the red shallots and boiled egg, then the banana trunk.  
  5. Divide the vermicelli noodles among 4 bowls. Pour the warm fish broth over the noodles. Garnish with coriander, snake beans and chilli flakes to serve.