Burmese Balachaung is a condiment made with fried onions, shrimp, garlic, ginger & red chillies. Extremely delicious & keeps well for months!
I still remember, how I’d come back from school, and the entire house would smell of Balachaung. I’d run straight to my grandmother and ask her if she’s made some. She’d hold her hands behind her back, bend over me and say ‘No’, but there would just be a gleam in her eyes. I’d immediately know she was lying and hug her. She’d throw her head back and laugh, then go into the kitchen and bring me a plate of hot steamy rice along with freshly made Balachaung. Ah…. if only she were still with us…I miss her so much!
The Burmese Balachaung is an accompaniment to rice made with fried onions, shrimp, garlic, ginger & red chillies and is fairly dry and crisp. There are also versions made with tomatoes which is more curry-like, but I’ve never really fancied those. But the dry version has a very good shelf life, since it’s been made with dried shrimps and everything is fried crisp (no moisture whatsoever!). It will loose texture with storage and go soft over time, but this does not affect the taste in anyway.
You can use these to top curries, as a side to rice, and me, I also enjoy it with rotis.
Just make sure that:
– All the ingredients are fried crisp.
– The house is properly ventilated, because frying up the dried shrimp isn’t really like walking by a scented candle store.
– The Balachaung is cooled completely before storing.
– You use a sterile, airtight, glass container to store the Balachaung.
– You use a clean, dry spoon to get the Balachaung.
If properly stored, your Balachaung will keep well for several months, that is, if you haven’t binge eaten it in a week (like I usually do!).
How does it taste?
I must say that this is a bit of an acquired taste, especially for those who are not overly fond of shrimps, it would take some time to get used to the flavours. But once you do, it sticks with you. Mostly, you just taste the fried onions but you do get a whiff of the shrimps. I don’t really like dried seafood, but this, I absolutely love! If you don’t want to add the shrimp, my vegetarian mother makes herself a version with crushed peanuts and it’s equally awesome! I’ll post a recipe for it here soon.
When you make these (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here and will share it with pride on my social media feeds.