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Burmese Meatball Curry Recipe - A-thar-lohn-hin

Burmese Meatball Curry

A-thar-lohn-hin aka meatball curry is eaten throughout Burma, but especially in Upper Burma.

It is usually made with goat (seit-thar), but beef (a-mair-thar) is also popular. Lamb makes an excellent substitute, although is uncommonly used in Burma, partly because the Burmese word for "lamb" is thoh which also sounds like our word for "rotten".

It's also good using 50:50 pork and beef mince, and the higher up you travel in Burma, the more likely pork will feature in the mix.

Traditionally served with steamed rice, you could also eat it with naan bread, or even serve on noodles for a Burmese take on spaghetti and meatballs.

Burmese Meatball Curry (A-thar-lohn hin)
Serves 4-6

For the sauce
  • 4 medium onions, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsp groundnut or other neutral oil
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes 
  • 3 red finger chillies 
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce - good quality - I like Three Crabs

For the meatballs (makes 20-25)
  • 500g minced goat (substitute beef or lamb) 
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • Stalks from a bunch of coriander, minced 
  • 1 heaped tbsp tapioca starch 
  • 1 egg white 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 pinch MSG or 1 tbsp Marigold vegetable bouillon
  • 2 tbsp water
For the garnish
  • Fresh coriander leaves, torn
In a saucepan, fry the onions, garlic and turmeric in the oil for 5 minutes on a medium heat till soft. Add the tomatoes but don't throw away the can. Fry for another 10 minutes and then add two cans full of water. Turn the heat to high and then bring to the boil and then turn the heat to medium low, add the chillies, paprika and fish sauce and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and then form into ping pong balls - you'll make about 25.

Get a large frying pan and add a 2cm depth of water. Bring to the boil, add the meatballs in a layer and then turn the heat down to medium. Flip the meatballs as soon as they're firm - usually after 5 minutes or so.

Continue to fry the meatballs on a medium heat until the water sizzles away, the meatballs begin to brown (flip again to brown all over) and the fat begins to seep out of the meatballs - this method is called hsi byun in Burmese ie "the oil returns". Discard this oil, and then combine the meatballs with the tomato sauce.

Heat through so the flavours of the sauce and the meatballs mingle and everything is piping hot and then serve, scattered with fresh coriander leaves.



This looks SO good :) Love the idea of serving it with meatballs for a Burmese take on spaghetti and meatballs ;)
Er that would be "serving it with noodles" ;0
Awesome post, thanks for sharing this post..
Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, It is awesome.