Myanmese Main Dish – Beef and Pumpkin Curry

Myanmese - 001 Beef n Pumpkin stew edited re-sized

The Myanmese name for this dish is “Ametha Net Shwephayone Thee Hin”. Like you, I do have trouble with its pronunciation. As a choir, we have sung songs in the native language of many countries around the world. I had the most difficulty with Myanmese words.

Fortunately, mastering their delectable cuisine is not as difficult. Myanmese curries are much milder in taste than Malaysian and Singapore curries as their curries use only 4 base ingredients, viz onion, garlic, chilli and ginger. Even though this curry doesn’t call for blachan (nagpi, dried shrimp paste) as an ingredient, Myanmese cuisine frequently features blachan as an ingredient and fresh cilantro is a constant garnish.

My current helper is Myanmese and she was so pleased when I shared with her my little knowledge about her tribe and showed an interest in her country’s cuisine. We thoroughly enjoyed this curry. A milder curry doesn’t equate a lack of flavour or taste. I recommend this dish as a good introduction for those who are uninitiated to the world of curries from around the world.

Some comments about Ingredients

 Myanmese -002 Beef n Pumpkin stew edited re-sized

  • Beef. I took my butcher’s advice and have been using large cubes of beef shank since the presence of some tendon gives a richer flavour and a slightly gelatinous sauce. You can use chuck or chuck tender, topside or stewing beef.
  • Ground Turmeric I have not felt a need to use fresh turmeric root in my cooking except in Nasi Ulam. In fact, I much prefer to use it since fresh turmeric tends to stain my hands, knife and chopping board.
  • Chilli powder. I prefer using powder over the time consuming method of washing, soaking and grinding dried chillies which never seem to grind to a fine paste with our home blenders. I have not found any loss of flavour or taste from using powder.
  • HINT: it is a must that these powders are as fresh as possible. Ground spices loose their flavour quickly once the packet or bottle is opened. Refrigeration definitely extends their shelf life.

Preparing the spice paste

Myanmese -003 Beef n Pumpkin stew edited re-sized

STEP 1. Peel and cut the large onions into chunks.

STEP 2. Blend or use a food-processor to make a fine paste of the onion and garlic. You may have to add a tablespoon or 2 of cooking oil into the blender or food-processor to lubricate the mixture to obtain a fine paste. Next, add the chilli powder and turmeric. Pulse machine several times to get an evenly mixed paste.

Preparation of other Ingredients

Myanmese -004 Beef n Pumpkin stew edited re-sized

STEP 3. Peel and cut the pumpkin into 4 to 5 cm chunks. Season the beef with the spice paste for at least 30 mins.

HINT. as you scrape the spice paste onto the beef to marinade it, use a Tbsp of water to swirl around that blender to catch all of the paste. Add this liquid later on during cooking.

At this stage, you can leave these ingredients in the fridge, covered for cooking the next day.

Cooking the Dish

STEP 1. Heat a heavy duty pot and add in about 2 Tbsp of cooking oil. Carefully place the seasoned beef into the pot and fry the contents over medium heat till beef is lightly brown and spice paste is caramelised.

Myanmese -005 Beef n Pumpkin stew edited re-sized

STEP 2. Pour in a cup of hot water, give contents a quick stir to mix. Cover pot. Lower heat and simmer for about 40 mins or more, till beef is tender.

Myanmese -006 Beef n Pumpkin stew edited re-sized

STEP 3. Add in the pumpkin and give contents a good stir. Cook for another 10 mins. Test to ensure that both beef and pumpkin are tender. Season with salt and it is ready to be served with steamed rice.

RECIPE

Source: “The Complete Asian Cookbook” by Charmaine Solomon

Serves: 4 to 6 persons

Ingredients

  • 750 gm stewing beef or beef shank, cut into 5 cm squares
  • 500 gm peeled pumpkin, cut into 5 cm squares
  • 230 ml (1 Cup) hot water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Spice Paste

  • 2  large onions
  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground chilli powder

4 to 5 Tbsp cooking oil

Method:

1. Prepare the Spice Paste.

Peel and cut the large onion into chunks. Blend or use a food-processor to make a fine paste of the onion and garlic. You may have to add a tablespoon or 2 of cooking oil into the blender or food-processor to lubricate the mixture to obtain a fine paste. Next, add the chilli powder and turmeric. Pulse machine several times to get an evenly mixed paste.

2. Peel and cut the pumpkin into 4 to 5 cm chunks. Season the beef with the spice paste for at least 30 mins. At this stage, you can leave these ingredients in the fridge, covered for cooking the next day.

3. Heat a heavy duty pot and add in about 2 Tbsp of cooking oil. Carefully place the seasoned beef into the pot and fry the contents over medium heat till beef is lightly brown and spice paste is caramelised.

4. Pour in a cup of hot water, give contents a quick stir to mix. Cover pot. Lower heat and simmer for about 40 mins or more, till beef is tender.

5. Add in the pumpkin and give contents a good stir. Cook for another 10 mins. Test to ensure that both beef and pumpkin are tender. Season with salt and it is ready to be served with steamed rice.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a Thai Red & Green Cabbage Salad (click here) and Fried Roti Prata (click here for tips on how to fry frozen prata).

Since Chinese cuisine and ingredients have made their mark on Myanmese food,  some suitable accompanying dishes are listed below.

Seafood dishes

1. Dry Assam Seafood. Click here

2. Stuffed You Tiao (Baked).  Click here.

Meat dishes

1. Singapore Curry Chicken (spicy). Click here.

2. Paper Wrapped Chicken (Baked). Click here.

3. Chicken Breasts with ketchup. Click here.

Vegetable, Tofu and Egg Dishes

1. Broccoli and Meat/Tofu Stir Fry. Click here.

2. Pork, Spinach and Egg Stir Fry. Click here.

3. Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce & Garlic. Click here.

4. Ladies’ Fingers with Dried Prawn Sambal. Click here.

5. Bitter Gourd Lemak. Click here.

Dessert

A plate of cold, freshly cut seasonal fruits is always appropriate. In Singapore, we are fortunate to have several creameries that sell ice cream with local flavours like coconut, ice kachang and pulot hitam. Perhaps you had time to make one of the desserts listed below?

1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.

2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.

3. Sago Pudding. Click here.

4. Apple Crepes. Click here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s