Just before Christmas, I had the wonderful opportunity of being invited to a Burmese home for a cooking class and feast. Chef Aung Myo Min and his family are refugees from Burma / Myanmar. He was a chef at a restaurant in Malaysia for many years before they were resettled in the US. Chef Aung Myo comes from the Yangon area in southern Burma as does his wife, Inzali. Inzali speaks some English and she explained that Chef Aung Myo’s grandparents and earlier generations used to cook for royalty in Burma. Here in Seattle, he is a stay at home dad to their precocious 4 year old.
Chef Myo is a master in the kitchen and you can tell that cooking is his passion. As you can imagine, I learned a lot that day in his kitchen. We were in his tiny and spotless apartment kitchen in Kent, WA but might as well have been in a city in Burma. We made goat curry, a vegetarian lentil curry that was similar to Indian Daal, and a papaya salad though we got to taste more dishes. Though we started at noon, by the time we sat down to the feast for an early dinner at 4pm, dusk had already fallen. My husband called it the best curry he’d ever eaten. It was very flavorful, the goat tender, the spices perfectly blended together with no single flavor dominating.
I would love to share with you all the recipe that I wrote down for the goat curry. I wrote down the ingredients and steps as I saw them in Chef Aung Myo’s kitchen. With the copious amounts of onion and garlic in the dish that I cannot eat due to my food issues, I was not able to cook this again at home. If you cannot get goat meat, you can make this curry with lamb or chicken.
Burmese Goat Curry
- 4 lbs goat meat, cut into 3 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 7 dry red chilis
- 10 whole cloves
- 7 green cardamom
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 2 star anise, broken in half
- 1/4 cup onion paste (blend yellow onion in a food processor or very finely chop up onion)
- 1/4 cup garlic paste (process similarly to onion)
- 1/4 cup minced ginger (you can use a grater)
- 1/4 cup lemongrass (remove the thick outer skin and then pound with a mortar and pestle or cut into 2 inch pieces and food process)
- 1/4 cup red chili powder (the medium spicy chili powder from the Indian store will work great)
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 cup water to simmer
- 3 teaspoons salt
Marinade the meat with turmeric and sugar, cover and refrigerate while you prepare the other ingredients.
Heat the oil in a large pot or wok over medium and sizzle the whole spices. Add the marinated meat and the onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass pastes and the red chili powder. Mix well and add a 1/2 cup of water. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes. If the gravy starts sticking to the pot at any time, add more water.
Mix in the tomatoes, fish sauce, salt and another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water as needed. Simmer on low, covered, for another 30 minutes or till the meat is cooked and tender. You should have a thick gravy at the end. If you added too much water, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Serve with rice.