Inle Special: Burmese Fish Curry with Ginger Salad

‘Darling, lets go for a burmese tonight shall we?’

Not something I have found myself saying before, and oh what a shame!

Diverse as it’s people, Burmese cuisine is an utter delight.  A melting pot of soups, salads and scrumptious curries, first impressions led me to think Myanmar has taken the best from its bordering neighbours, India, China and Thailand.

And yet, I have never seen a Burmese take away grace a local high street.

Sometimes there is good reason for this. There’s a reason you don’t see Filipino takeaways (sorry Philippines, love your country, couldn’t get on with your food) or as recent research has informed me, Kazakhstani takeaways (mutton, mutton and more mutton), yet I can’t fathom why this food is not firmly on the menu.

Whatever the reason, for it could well be my ignorance, my tastebuds have been made very happy and are intent on re living the good stuff.

With this in mind and lots of time to spare in backpacker playground Inle Lake, Mr S and I took a cooking class with Bamboo Cooking School which started with a trip to the market.

The teacher said he would consider requests and I jumped up and down for the inclusion for fish curry and ginger salad I had been lapping up in the town for the last few nights. Lucky for me, and possibly for you, he happily obliged.

Simple, quick and so amazingly good – here are the recipes:

Burmese Fish Curry

Serves 4

Cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 3tbsp peanut oil                                  
  • 2 shallots, chopped very finely         
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped very finely or ground    
  • 1 small piece ginger, chopped very finely or ground
  • 2tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red curry powder    
  • 2 cups vegetable stock                 
  • 1tsp salt               
  • 1tbsp chicken stock (powder) or brown sugar
  • 1 lime juiced 
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed  (a can of chopped tomatoes would also work)
  • handful of coriander
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 500g  firm white fish pieces (such as cod, basa etc)


 1. Marinate Fish with salt, chicken stock, turmeric, curry powder and juice from the lime


2. Heat the peanut oil until hot and fry onion, garlic and ginger until golden

3.  Add marinated fish, cook on a medium heat for around 1 minute

4.  Add a handful of coriander and then the tomato puree. Cook for a further 5 minutes

5.  Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and the sliced green peppers. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes

6.  Voila! Serve with steamed rice. Ginger salad also makes an excellent accompaniment.


Ginger Salad

A bit more difficult to source ingredients for but well worth the trip to an asian grocery store if you ask me.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes


for the salad

  • 4 white cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large piece of ginger thinly sliced and soaked in water for 15 minutes. If you have some fresh tamarind or sauce to hand add a bit to the water.
  • handful of fried broad beans and peanut mix – this may be difficult to get hold of but was my favourite part of the salad! A good alternative would be a handful of nutty bombay mix.

for the dressing

  • 2 tbs Peanut oil
  • 1 tbs Sesame oil
  • 2 tbs ground peanuts
  • glug of fish oil
  • 1 tbs chick pea flour (makes a creamy tasting dressing)


  • 2 tbs dried crispy onion
  • 1 tbs dried crispy garlic
  • 2 tbs white sesame seeds

1.  Peel and thinly slice the ginger in to fine match sticks. Cover with water and soak for 15 minutes. If you have some tamarind to hand, add a piece / slosh of seasoning to the water.

2.  Thinly slice the cabbage leaves and tomatoes, put aside in a bowl. Drain the ginger and add to the mix.


3.  Add the fried broad bean / bombay mix


4. Add the peanut and sesame oil along with the chick pea flour, fish oil and ground peanuts.


5.  Mix all together. Put on serving plate / bowl and garnish with sesame seeds and the crispy garlic and onion. Serve!


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