Peanut Balachaung

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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 (Burma). Usually balachaung contains powdered dried shrimp.

2 whole bulbs of garlic, thinly sliced. More or less can be used according to taste. Enough oil to fry the garlic and a ½ teaspoon of turmeric.
Fried garlic
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 for a little while.

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.

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 above 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.

Pounded ginger

  • 2-3 inches of ginger. Peel (save peels for tea). Pound the ginger into a pulp
  • 3-4 cups peanuts chopped, pounded or put through a food processor
  • Red chili powder to taste

Heat the oil from the fried onions.
Add a pinch more turmeric if you like 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.

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 it’s crispy-ness.

I like to mix this in with salad for an easy flavor boost, or try it with green beans.

Peanut Balachaung is a condiment served with rice and curry all around Myanmar. Different areas make it differently and hotter or milder according to taste. Generally balachaung is made with powdered dried shrimp. This is a tasty side dish for rice and can also be used as an topping over lightly blanched beans or broccoli, or even salads. It also provides complimentary protein to rice from the peanuts and other anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties with the ginger, garlic, turmeric and chili powder. This treat takes a while to prepare, with all the cutting and pounding which can be sped up with use of a food-processor. Although I prefer to do it by hand. I generally use either extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil when making this. Since the onions and garlic are being fried in the oil it is important to use an oil that will withstand heating. Also it is important to add turmeric to the oil which also helps to prevent oxidization.

Peanut Balachaung

In the demo video I actually put in too little oil when cooking the onions. This actually backfired on me and the onions soaked up too much oil while cooking. Instead of coming out crispy, they became soggy. Therefore, it is better to use more oil to deep fry the garlic and onions.

The left-over oil can be used again for other cooking with addition of turmeric as an anti-oxidant. Sesame oil is also a great anti-oxidant which can be added to frying oil as well.

The Burmese like to use the garlic and turmeric infused oil in their famous hand-tossed salads. This is a simple, effective way to get a nice garlic flavor into the salads without the pungent smell of fresh garlic, which some people find detestable, although personally I prefer it to many of the stinky perfumes and deoderants that are all the rage these days.

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Ingrid

    I uses to live in Burma for years, and I am really missing this. Will you sell online, or do you know somebody who is selling? Tx INGRID (Nu Pi)

  2. Miranda

    Do I have to keep this refrigerated?

    1. hellaD

      No, it is fine to keep at room temperature.

  3. Jenny

    This recipe is delicious, satisfying, and makes a rice and veggies go a long way. It also takes a lot of time ( 30++ minutes of frying per batch of onions and garlic). Once things get going though, the cooking needs less your attention. This would be a great recipe to make with other projects handy. I had some vegan guests and this knocked their socks off.

    1. hellaD

      Hey thanks for your comments! I am thinking of making an almond nut chutney recipe similar to this one soon. Yeah it is time consuming so I haven’t actually made it in a while, but very delicious and such a tasty condiment. I am so glad to see that other people are making and enjoying this recipe! And glad to hear that vegans loved it too!

    2. angela

      hi, jenny this is a good but not your typical burmese recipes. burmese recipe ingredients are, onion, garlic, dried shrimps, dried chillies, prawn paste. and oil. no turmeric and ginger included.

  4. Ileen

    I will try this recipe one of these days. I am sure it would be tasty as well, like the Dried Shrimp Balachaung that I usually make. I learned the recipe almost 12 years ago from U Win Cho, the company cook from the oilfield company that my husband used to work for when I visited the camp near Yenangyaung.

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