Burmese Vegetarian Mohinga Recipe
Mohinga (မုန့်ဟင်းခါး in Burmese) is sometimes called the “national dish” of Myanmar. Traditionally, mohinga is a lentil soup made with fish, but this recipe is a vegetarian mohinga recipe. It can be made vegan by simply removing the eggs. Although not laden with the classic fish flavor, my Myanmar husband still says that this mohinga recipe reminds him of his Auntie’s mohinga that he used to eat when he was younger!
This is a very simple recipe, but it’s very nutritious. And, because there’s a fair amount of waiting time, that means that this dish can be prepared earlier in the day and put on the stove to sit while you get your evening chores done. Altogether, the actual active time with this recipe is about 30 minutes (the rest of the time is spent simply waiting for the beans to boil).
I personally view mohinga as a dinnertime recipe, but in Myanmar, this is an extremely popular breakfast food. In tea shops all across the country, mohinga is served along with the morning tea as people gather to chat and prepare the day’s affairs before going off to their jobs. The mohinga noodle is very special and I have yet to find something exactly like it where I live (my husband tells me that the process of making the noodles is complex), but many Asian-style noodles are an acceptable stand-in for those of you who can’t get your hands on real mohinga noodles (which, let’s face it, is probably most of the people reading this blog).
As with most Burmese dishes, there is a “serve yourself” aspect to mohinga. Although this aspect is less pronounced than with some other dishes, traditionally families will serve eggs, chilies or red chili paste, and chopped coriander in bowls to the side so that family members and guests may choose their favorite toppings. I personally love this tradition, so we keep this up in our household, but if you want fewer dishes it’s perfectly acceptable to evenly distribute the toppings, soup, and noodles across the serving bowls.
- 1 1/2 cups Chana Dal (yellow lentils), soak for 4-8 hours before cooking
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- Himalayan pink sea salt, to taste
- 5-7 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1/4 of large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp unrefined oil (like olive oil)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Purified water (enough to cover the lentils x2 in whichever pot you use, approximately 4-6 cups)
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- 1 green chili, chopped
- Chinese coriander, 1 stalk, finely chopped
- Noodles (udon noodles or thin rice noodles work well, DO NOT use spaghetti noodles)
- In a medium size pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium heat.
- Add spices, onion, and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent (about 3-5 minutes), then add soy sauce and saute for another minute.
- Add soaked and drained Chana Dal. Mix with onions, then add water and salt. Turn burner heat on high and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, hard-boil 3 eggs and cut them in half, and prepare the chili, coriander, and noodle. You may place the eggs, chili, and coriander on a plate so that each family member may serve themselves the amount they want (you can also serve these three items on top of the noodles and soup when it is prepared).
- The soup will take at least 1 hour to cook fully. Depending on the altitude, you may need to cook the beans longer. Wait until the beans are very soft and easily mashable. You may now add more salt if desired.
- To serve, place the noodles into bowls, and then spoon some soup on top into each bowl. Gently pull the noodles up through the soup with a fork (but not too much, part of the fun is mixing your own mohinga together!). Put the chili, eggs, and coriander on top, or serve to the side so everyone may serve themselves of these things.
- **NOTE: You can also use unsoaked lentils for this recipe. The only difference is that they will have to cook longer. I recommend soaking them, especially if you have a busy day and you won't be able to have the stove on because you're not at home. If you soak them, they'll cook faster later on.
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