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Fragrant Burmese Curry

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
May 10, 2010
File under: Healthy Eating, Vegan

Photo Credit: Joseph A. Garcia

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma is an exotic land of temples, pagodas and colorful festivals bordered on all sides by Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh. The countries of Southeast Asia maintain distinct identities, however the cuisines share many staple ingredients and cooking methods.

What makes the cuisine of Burma so interesting is how it has taken the influence of its neighbors – Thailand, India, and China – and created a distinct character.  Chinese and Indian eateries predominate and the cuisine tends to fall somewhere between Chinese and Thai and is often described as a bit richer than Chinese and somewhat less spicy than Thai food.

Traditional cookbooks call for preparing Southeast Asian dishes with a variety of complex ingredients, however our tasty Burmese Curry is simple to prepare. Diced potatoes and lite coconut milk give body to this velvet textured curry.

Common herbs and spices and wholesome alternatives make it possible for the health conscious cook to prepare a Burmese style dish with a healthier bottom line that maintains the character of the traditional dish.

Serve this delicious curry with fragrant Jasmine or Basmati rice.

Fragrant Burmese Curry

8 Servings

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh grated gingerroot
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1 large red onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped red pepper
3 cups diced potatoes, peeled
2 (6 ounce packages) Soy ‘chicken strips’ or seitan
1 (15-ounce can) garbanzo beans
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric,
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup vegetarian broth
1 (14-ounce can) lite coconut milk
1 Tablespoon tamari

Heat oil, crushed pepper and minced garlic over medium high heat in an electric skillet or Dutch oven, for 1 minute.  Add gingerroot, shallot, onion and peppers. Saute for 3 minutes and add potatoes. Cook for 8 minutes or until potatoes begin to soften, stirring frequently. Add soy ‘chicken’ or seitan to the pan along with garbanzo beans, diced tomato, turmeric, ground ginger and cinnamon sticks. Cook mixture for 8 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to low.  Add broth, coconut milk and tamari. Simmer curry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fragrant Burmese Curry

Nutrition Analysis per serving: 2 cups

Protein 20g, Carbohydrate 22g, Fiber 5g, Fat 6g,
Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 40mg. Sodium 438 mg.

Calories 247

Notes on Ingredients

Tamari- Tamari is a wheat-free and naturally processed soy sauce with a richer and more mellow flavor. Available at health food stores, Asian markets, and many supermarkets.

Soy ‘Chicken’ style strips – Wholesome alternative available in the cold case at health food stores and some supermarkets. Look for Yves Veggie Cuisine Meatless Chicken Strips, Light Life Smart Strips Chick’n Style

Seitan or Wheat Meat (Wheat Gluten) is available in traditional or seasoned varieties: vegetarian stir fry or chicken styles.  Look for White Wave Seitan in the cold case of health food stores and many supermarkets.

Gingerroot – Knobby root with a pungent aromatic ginger flavor that is peeled and grated before adding to the recipe

Turmeric – Earthy ground spice that adds the characteristic vibrant yellow color to curries.

Lite Coconut Milk – Lower in fat than traditional coconut milk and widely available in supermarkets and health food stores

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV, Follow Marie on Twitter:

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An alternative approach to health, wellness and disease prevention. Marie Oser and her team of bloggers bring you creative natural solutions to issues affecting our health and wellbeing.

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