Burma: Rivers of Flavor

( 4 )

Overview

Winner, IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary Travel (2013)

Naomi Duguid’s heralded cookbooks have always transcended the category to become “something larger and more important” (Los Angeles Times). Each in its own way is “a breakthrough book . . . a major contribution” (The New York Times). And as Burma opens up after a half century of seclusion, who better than Duguid—the esteemed author ofHot Sour Salty Sweet—to introduce the country and its ...

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Overview

Winner, IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary Travel (2013)

Naomi Duguid’s heralded cookbooks have always transcended the category to become “something larger and more important” (Los Angeles Times). Each in its own way is “a breakthrough book . . . a major contribution” (The New York Times). And as Burma opens up after a half century of seclusion, who better than Duguid—the esteemed author ofHot Sour Salty Sweet—to introduce the country and its food and flavors to the West.

Located at the crossroads between China, India, and the nations of Southeast Asia, Burma has long been a land that absorbed outside influences into its everyday life, from the Buddhist religion to foodstuffs like the potato. In the process, the people of the country now known as Myanmar have developed a rich, complex cuisine that mekes inventive use of easily available ingredients to create exciting flavor combinations.

Salads are one of the best entry points into the glories of this cuisine, with sparkling flavors—crispy fried shallots, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a dash of garlic oil, a pinch of turmeric, some crunchy roast peanuts—balanced with a light hand. The salad tradition is flexible; Burmese cooks transform all kinds of foods into salads, from chicken and roasted eggplant to spinach and tomato.And the enticing Tea-Leaf Salad is a signature dish in central Burma and in the eastern hills that are home to the Shan people.

Mohinga, a delicious blend of rice noodles and fish broth, adds up to comfort food at its best. Wherever you go in Burma, you get a slightly different version because, as Duguid explains, each region layers its own touches into the dish.

Tasty sauces, chutneys, and relishes—essential elements of Burmese cuisine—will become mainstays in your kitchen, as will a chicken roasted with potatoes, turmeric, and lemongrass; a seafood noodle stir-fry with shrimp and mussels; Shankhaut swei, an astonishing noodle dish made with pea tendrils and pork; a hearty chicken-rice soup seasoned with ginger and soy sauce; and a breathtakingly simple dessert composed of just sticky rice, coconut, and palm sugar.

Interspersed throughout the 125 recipes are intriguing tales from the author’s many trips to this fascinating but little-known land. One such captivating essay shows how Burmese women adorn themselves withthanaka,a white paste used to protect and decorate the skin. Buddhism is a central fact of Burmese life: we meet barefoot monks on their morning quest for alms, as well as nuns with shaved heads; and Duguid takes us on tours of Shwedagon, the amazingly grand temple complex on a hill in Rangoon, the former capital. She takes boats up Burma’s huge rivers, highways to places inaccessible by road; spends time in village markets and home kitchens; and takes us to the farthest reaches of the country, along the way introducing us to the fascinating people she encounters on her travels.

The best way to learn about an unfamiliar culture is through its food, and inBurma: Rivers of Flavor,readerswill be transfixed by the splendors of an ancient and wonderful country, untouched by the outside world for generations, whose simple recipes delight and satisfy and whose people are among the most gracious on earth.

2013 IACP Cookbook Award Winner for Culinary Travel

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Duguid’s latest culinary immersion unveils food customs from Burma (Myanmar) where more than a century of civil unrest and decades of seclusion hid a remarkably enduring culinary tradition. Duguid (Toronto-based author of award winning Flatbread and Flavors and Hot Sour Salty Sweet) opens a doorway into modern Myanmar life now characterized by budding optimism and increased accessibility. As a culinary educator in Thailand for 30 years, Duguid eventually traveled to neighboring Burma. In this collection of 125 recipes, she creates a treasury of Burma’s cuisine where Asian, Indian, and Western colonial culture intersect. There is information on how to plan a Burmese meal and how to stock a Burmese pantry with basics: turmeric, shallots, dried shrimp powder; ginger, lime, lemongrass, chile pastes, and curries make for a vibrant, aromatic cuisine. Silky Shan soup, which yields a chickpea-thickened breakfast comfort food, fish stew with aromatics, and coconut sauce noodles with chicken are characteristic “meal-in-a-bowl” Burmese fare. Duguid’s portrait of Burma’s rich food heritage contains vivid glimpses of the people who create it along with cultural insight and a dash of travel advice. It transports readers to an imaginary world in their own kitchens. A colorful immersion into the daily market and table of the Burmese people, this volume is an invitation to celebrate the Burmese people and their transformation. (Oct.)
multiple
“Duguid is part anthropologist, part brilliant cook, and her recipes simply work in American kitchens. Many dishes in Burma will seem entirely fresh to palates already familiar with Thai or Vietnamese food. . . . Duguid has mastered the arc of flavor development. She writes with deep, local, friendly authority.” —Cooking Light

“Simple, distinctive home cooking.” —Food & Wine

“Duguid’s well-written recipes . . . will make readers yearn to get chopping, sizzling, and tasting.” —Sacramento Bee

“This stunning book is part cookbook, part culinary anthropology, and, throughout, a feast for the eyes." —Celebrated Living

