Thursday, September 21, 2017

Beans from Bagan

This week I introduce an authentic Burmese ingredient: pone yay gyi. It’s a paste or powder made from the bean horse gram (pae pi sut), and the best pone yay gyi comes from Bagan. It has a dark red-brown colour, and is available at supermarkets as well as wet markets and some convenience shops.

Photos: Yu YuPhotos: Yu Yu

Most often, pone yay gyi shows up in recipes for pork salad and curry. It’s a simple ingredient to use, and it is also very nutritious. Inspired by Australian modern cuisine, here I have melded the flavours of pone yay gyi and garlic to make a pan-fried pork salad.

The dressing recipe derives from one my mom used to make. She fried pone yay gyi paste with dried shrimp. My sisters and I loved it and would sneak more than a few tastes before dinner was ready. By the time my mum had the meal on the table, the fried paste would be nearly gone. Then we were in trouble.

Pork salad with pone yay gyi Serves 6

• 400-450g pork tenderloin

• 2 packs dried pone yay gyi powder

• 3 onions

• 8 cloves of garlic

• 3 fresh green chillies

• 1/3 cup vegetable cooking oil

• 3 tbsp dried shrimp powder

• 2 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce

• 1.5-2cm cube of ginger

Wash the pork and dry well, with kitchen paper if needed. Cut the pork into 5cm (about 2 inch) lengths.

Grate the ginger finely. Marinate the pork in the ginger and soy sauce overnight in the fridge.

Take the pork out of the fridge 45 minutes before cooking. Slice the onions and soak in water. Crush the garlic and set aside.

Make the pone yay gyi paste by mixing with 5 tablespoons of water per pack. Mix until it is consistent. Set aside.

Add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil to a wok, and sauté the garlic. As soon as the garlic aroma comes out, add the paste and stir-fry 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Squeeze the water out of the onions and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Lay them on a plate.

Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a non-stick pan. On medium heat, fry the pork for 2 minutes and cover with a lid. Turn the pork and fry, covered, for another 2 minutes. Switch off the heat, and let rest 3 minutes. Reserve the meat juices.

Slice the pork thinly and arrange on top of the onions. Cut the chillies finely and sprinkle on top.

Heat the pone yay gyi paste on low. Add remaining oil and meat juices. Stir well.

Spoon some sauce onto the pork. Serve the remaining sauce in a bowl. Serve the pork as an entrée or with steamed rice for a meal.

Add salt to taste, but be aware that salt can alter the flavour of pone yay gyi so test it first.