During the Eid, the tradition in our parents’ home is to cook Danpauk or the Burmese Biryani. I used to encourage or request my wife to cook Danpauk in almost every Eid or Hari Raya. Now she had perfected the recipe of cooking Burmese Biryani and I believe she became the expert and her Biryani is the best in the world, according to my taste. She had modified to reduce oil, butter, sugar and colour from the point of view of healthy eating habit.
When I was young, my father would slaughter the chicken and all the elders, my mother, uncle Ko Tin Maung and I helped. But I have to clean the inside and outside of the house, dusted the show case cabinet where we kept the souvenirs and toys. (Our parents bought the expensive toys for us when we are ill or if our father came back from out station esp. Rangoon.) Later all the toys are kept in the show case and if we are ill only we are allowed to play with them.)
During the Eid, mother used to cook/bake the (Sa–Nwin–Ma–Kin) or Burmese Semolina Cake or (Kuih) Suchi, using Suchi, eggs and milk. This is also my favourite food.
In addition to that Shai mai or Samai or Shai Mai is also like the favourite sweet food for most of the Burmese Muslims.
Danpauk – Burmese Biryani
300g Basmati rice
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
4 tbsp margarine
250ml plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
900g chicken, chopped into large pieces
80ml cooking oil
2 tbsp ghee
5cm cinnamon stick, lightly smashed to break up
4 slices ginger
10 shallots, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
5 cloves garlic
1 star anise
5 cardamoms, lightly smashed
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp poppy seeds
10–15 cashew nuts, deep-fried
1–2 tbsp shallots crisps
- Wash and soak Basmati rice in water mixed with turmeric powder for 30–35 minutes. Drain rice in a colander.
- Heat margarine and fry ingredients (A) until fragrant. Add 2 tablespoons yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix in (B) and chicken. Fry well, then add in another 2 tablespoons yogurt and remaining salt. Continue to fry until chicken is tender. Leave aside.
- Heat oil and ghee in a clean wok. Put in cinnamon stick and fry until fragrant. Add the remaining yogurt to mix. Toss in rice to mix, then transfer the well-mixed ingredients into a rice cooker.
- Add sufficient water to a level that is 2cm above the rice. Cook rice for 20 minutes.
- Open the rice cooker and add in the precooked chicken and continue to cook until rice is done. Add garnishing before serving.
Semolina Pudding (Sa-Nwin-Ma-Kin)
2 2/3 cups semolina or farina
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 qt. coconut milk
¼ lb. butter
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
¾ cups seedless raisins
¼ cup sesame seeds or ¼ cup thinly sliced blanched almonds
. the poppy seeds to sprinkle on the top.
Stir in the semolina, sugar, and salt into the coconut milk. Let stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the butter; cook over low heat, stirring almost steadily in one direction until thickened. Remove from heat and fold in the egg whites and raisins. Turn into a buttered 2-quart baking pan or casserole. Sprinkle the sesame seeds or almonds on top. In Myanmar we sprinkle the poppy seeds on the top.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes. Cool completely; turn out and slice.
Doodhi ka Halwa
The perfect dessert to finish off a filling Burmese meal. enlarge image
(Photo by HarianH/Flickr)
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
400 ml/14 fl oz can coconut cream
185 g/6 oz/1 cup medium or fine semolina
250 g/8 oz/1 cup sugar
125 g/4 oz ghee or butter
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 eggs, separated
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring
constantly, until they are golden. Turn out onto a plate to cool, or
they will become too dark.
Dilute coconut cream with equal amount of water. Put semolina in a
large, heavy saucepan and stir in the diluted coconut milk gradually,
keeping the mixture free from lumps.
Add the sugar, put over medium heat and stir while bringing to the
boil. When the mixture boils and thickens add a small amount of ghee or
butter at a time and continue cooking until mixture becomes very thick
and leaves the sides of the pan. Add salt and ground cardamom and mix
well. Remove from heat and beat in egg yolks. Stiffly beat egg whites
and fold in.
Turn mixture into a buttered 22 cm (9 in) square cake pan or ovenproof
dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds liberally over
semolina mixture. Bake at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F) for 45 minutes
to 1 hour or until well risen and golden brown. Cool in the dish, then
cut into large diamond-shaped pieces.
Serve as a sweet snack or dessert.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)
Shai mai or Samai or Shai Mai
Traditionally the Oriya version of kheer is speckled with fried cashews and raisins and served at festive occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and religious festivals. Although white sugar is most commonly used, adding gur (date syrup) as the sweetener is an interesting variation that is also relished in Orissa.
North Indian, Pakistani, Afghan and Nepalese versions
In Nepal, on the fourth month of the solar calendar, it is a tradition to eat Kheer. The dish is also consumed at Muslim weddings and prepared on the feasts of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. A similar dessert, variously called fir-ni, phir-ni or phir-nee, is eaten in North India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Today, restaurants offer fir-ni in a wide range of flavors including apricot, mango, fig, saffron and custard apple.
In South India, coconut milk is also sometimes used instead of milk.