Sunday, August 20, 2017

Comfort food for heavy weather

If the rainy monsoon weather has you down, don’t worry: This week’s recipe is easy to manage, keeping you out of the kitchen and curled up nice and cosy.

Chunky tomatoes and pae-lun sour and spicy soup. Photo: PhyoChunky tomatoes and pae-lun sour and spicy soup. Photo: Phyo

Inspired by Mexican-style bean soup, I’ve opted to make a soup with chunky tomatoes and pae-lun beans. I love the texture of pae-lun beans: They’re normally paired with steamed sticky rice in Myanmar, but they’re also a great substitute for red kidney beans. This soup is perfect for vegetarians, and for meat-lovers, I would just add beef mince and use chicken stock instead vegetarian stock.

My second comfort-food recipe is a simple potato salad. It’s perfect paired with roast dinners, or any time you want something cool as a side dish.

Chunky tomatoes and pae-lun sour and spicy soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions (finely diced)
8 tomatoes (chopped into chunks)
½ cup raw pae-lun (beans)
1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce
1 handful chopped coriander
4 cups Massel vegetable (or chicken) stock (dissolve 2 teaspoons stock powder in 1 litre water)
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
corn chips or tortillas (to serve)


Boil the tomatoes on a medium heat until the skins are broken. Let the tomatoes cool then peel the skins off and discard. Roughly chop the cooked tomatoes.

Soak the beans in water overnight. Discard the used water, and then boil in fresh water gently until the beans become soft.

Heat a stock pot over a medium heat and sauté the diced onion in olive oil. When the onions turn a golden colour, add the chunks of tomato. After two-three minutes, add the boiled beans.

Pour the stock into the pot and mix in the Tabasco sauce and sugar (for balancing the acidity in the tomatoes), and heat until boiling. When the liquid starts to bubble, turn down the heat and let simmer for at least 45 minutes. Add half of the coriander, and salt and black pepper to taste.

To serve, pour into bowls and garnish with remaining coriander. Serve with corn chips or roasted tortillas.

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