Burma: Rivers of Flavor

Burma: Rivers of Flavor

by Naomi Duguid
4.0 4

Hardcover

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Burma: Rivers of Flavor 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
minidacshundmom1 More than 1 year ago
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.