Shan State: Chickpea Tofu Fritters

I am not going to sit around here and pretend I have always known how to make chickpea tofu. I do not. This is something I poked around and made calls back home because I got desperate and needed to satisfy my Shan / Burmese food cravings while being quarantined here in my East London flat. Not sure who even visits this old site anymore, but I am bored out of my mind right now and will just post my cooking misadventures here.

These chickpea fritters – what we call “tohu kyaw” back home – are not only easy to make and tasty but they are also supposedly healthy. To me personally, these fritters have an added benefit of memories of breakfast dates with my mother. What an incredible way to eat chickpea, too.

You can easily order chickpea flour or gram flour on Amazon, or buy it in some local grocery chains or health stores. I have not been able to get my hands on regular flour, but chickpea flour, no problem!

  • 80g or 3/4 cup chickpea flour
  • A dash of turmeric powder
  • A dash of salt
  • Water

Mix chickpea flour, turmeric powder, salt and 200ml water. On stove top, boil one cup of water. Pour the mixture in, lower the heat to simmer. Stir for about 3-4 minutes. It will start to thicken. Then, pour into a mould of your choice and let cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once you have the block ready, cut up into mini-triangles – the classic tohu kyaw shape. You do not need additional breading, just fry in hot (olive) oil for a few minutes. Do not rush to turn. My next experiment is to see if I can just use the oven – not at all the traditional method – to save oil and reduce the number of my visits to the grocery store.

The traditional dip for these fritters often involves tamarind paste, raw garlic and fish sauce, but if that is not your …thang, just go to town with Sriracha or any hot sauce. Back home, you eat with pickled mustard greens but kimchi will do. Again, not to bastardise the real thing but this is just my pandemic adaptation!

You can use the remainder of the chickpea tofu (if any) to make ALL OTHER TOFU RECIPES. Traditionally, you can turn into a tofu salad with lime leaves and some soy sauce, or make a tofu curry.

I miss Yangon.

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