There is so much to love in MiMi Aye’s wonderful Mandalay: Recipes & Tales from a Burmese Kitchen but, even before I got on to the recipes, I felt that a book that told me that in Burma people greet each other by asking whether they’ve eaten yet, belonged in my life. This feeling was cemented when I came across Aye’s comment that “we will deep-fry anything that doesn’t move and some things that do”. I also much appreciated knowing that the greatest insult that one could give a Burmese cook would be to say of a dish “it lacks oil”.
And then there is the food: I long for the Pickled Ginger & Sesame Salad, the Golden Sticky Rice, the Coconut Chicken Noodles, the Mandalay Pork & Round Rice Noodles, the Meatball Curry, the Anchovy Dip, and so much more, but it is the Burmese Fried Chicken - or BFC - that goes straight to the top of my list, and just had to be the recipe I shared with you here. I am so grateful to Mimi Aye for a really loving and hungry-making introduction to a fascinating cuisine.
Extract from Mandalay by MiMi Aye (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26).
Photography © Cristian Barnett