This dish is full of vibrant, contrasting flavor and texture combinations: crisp hot edges; smooth, cooling yogurt; sweet coconut milk; spicy, salty, and sour toppings. Balachaung is a Burmese condiment similar to XO sauce that I like using on everything, from sautéed string beans to cucumber salad to soft boiled eggs. You can also make the pancake with leftover sticky rice, even if it was made with water as opposed to coconut milk. It will still be delicious.
I use coconut milk instead of water to infuse more flavour into the rice itself; the same concept as cooking rice with chicken stock or throwing in a bay leaf and garlic clove to the water. To build on that sweet flavour as well as adding more texture to the pancake, I chose shredded coconut to mix into the cooked rice. While you can buy it pre-toasted, I prefer to brown it quickly in a dry pan or lay it out on a sheet pan and bake them in the oven at 325° F; start with two minutes, check on it and give it a little stir or shake, then continue for another 2 to 3 minutes. It browns very quickly so keep an eye on it!
Featured in: TK. —Imogen Kwok
- Serves 4
uncooked sticky rice
1 1/2 teaspoons
shredded coconut, toasted
plain yogurt, for serving
limes, for serving
Balachaung sauce, for serving (recipe below)
shallots, peeled and finely minced
garlic cloves, peeled
3-inch–long piece of ginger, peeled
dried red chilies
1 1/2 cups
Canola oil, for frying
- Cover the rice with about 2 inches of cold water and let it soak overnight. (If you don't have time, rinse the rice very well under cold running water before cooking.)
- Drain the rice and place inside a pot with the coconut milk and salt. Set over medium-high heat. When the milk comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitted lid and simmer for 20 minutes. When the rice is cooked, take the pot off the heat and set aside. When the rice has cooled slightly, stir in the turmeric and shredded coconut until well combined. Add more salt to taste.
- In a nonstick pan (around 8-9 inches in diameter), heat the canola oil over medium heat. Once shimmering, spread out the rice evenly in a 1-inch thick layer. When the rice has caramelized and formed a golden brown crust (about 4-5 minutes), turn out onto a plate, add more oil if necessary and then slide the pancake back into the pan to brown the other side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Cut the pancake into slices and serve with the yogurt, balachaung, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
- Bring water to a boil Place the dried shrimp in a bowl, and pour just-boiled water over the shrimp to cover. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
- Use a food processor to blitz the ginger and garlic individually (wiping out the processor bowl in between ingredients) until finely minced. Set aside in separate bowls. Use a fine mesh sieve to drain the rehydrated shrimp. Combine with the red chilies and sugar in the food processor and pulse a few times until crushed but not as fine as the garlic and ginger.
- Pour 1/4-inch of canola oil into a medium-sized pan over medium high heat. Fry the minced shallots, stirring occasionally. When they are golden brown and crispy, transfer them to a large bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients one at a time, adding more oil each time to keep the level at 1/4-inch. Stir together the fried ingredients, adding more salt or sugar to taste.
- If not using immediately, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Will keep for 3 weeks.