Burmese Tofu Soup (Tohu byawk)

Burmese tofu soup is actually a Burmese soup with Shan tofu.

Burma has has notable culinary influences from a few ancient tribes, as well as from India. The Mon (also seen in Laos and Isan dishes of north-eastern Thailand), Rakine and Shan people are the most notable in Burma today.

Burmese tofu soup features a beautifully textured type of tofu made from chickpea flour or yellow split peas. It has a solid and dense texture which makes it filling and it has a fantastic and unique flavour.

In the Shan areas of Burma and northern Thailand, there is always at least one vendor selling tòhú and this thick yet silky smooth yellow soup for breakfast. It is warming and popular sometimes with the inclusion of rice vermicelli noodles to give it an added texture and bulk.

People head to the markets to buy the tofu to take home already cut into cubes ready for cooking or dressed as a salad. As with other tofu it is very good for you as it contains no fat and yet is incredibly versatile. It can be marinaded or fried and served over noodles, topped with chopped herbs and stewed.

Burmese tofu soup Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
2 1/2 tsp salt
8 cups water, or more as needed
3/4 pound fresh rice vermicelli or soba noodles or 1/2 pound dried rice noodles
1/2 cup chopped coriander

Optional toppings and condiments:
About 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup shallot oil or garlic oil
2 tbsp red chili oil
1/4 cup chili and garlic sauce
1 cup or more chopped pea shoots
Small rips of green lettuce

1. Combine the chickpea flour and salt in a medium bowl and add 2 cups of the water. Whisk well to blend and remove any lumps, or pass through a sieve. Set aside.

2. Bring the remaining 6 cups water to a boil in a large pan, then lower the heat to medium. Whisk the chickpea mixture one last time, then stir continuously as you slowly add the mixture to the boiling water.

The liquid will start to foam at first as the impurities rise to the top, but do not worry about this.

3. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring to ensure that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

4. After about 5 minutes the mixture will be smooth and silky. It will be well thickened. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring for another couple of minutes. If you are not going to serve it immediately cover well to prevent a skin forming leave to cool.

5. If serving noodles bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in the noodles: fresh ones will cook in 1 or 2 minutes; dried ones will take about 5 minutes. Lift the noodles out of the water and set aside.

6. Put out any or all of the suggested toppings and condiments, as you choose.

7. Serve your delicious Burmese tofu soup with a sprinkle of coriander. Or, if serving the soup over noodles, place some noodles in each bowl, ladle the hot soup over, and sprinkle on the coriander.

Tohu Byawk

Burmese tofu soup – Tohu Byawk (legalnomads.com)

Generally at the markets the condiments are available on the table to use as people wish depending on their taste. It can be topped with peanuts, a sweet tamarind sauce, marinated chicken and fried garlic. Have your guests stir it all together before eating.

When you want to reheat Burmese tofu soup, add a little water to loosen it, since it will thicken as it cools, and heat over medium heat. Whisk a little as it heats to prevent lumps from forming.

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