Breakfast with Hsan Myint Aung: mohinga (Burmese lemongrass and fish soup) – recipe

1 year ago 117

It’s evident that Hsan Myint Aung builds his beingness astir food. He has tally Sun’s Burmese Kitchen with his wife, Erlinda, successful Blacktown for adjacent to 10 years, but adjacent connected his days off, helium is retired visiting markets and grocers, “always looking astatine each the ingredients”.

“Even erstwhile I’m not moving … That’s wherefore I cognize each the shops,” helium says, rattling disconnected a database of suburbs whose market geography he’s acquainted with.

He enjoys each cuisine, but has fond memories of Hainanese chickenhearted atom successful Singapore. “I spent astir 10 years successful Singapore, erstwhile I was young,” helium says. “I was moving connected the ships; that was astir 40 years ago. I tin archer you, I loved to devour chickenhearted rice.”

And erstwhile I nonstop him a photograph of the atom vermicelli I’ve bought to marque mohinga, helium texts maine backmost a photograph of the marque helium recommends, Golden Swallow; helium tells maine the 1 I bought, Wai Wai, is amended for frying.

Mohinga, a lemongrass and food soup, is astir arsenic robust arsenic meal gets. It’s thickened with toasted crushed rice, has a whopping 300ml of food sauce, and is served with atom vermicelli, crispy fried shallots, eggs, lime, chilli, coriander and, astatine Sun’s Burmese Kitchen, a yellowish divided pea cracker.

Hsan Myint Aung, proprietor  of Sun’s Burmese Kitchen successful  the Sydney suburb of Blacktown.
Hsan Myint Aung, proprietor of Sun’s Burmese Kitchen successful the Sydney suburb of Blacktown. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

Traditionally, the crockery would besides see finely sliced banana stem, utilized arsenic a rootlike successful parts of southbound and south-east Asia; cipher sells it here, but Hsan grows his ain astatine home.

Have You Eaten, a representation of Sydney successful cuisines, lists Sun’s Burmese Kitchen arsenic Sydney’s lone Burmese restaurant. The Burman Kitchen successful Surry Hills would erstwhile person been the second, but it closed permanently successful February 2020.

“Actually, it was precise hard to unfastened the restaurant,” Hsan Myint Aung tells me.

“Thirty years ago, erstwhile I came, determination was nothing, nary [Burmese] shops – but I would navigator astatine the church, for the community, for household friends and things similar that. After that they [said], you amended unfastened a restaurant!

“Burmese nutrient is … everybody didn’t cognize astir it. That was the existent main happening – [it was] a precise large challenge. I had to truly conflict astatine the time.”

How astir now? He laughs. “A batch of radical cognize now!”

A cook  makes mohinga astatine  Sun’s Burmese Kitchen.
A cook makes mohinga astatine Sun’s Burmese Kitchen. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

Given however uncommon Burmese nutrient inactive is successful Australia, helium takes peculiar pridefulness successful however faithfully his edifice cleaves to the cuisine; dishes similar danbauk, which helium says is similar a Burmese biryani, and kyay-o, a noodle crockery with pork offal, are signature paper items.

“It’s truly authentic, you know; I ne'er modified it.”

These days, Sun’s has a dedicated following. Located successful what was an LGA of interest during Sydney’s lockdown, the edifice stopped offering adjacent takeaway astatine the extremity of July. When their Facebook leafage announced they were reopening successful aboriginal October, the comments were filled with overjoyed customers keen to fulfill their cravings again.

After astir 10 years, what lies up for the restaurant?

“I’m bushed already!” helium says, laughing. “I’m going connected 70 – I’m not a kid!”

Joking complaints aside, though, helium says his lad and woman privation to proceed moving the store – an assurance that volition undoubtedly support his regulars rejoicing.

Hsan Myint Aung’s mohinga

Prep 30 min
Cook 1hr 20 min
Serves 4

 fried shallots, lime wedges and coriander sprigs, chilli flakes, boiled egg
Mohinga toppings, clockwise from left: fried shallots, lime wedges and coriander sprigs, chilli flakes, boiled egg Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

For the fish
300g catfish (available frozen astatine Vietnamese grocers; alternatively, usage yellowtail)
300ml food sauce
200ml water
1 tsp crushed turmeric
1 stalk lemongrass,
finely chopped

For the soup
85g rice
¼ cupful rootlike oil
5 brownish onions
, finely sliced
2 stalks of lemongrass, finely chopped
2cm ginger, grated oregon finely minced
6 cloves garlic, grated oregon finely minced
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp crushed turmeric
1 litre + 500ml water

To serve
400g atom vermicelli
2 hard boiled eggs
Crispy fried shallots oregon garlic
Chilli flakes oregon powder
1 clump caller coriander
1 lime
, quartered into wedges

Hsan Myint Aung’s mohinga
Hsan Myint Aung’s mohinga Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

Combine the food sauce, 200ml water, 1 spoon of turmeric and 1 finely chopped stalk of lemongrass successful a tiny saucepan on with the catfish. Bring to a boil implicit precocious heat, past navigator for 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat, instrumentality the catfish retired of its cooking liquid and let it to cool. Do not discard the cooking liquid; it volition beryllium utilized aboriginal to play the soup.

Once the catfish is chill capable to handle, region the skin, past cautiously assistance the nutrient disconnected the bones. Be thorough with this step; the catfish volition interruption down astir wholly erstwhile it is cooked successful the soup, truthful marque definite not to permission immoderate tiny bones in.

Toast atom successful a adust cookware implicit debased heat, keeping it moving to guarantee the atom toasts evenly. Once it is simply a airy aureate colour, astir 10 minutes, transportation it retired of the blistery cookware into a bowl. When it is chill capable to handle, grind the atom into pulverization successful a cleanable java oregon spice grinder, oregon successful a high-powered blender. You should extremity up with astir 75g of crushed atom (toasting removes a fewer grams of moisture).

Heat rootlike lipid successful a ample frying cookware implicit mean heat, past adhd 2 of the finely sliced brownish onions, 2 finely chopped stalks of lemongrass, the ginger, garlic, paprika and turmeric. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant, past adhd the cooked food and crook vigor to low. Keep cooking the substance implicit debased heat, breaking the pieces of catfish up with a spatula arsenic you go. After astir 15 minutes, the substance should person deepened successful colour somewhat arsenic the onions and ail caramelise.

Bring 1 litre of h2o to a boil successful a ample saucepan. Mix the crushed atom with remaining 500ml of acold water, then, portion stirring, dilatory determination the crushed atom slurry into the boiling water; this volition guarantee determination are nary lumps.

Add the cooked catfish mixture, past adhd the remaining finely sliced bulb and bring the cookware to a boil; erstwhile it does, crook vigor to debased and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer – Hsan Myint Aung says the longer it cooks, the sweeter the bulb volition be). Season the crockery with 4 to 5 tablespoons of the leftover food condiment utilized to navigator the catfish; set to taste.

To serve, navigator atom vermicelli successful boiling h2o according to instructions; disagreement the vermicelli among 4 bowls, past ladle crockery implicit the top. Serve topped with fried shallots oregon garlic, halved boiled eggs, chilli flakes oregon powder, coriander and a wedge of lime.