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Shan tofu/chickpea tofu/Burmese tofu

Posted Feb 27 2013 7:30pm

My son and his girlfriend made a large batch of Shan tofu and shared half of it with me. Shan tofu is also known as Burmese tofu, and is made primarily from chickpea flour. That may sound unappealing to you but it tastes great and is very versatile, not to mention easy to make, though it does require some waiting. The tofu they gave me had been made into shan tofu salad with the addition of kaffir lime leaves, toasted sesame seeds, garlic and a few other ingredients. The texture is different, of course from soy-based tofu; I've seen it described as being similar to refrigerated polenta, but that's not quite right. It's firmer than polenta and just ... different. Maybe you just have to try it to know what it's like.

For breakfast over polenta, with olives, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts.

The recipes used for the tofu and marinade came from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid. I searched the Internet hoping to find the exact recipes to share with you, but came away empty-handed, and I can't share copyrighted material. On Amazon, you can "look inside the book" to get a taste for the wonderful recipes and photos, and see the recipe for Shan tofu salad, but not for the tofu itself. The book is not vegetarian or vegan, but substitutes for things like fish sauce and shrimp paste are suggested, and there are so many interesting recipes I think I'd love to have the book in my collection.

With broccoli, tomato and umeboshi-tahini sauce over mung thread noodles.

There seem to be two basic ways to make Shan tofu — the traditional way and the modern way. The traditional way involves soaking chickpea flour for a number of hours in a large quantity of water, removing some of the water, cooking the mixture, then letting it firm up in the refrigerator. The modern method eliminates the soaking period and cooks the flour with a lot less water before the firming-up stage.

Shan tofu added to a mixed-greens, tomato and sunflower seed salad.

I was able to find many links to recipes for the traditional method, and am sharing my favorite — a very clear youtube video. I also found a link to a recipe very similar to the modern one in my son's cookbook, though the cookbook version uses only chickpea flour, water and salt in somewhat smaller quantities than the linked recipe. (It's possible that the oil in the linked recipe is added to help keep the mixture from foaming up when it's cooked.) I think I'd make half a recipe, because even the smaller quantity from the cookbook made a LOT. I haven't tried making this myself yet because I had such a huge amount to use up, but I intend to try it soon, and if I run into any issues I'll update the post. I also haven't tried Shan tofu in its natural state — only marinated in the salad dressing, which I think was a great way to flavor it. It can also be added to a soup or stir-fry, or deep fried into a snack. Have you tried Shan tofu? 

From Wikipedia:
The Shan are a Tai ethnic group of Southeast Asia. The Shan live primarily in the Shan State of Burma (Myanmar), but also inhabit parts of Mandalay Division, Kachin State, and Kayin State, and in adjacent regions of China and Thailand.[1] Though no reliable census has been taken in Burma since 1935, the Shan are estimated to number approximately 6 million.

The capital of Shan State is Taunggyi, a small city of about 150,000 people. Other major cities include Thibaw (Hsipaw), Lashio, Kengtung and Tachileik.

The majority of Shan are Theravada Buddhists , and the Shan constitute one of the four main Buddhist ethnic groups in Burma; the others are the Bamar , the Mon and the Rakhine .
Most Shan speak the Shan language and are bilingual in Burmese . The Shan language, spoken by about 5 or 6 million, is closely related to Thai and Lao , and is part of the family of Tai languages . It is spoken in Shan State , some parts of Kachin State, some parts of Sagaing Division in Burma, parts of Yunnan , and in parts of northwestern Thailand, including Mae Hong Son Province and Chiang Mai Province {p. [3] The two major dialects differ in number of tones: Hsenwi Shan has six tones, while Mongnai Shan has five. [4] The Shan script is an adaptation of the Mon script via the Burmese script . [4] However, few Shan are literate in their own language.
The Shan are traditionally wet- rice cultivators, shopkeepers, and artisans .


Bonzai Aphrodite
If you've never read this post, you should. It's about facing a health crises as a vegan. We've all read about ex-vegans who have stopped being vegan because of a health issue. This is a story of facing failing health while remaining vegan.
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