Shan Tofu Made From Channa Dhal

I have been meaning to post this recipe for years now I feel terrible for not having posted it before–it is such a simple dish. Shan State in Myanmar (Burma) has a very unique tofu recipe which is made from channa dhal not soybeans. Channa dhal is a bean that is similar to chickpeas but smaller, more yellow and easier to digest, especially if it is properly soaked. This recipe is a delicious traditional recipe that can be made into a variety of items. From tofu nwe (a sort of warm tofu porridge with peanuts and cilantro–also used to make the delicious Shan Noodle dish), to tofu thoke (tofu salad) to tofu hnat pyan kyaw (twice fried tofu) to a sauce for the fried tofu. For a beautiful but heart wrenching true Channa Dhal Romeo and Juliet true story click here.

This is my version of the Shan recipe, if there are any Shan experts out there let me know if this recipe needs some changes!

  • 1 c channa dhal
  • 2 – 3 c water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t turmeric (or saffron)

Method:
Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain and grind the beans into a paste or powder. Soak them again in water for a couple hours and skim off anything that comes to the top of the water. Strain. Add 2 c water, salt and turmeric and heat slowly, stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Allow to cook long enough for the mixture to thicken so that it almost leaves the sides of the pot as you stir. To prevent burning you may have to remove the pot from the heat from time to time while stirring. When mixture is very thick, pour into a lightly oiled pan. The tofu should be around and inch thick. Let sit in the fridge to set.

If you want to make the mixture into a porridge (tofu nwe) or sauce for the tofu chips just don’t let it thicken as much, and serve warm with crushed peanuts, garlic and chili.

Pour over rice noodles and add cilantro to make Shan noodles (top with garlic-turmeric oil, peanuts and serve with pickled mustard greens).

To make tofu salad (tofu thoke), cut up the set mixture into 2 inch long strips and toss with garlic oil, lime juice, fried onions, lime juice, chilis and fish sauce, top with julienned kaffir lime leaves.

To make chips (tofu hnat pyan kyaw) cut them into 1 cm thick triangles, you can change the thickness depending on how crispy you want the chips and deep fry until golden about 5 mins. Drain, let cool and the fry again for about 2 mins or until golden red. Serve with tofu nwe as dipping sauce.

Watch this great video of traditional preparation of the yellow Shan Tofu:

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Liz

    Hi there – you can also use besan (chickpea flour) to make the ‘tofu.’ We love it crumbled up as a stand in for scrambled eggs too.

    1. hellaD

      Oh that is a good idea! I am gonna have to try that, I have some in my cupboard.

  2. narf7

    Very interesting site and just about to get added to my long list of “must go backs”. I will be shamelessly pilfering many of these great recipes and concepts and retro-fitting them to my lifestyle and personal tastes. Cheers for a really great site and for sharing Dom with your wide audience. A true gent and a great ambassador for Kefir. (must get some more grains from him now that we have settled into our new home…). Keep this great stuff coming (if only to stop me having to stay up late at night fumbling through all those websites to find what I am looking for… you do it so well!) 🙂

  3. Kiki

    Super cool! How long does this keep?

    Any way to make this with a soymilk maker, do you think?

    1. hellaD

      Thanks for your questions! I haven’t ever used a soymilk maker so I am not sure about that…It keeps for about a week in the fridge and you can try freezing it as well. I haven’t tried it but it should work out ok. The texture might be a little different when defrosting though.

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