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Mingun Tomato Salad Recipe
This tomato salad is inspired by one I ate in a garden café, looking over the Ayerwaddy river, in Mingun, a small town north west of Mandalay in Myanmar in the spring of 2019.
Myanmar salads – with their mix of textures and strong flavours – were a revelation to me, especially in their use of peanuts and shrimp along with the toasted gram flour which thickens the dressing into a sauce. This is a salad that will stand up to being served with curries, as well as on its own. Sometimes - because of the gram flour that is already included - I add in some cooked chickpeas to make the dish more substantial.
I now make this salad right through the summer, sometimes it is with just red tomatoes but when my own tomatoes are fruiting, I use a more authentic mix of red and green. Getting a supply of unripe green tomatoes, unless you know a gardener, can be slightly tricky. Some greengrocers sell them in September and the boxes of tomatoes from Crowdfarming usually come as a mix.
But if you do grow tomatoes - especially in Scotland - then this is the perfect recipe for the end of summer. It makes a virtue of all those last tomatoes which are reluctant to ripen on the vine.
I would suggest making a double batch of the toasted gram flour and the crispy onions and storing half to use another day.
- 20g Gram Flour
- 6-8 tomatoes – a mix of red and green is ideal - chopped into 2 cm chunks or halved if cherry tomatoes.
- 1 red onion or shallot sliced finely
- Peanut oil – 3 tbs
- 1 small clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 green chilli finely sliced
- 2 tsp dried shrimp powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp roasted peanut chopped roughly
- Juice half a lime
- 2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
- small bunch coriander chopped
Method: Begin by making the toasted gram flour If you are likely to make a lot of Myanmar food (and I hope you do) you can increase the quantities of this and store it in a jar for three months. I would make at least 100g at a time as it is easier to control the cooking and stop it cooking too much.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the flour.
Stir it around continuously until it begins to smell nutty and then remove from the heat immediately and pour it onto a plate to cool.
In a small frying pan fry ¾ of the onion in the peanut oil until it has coloured and gone crispy.
Drain the oil off and reserve for the dressing and dry out the crispy onions as a garnish.
Combine the tomatoes, garlic, chilli, peanuts, raw onions and shrimp powder in the salad bowl. Add the gram flour, lime juice, fish sauce and 2 tbsp of the onion oil.
Taste and season - if you have not used fish sauce add salt. Garnish with coriander and the crispy onions.
Serve with a curry, rice or on its own as part of a selection of dishes.