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Gourd Soup

There are two types of Myanmar gourd soups: hot and sour gourd soup, and sweet gourd soup.

1. HOT AND SOUR GOURD SOUP

Ingredients

  • Half a medium sized gourd.
  • Catfish - 2 (or more if preferred) of medium size
  • (Other fish or raw/dried fish and shrimp may also be used)
  • Fish paste - 2 tablespoons
  • Fish/shrimp sauce - 2 teaspoons
  • Onions - 2 bulbs
  • Chilies - 5 pods
  • Garlic - 2 bulbs
  • Turmeric - ½ teaspoon
  • Groundnut oil -3 ounces
  • Tamarind - 3 ounces
  • Salt -to taste

How to Cook

Cut the fish into 2 -inch lengths and wash thoroughly. Marinade with salt and turmeric. Pound the dried chilies. onions and garlic together. Wash tamarind thoroughly then soak in a bowl with hot water.

Cut the gourd into 2-inch strips and slice not too thinly. Wash and drain. Boil the oil in a pot till it is cooked and then put in the pounded chilies, onion and garlic and fry. When this turns brown put in fish, and cut pieces of gourd a little later. Add fish paste dissolved in water. Cover and cook till the gourd is soft.

Add tamarind juice and fish sauce and salt to taste. Add about two cups of water. When it has come to the boil after about five minutes the hot and sour soup is ready to serve.

An easier way is to add all the ingredients, including the oil, and except the tamarind juice and cook till it comes to the boil and the gourd has softened. Add tamarind juice and cook till it comes to a boil. This is how it is cooked in the rural areas, this is known as the 'Lone Chet' method meaning cooking the whole lot at one go.

2. SWEET GOURD SOUP

Ingredients

  • Gourd - a quarter of a medium sized gourd
  • Catfish - 2 of medium size. or 5 ounces of raw or dried prawns.
  • Fish paste - 2 ounces.
  • Fish or shrimp sauce - 2 ounces
  • Pepper - corn - half teaspoon
  • Garlic - 1 bulb

How to cook

Wash the fish thoroughly and grill. Bone when cooked and set aside. Peel the gourd strips and slice.

Dissolve fish paste in water; crush garlic and add half of it together with ground pepper. Mix in the grilled fish with about two cups of water and cook till boiling hot.

When ready to serve add the sliced gourd and the remaining amount of crushed garlic and cook for a minute or so. The sliced gourd should not be overcooked. Add more ground pepper if preferred.

This soup is the delight of the Myanmar people and a variation is to add a handful of clear noodles.

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