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Burmese Fried Rice with Green Peas and Shallots

by Jeanette on January 14, 2013 · 25 Comments
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Burmese Breakfast Rice Bowl © Jeanette's Healthy Living

I’m always interested in learning about different cultures’ cuisines, so when I spotted Naomi Duguid’s latest cookbook, Burma Rivers of Flavor,  in our local library last week, I picked it up, eager to learn about the food from this Southeast Asian country that is now called Myanmar.
Burma (or Myanmar) is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, and is surrounded on its borders by Indian, China and Thailand. In fact, it is actually 30% larger than Thailand and has a population of about 60 million. I was really surprised to learn that it is such a large country.

From perusing through Naomi’s cookbook, Burmese cooking seems to use lots of turmeric, shallots and chilies. There are also some ingredients that are not so familiar, such as dried shrimp powder (I’ve used dried shrimp, but not cooked with the powdered form), toasted chickpea flour (apparently it’s used in salads for flavor and texture, and to thicken sauces and soups), and fermented soybean paste and soybean disks (used as a flavor base for curries and soups, in salads and vegetable dishes, and as a condiment for rice).

The food seems to be a mix of Indian and Thai food in certain respects, with curries, coconut milk, cilantro and lemongrass in a number of the dishes. A few recipes especially intrigued me, including Silky Shan Soup (made with chickpea flour), Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce, and Fried Rice and Peas and Shallots, which is often eaten for breakfast with various toppings (cooked beans, poached egg, fresh coriander leaves, hot sauce, fried shallots and lime wedges). The light brothy soups also interest me – fragrant with lemongrass, lime leaves, shallots and cilantro.
Burmese Fried Rice with Peas © Jeanette's Healthy Living
I’ve made all three of these dishes so far and am looking forward to learning more about Burmese food in the coming weeks.

5 from 1 reviews
Burmese Fried Rice with Peas and Shallots
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a great savory dish for breakfast. If you want to serve this with Burmese style beans, cook your favorite beans with shallots and ginger until tender, then tossed with sauteed shallots, and a little turmeric, salt and fish sauce.
Serves: 4
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 4 cups cold cooked brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, gluten-free soy sauce or fish sauce
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • lime wedges
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • hot sauce, optional
  • fried shallots, optional
  1. Heat wok over medium high heat. Add oil; then add turmeric and shallots and saute until shallots are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add cooked rice, using hands to break chunks up. Add salt and peas, and toss well, cooking until rice is heated through and peas are just cooked.
  2. Serve with lime wedges, cilantro, hot sauce, cooked beans (or poached egg) and fried shallots, if desired.
Adapted from Naomi Duguid's Burma Rivers of Flavor.

This recipe has been linked up to Tidy Mom’s I’m Lovin’ It. and Beyond The Peel’s Keep It Real Thursdays.

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  1. I love that there’s turmeric in this–I have been trying to use that more in my cooking, but I don’t quite know what to do with it. :)

    • Burmese cooking uses turmeric in so many dishes as I’m learning – I love the idea of using this anti-inflammatory in cooking.

  2. Ah, this so makes me want to be able eat rice! It looks like a wonderful comfort food dish.

  3. Burmese food is such a treat – I work a lot of refugees from Burma and I’ve been lucky try try many authentic dishes prepared by my clients. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Burmese cooking uses turmeric in so many dishes as I’m learning – I love the idea of using this anti-inflammatory in cooking.

  4. This is definitely the type of dish I would eat for breakfast, though I only seem to do that when I’m traveling. Thanks for introducing us to a Burmese cookbook. I know so little about the food of that culture.

  5. Making this for sure! I’ve never tried Burmese food before, but love both Indian & Thai, so sounds delicious to me {and easy too~even better!}

  6. I have only had Burmese food once or twice and hearing your description, I now want to re-explore it. This sounds really great – thanks!

  7. This sounds really good. Can’t wait to try. Thanks

  8. I received this book for Christmas and have been really looking forward to exploring it. I will be interested to see what all you make; the rice looks fantastic.

    • I hope you try some of the recipes – would love to hear what you make. I’m going to make the tea salad next.

  9. I’ve heard really good things about this cookbook and definitely need to get my hands on a copy of it! I’ve had burmese food a few times from a recipe near my apartment and really love it! This fried rice looks especially delicious and I love the idea of pairing it with beans or an egg for a complete meal!

    • Joanne – you would enjoy this book – I’ve found it very interesting. I didn’t know there were Burmese restaurants in the city. Will have to check it out next time I’m there.

  10. looks delicious, we recently went to a Burmese restaurant and I have recreated a chicken dish we enjoyed so much. I will HAVE to give this a try! Looks great Jeanette.

    • You’re so lucky to have a Burmese restaurant nearby – would love to see your chicken dish recipe. I’m intrigued by Burmese cuisine.

  11. It seems that many cultures have found the great combination of peas and rice. This sounds delicious!

  12. I just came back from a two week trip to Myanmar.The food is fantastic, especially the street food, and the people were warm and friendly. The sprouted pea is called Pe Pyot (Vanata). You can find it in Indian or Pakistani stores. This pea is eaten both with rice and with fresh out of the oven naan. And Naomi Duguid’s book is lovely.

    • Wow, what a great trip you must have had. I would love to visit one day. Thanks for letting me know what the name of the sprouted pea is – a Burmese friend just told me about it but didn’t know what it was called. I am going to look for Pe Pyot in our Indian grocery store.

  13. I’ve never tried anything specifically Burmese but the flavors sound amazing. I love dried shrimp, chilies and soybean paste. I think I should look at that cookbook. Thanks for telling us about them.

  14. This looks so good, especially with those crisp little fried shallots on top.

  15. I need to made this. The turmeric is a good idea with the brown rice. Thanks

  16. I love this recipe. I made it with a side of lentil chili and will definitely be using it again. I referenced your website for this recipe on my blog. Thank you for the inspiration and super tasty recipe!

  17. perfect!!! i think i will make this for lunch today and surprise the hubs!! its a cold day here in kansas city, but this should warm his heart and his tummy! thanks again, Jeanette!

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