This is a recipe that my mother recalls eating during the nine days of the vegetarian festival. Each year on the first day of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually late September or early October, it was a tradition that the Chinese descendants followed in order to gain merit. Vegetarian in Burmese literally translate as ‘without killing’.
The unusual combination of purple yam and peanuts make the soup hearty and surprisingly taste very similar to the traditional fish noodle soup.
for the soup
2 medium onions, quartered
3 garlic cloves
2cm fresh ginger
6 tablespoons peanut oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons ground rice, roasted
1.5 litres vegetables stock/water
75g raw peanuts, shelled
10 shallots, peeled
250g purple yam, peeled & cubed
peanut oil to deep fry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
plenty of black pepper
500g rice noodles, cooked
fresh coriander, chopped
lemon or lime, quartered
dried chilli flakes
crispy onion or gourd fritters
Using a pestle and mortar, pound the onion, garlic and ginger into a coarse paste. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion paste for 5-10 mins until softened. Stir in ground turmeric and paprika.
Pour in the ground rice then water, stirring until the ground rice is incorporated. Add peanuts and shallots, bring to the boil. Let the soup simmer while you prepare the yam.
Pour enough oil in a small sauce pan to deep fry, about a third of the way. Fry the yam in batches until lightly golden all over. This will prevent the yam becoming mushy in the soup. Drain on kitchen paper.
Continue to simmer the soup until the peanuts are very soft but still hold their shape. Add the soy sauce, fried yam and black pepper. Check for seasoning before serving.
cooking time: 55-65 mins