Hella Delicious: 101 - Peanut Balachaung

About: Local Food. Global Flavor. Food for roots, health, peace and community. A food oriented DIY culture.
This signature Burmese side dish is usually made with dried shrimp powder. This version with only peanuts is served for vegetarians and can be made more or less spicy according to taste.

A purely addictive combination of flavors. An excellent protein complement condiment for rice. It also makes a nice topping for salads or soups.

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Step 1: Fried Garlic

2 whole bulbs of garlic, thinly sliced. More or less can be used according to taste.

Enough oil to fry the garlic and a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.

Fry the garlic in oil to crispy, be careful not to burn it. Take it out of the oil a little before you think it is golden enough as it will continue cooking once out of the oil and easily burns.

But be careful not to take it out too early too as it will just be soggy. This garlic can also be a tasty topping to salads or other dishes. Keep the turmeric oil for adding to salads.

Step 2: Fried Onions

Use about six onions, thinly sliced.

Enough oil to deep fry the onions. Add turmeric to the oil while heating.

Fry the onions to golden brown in the oil. Strain and keep the oil, some of which will be used for frying the ginger and peanuts. Follow the advice given about the fried garlic and beware of either burning or under-cooking the onions. This results in a delicious and sweet flavor. The fried onions can also be used as a topping to other dishes or a tasty addition to salads.

Step 3: Crushed Ginger

2-3 inches of ginger. Peel (save peels for tea). Pound the ginger into a pulp.

Step 4: Crushed Peanuts

3-4 cups peanuts chopped, pounded or put through a food processor

Step 5: Cook Ginger and Peanuts

Heat the oil from the fried onions. Add a pinch more turmeric and chili powder according to taste.

As it is a condiment for rice you can make it hotter and saltier than you might normally. This will compensate for the blander flavor of rice.

Add the ginger and let it cook briefly. Add the peanuts. Keep stirring while they get lightly toasted. Be sure to keep stirring or the peanuts will burn.

Add the fish sauce (or salt for vegetarians) after you have turned off the flame.

Step 6: Putting It All Together

Let the ginger and peanut mixture cool before adding to it the fried garlic and onions. This will help to retain the crispy texture of the garlic and onions. Once it is all mixed up bottle it up so it will retain its crispy-ness.

Step 7: More Info...

This recipe will make about two weeks worth of balachaung for about 4 people, using it as a condiment.

Usually I make this if I know I am going to be too busy to cook the next coming weeks, or if I am broke. This way I can simply cook up some rice and have a simple nutritious meal with rice and balachaung and maybe some steamed veggies or an avocado for good measure.

This is actually the vegetarian version of a condiment that is served at nearly every meal in Myanmar. Usually balachaung contains powdered dried shrimp.

More info can be found at helladelicious.comhelladelicious.com

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    10 Discussions


    10 years ago

    This is a great Instructable, but you need to add a main image of the final project to the intro step. Please do that and leave me a message when you have so that we can publish your work. Thanks!

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Step 7

    This sounds like a really delicious condiment, and it seems to be one which is so intensely flavorful that you need only a bit to do the job. I'm definitely gonna try this one! Thanks!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm glad you're gonna try it! It is a lot of work but if you make a big batch it can last for a couple weeks and it sure goes great with rice or even as a salad dressing, just about anything.

    By the way if you are watching the video, I should have used more oil when frying the onions. I didn't have enough oil on hand at the time, but they fry to crispy much easier if you use enough oil.

    The oil is traditionally peanut oil in Burma and they save it to use in their fantastic salads.

    I just love balachaung! In Burma it is commonly made with dry shrimp powdered, but I like this vegetarian version as I am not really a shrimp fan.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     Thanks for that, I think I'll probably go for the veg version too as I aint that in to shrimp either :) and pretty much all of my favourite curry dishes tend to be veg 
    so think I'll prefer that. Never had the chance to visit Burma, closest I got was
    Cabodia and Vietnam, but If I am ever over that way again I'll be sure to visit
    and check the food out.

    Don't mind the hard work so much. I am trying to get into the habit of cooking
    all my meals for the week at the weekend so I can pack it up otherwise I eat
    really poorly during the week. Part laziness probably :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Burma is great, the people are like no other! It is true, and the food is fabulous as well. That must be a lot of cooking on the weekend! PS no cornflakes, maybe it was the fried garlic that looked like cornflakes?