“A treasury of Burma’s cuisine . . . . Duguid’s portrait of Burma’s rich food heritage contains vivid glimpses of the people who create it along with cultural insight and a dash of travel advice.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review (Burma is one ofPublishers Weekly's Top 10 Cookbooks for Fall)

“Satisfy your taste for adventure with Naomi Duguid’s Burma: Rivers of Flavor. Part cookbook, part travelogue, Duguid introduces the salads, stews and meats of Burma and explores the culinary crossroads between China, India, and Southeast Asia.” —Greenwich Time

From the Publisher
“Duguid is part anthropologist, part brilliant cook, and her recipes simply work in American kitchens. Many dishes in Burma will seem entirely fresh to palates already familiar with Thai or Vietnamese food. . . . Duguid has mastered the arc of flavor development. She writes with deep, local, friendly authority.” —Cooking Light

“Simple, distinctive home cooking.” —Food & Wine

“Duguid’s well-written recipes . . . will make readers yearn to get chopping, sizzling, and tasting.” —Sacramento Bee

“This stunning book is part cookbook, part culinary anthropology, and, throughout, a feast for the eyes." —Celebrated Living

“A treasury of Burma’s cuisine . . . . Duguid’s portrait of Burma’s rich food heritage contains vivid glimpses of the people who create it along with cultural insight and a dash of travel advice.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review (Burma is one ofPublishers Weekly's Top 10 Cookbooks for Fall)

“Satisfy your taste for adventure with Naomi Duguid’s Burma: Rivers of Flavor. Part cookbook, part travelogue, Duguid introduces the salads, stews and meats of Burma and explores the culinary crossroads between China, India, and Southeast Asia.” —Greenwich Time

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579654139
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 132,786
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Naomi Duguid is a writer, photographer, great cook, and intrepid traveler who explores the world through the lens of food. She is a contributing editor of Saveur magazine and writes the bimonthly “Global Pantry” column in Cooking Light. Every winter she conducts an intensive cultural-immersion-through-food course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, called ImmerseThrough, and also guides a food-focused tour to Burma. Duguid is the author of, most recently, Burma: Rivers of Flavor. Her earlier books, all co-written with Jeffrey Alford, are Flatbreads and Flavors;HomeBaking; Seductions of Rice; Hot Sour Salty Sweet; Mangoes and Curry Leaves; and Beyond the Great Wall. Her weekly posts at www.naomiduguid.blogspot.com explore ideas about food and life; she can be reached at naomiduguid.com. Her next project is a book that celebrates Persian culinary traditions, tentatively titled The Persian World.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This astonishing compendium of Burmese country foods is a travel

    This astonishing compendium of Burmese country foods is a travel guide as well as a cookbook. Duguid has long experience in South Asia, and has worked hard to translate foodstuffs and measurements into something Western cooks can create in their own homes. She tells stories, too, of where she gets the recipes and how she’s seen ingredients used. She tells of places she’s visited and people she’s met—after a couple hours with this gorgeously photographed book one feels as though one had spent a week away. It is positively transporting.

    Any aspiring visitor to Burma should have a look at this to get a sense of what one will encounter. Duguid makes one comfortable with local greens, and discusses how, despite Burma’s long coastline, river fish are most prized. Contrary to the expectations of many, not all dishes contain red-hot chilies—often these are condiments that one can add to one’s dish after cooking, along with a series of herbs or pastes, so that one may moderate one’s intake.

    Interestingly, Duguid explains that Burma may be a vegetarian haven, for many dishes are meatless or can be modified for meatless cooking, using a fermented soybean paste dried into a cracker “tua nao” for flavoring instead of fish sauce or shrimp paste. She introduced me to “Shan Tofu,” a chickpea-flour tofu that she calls “one of the great unsung treasures of Southeast Asia.” Besan, or chickpea flour, is whisked into water and heated on a stove until shiny and thick, poured into a shallow dish to cool. It resembles a cooling polenta in texture, but holds together in soups or salads, and it can be sliced or cubed, eaten plain or fried. I made a brilliant vegan Ma-Po Tofu with it and I’m going to try it “savory baked” as well.

    Another intriguing dish I’d like to try immediately is a porridge made of jasmine rice and peanuts which resembles oatmeal but which is spiced with chili oil and blanched greens, fried shallots and crushed roasted peanuts. It is a blank canvas on which to riff one’s highly flavored specialties. Duguid suggests this sauce can be amended to become a sort of white pasta sauce to serve over rice noodles…adding ingredients until one has a meal-sized mixture of food held together with a spiced rice paste. Very intriguing.

    Every library should have a copy of this book. It is a beautiful, recent introduction to life in Burma and it is indispensable for a traveler.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Beautiful photography, but I'm sad to say that this cookbook is

    Beautiful photography, but I'm sad to say that this cookbook is almost inacessible even for readers like me who have lots of access to a variety of ethnic food markets. After the sourcing problems, you run into really, really adventuresome preparations--too much groud shrimp for my liking, for example. I'm a veteran international cook, believing that if I can't get there with my travel money (non-existent), I want a trip into culture and cuisine. "Burma" is just too far for me to go.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

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    Posted October 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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