vegetarian mohinga recipe : hsa*ba, myanmar cookbook

vegetarian mohingar

My mother recalls eating this vegetarian Mohinga recipe which was eaten during the nine days of the vegetarian festival. Each year on the first day of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually late September or early October, it was a tradition that the Chinese descendants followed in order to gain merit. Vegetarian in Burmese literally translate as ‘without killing’.

The unusual combination of purple yam and peanuts make the soup hearty and surprisingly taste very similar to the traditional fish noodle soup.

for the soup

2 medium onions, quartered
3 garlic cloves
2cm fresh ginger
6 tablespoons peanut oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons ground rice, roasted
1.5 litres vegetables stock/water
75g raw peanuts, shelled
10 shallots, peeled
250g purple yam, peeled & cubed
peanut oil to deep fry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
plenty of black pepper

eat with

500g rice noodles, cooked
fresh coriander, chopped
lemon or lime, quartered
dried chilli flakes
crispy onion or gourd fritters

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the onion, garlic and ginger into a coarse paste. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion paste for 5-10 mins until softened. Stir in ground turmeric and paprika.

Pour in the ground rice then water, stirring until the ground rice is incorporated. Add peanuts and shallots, bring to the boil. Let the soup simmer while you prepare the yam.

Pour enough oil in a small sauce pan to deep fry, about a third of the way. Fry the yam in batches until lightly golden all over. This will prevent the yam becoming mushy in the soup. Drain on kitchen paper.

Continue to simmer the soup until the peanuts are very soft but still hold their shape. Add the soy sauce, fried yam and black pepper. Check for seasoning before serving.

serves: 4
cooking time: 55-65 mins

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  1. Yadana on October 29, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you very much Cho. I have been looking this Vegetarian Mohingar for so long.

  2. Chris Eadon on November 8, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Cho,

    My wife Roz used to love Mohingar but then became vegetarian about 4 years ago and I’ve hardly made it since. I am looking forward to trying this vegetarian recipe and will let you know what she thinks. Many thanks – and I can reccommend your book to anyone. Brilliant!

  3. Cho on November 9, 2008 at 4:23 am

    Hi Yadana & Chris

    Thank you for your messages. I’ve just recently discovered another great vegetarian recipe from my mother – this time for ngapi kyaw (dried shrimp relish) using dried Chinese mushrooms! I’ll put up the recipe once I’ve tried it.

    – Cho

  4. Yadana on November 26, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks again Cho!

  5. Nyunt on December 31, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I love your vegetarian Monhingar, it is really delicious. Now I am looking forward to taste your vegetarian nga-pe kyaw. Thank again.

  6. Cho on January 1, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Hi Nyunt
    I’m in the process of building up a collection of Chinese dried mushroom stalks for the ngapi kyaw. Hopefully will post up a recipe soon.

    – Cho

  7. Eugene Nyunt. on January 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Hello ! As a vegetarian since my teens this recipe looks quite tasty; correct me if I’m wrong, but after a quick perusal of the book – which I recently obtained – it doesn’t make an appearance.
    Also, I’ve never really liked yams myself; could you say whether their use here is more as a garnish, or if they actually supplement the flavour of the stock. Cheerio !

    • Cho on January 5, 2009 at 2:05 am

      Hi Eugene
      Thanks for your message. Vegetarian mohingar recipe was something I discovered from my mother after the book went to print! There are many more great vegetarian recipes I’m trying to uncover from my family. I’ve made a vegetarian version of ngapi kyaw (dried shrimp relish) so will be posting that on the blog this week.

      As for yams, if you don’t like the taste perhaps try using sweet potato. It will taste a little different as the yam does add to the flavour of the dish.

      – Cho

  8. Yadana on January 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you very much for vegetarian dishes you are sharing with us. I really appreciate about your generosity!

  9. amy on January 29, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    There are many types of yam. In this particular dish only purple yam is used. Those who do not like yam can substitute deep fried tofu, but it would not taste that good.

  10. norm from australia on March 12, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    come on Cho, if you dont have fish in mohingar then that’s “NOT MOHINGAR” I’am sorry,fish is what makes MOHINGAR!!!!!!!!!

    • Cho on March 16, 2009 at 11:48 pm

      I understand what you mean Norm 🙂

  11. Wajid on March 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Delicious Recipes
    Awesome effort
    Keep up the good work
    For Vegetarian Recipes Visit

    • Cho on March 16, 2009 at 11:55 pm

      Thanks for the link Wajid

  12. Chris Eadon on March 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Cho.

    I’ve recently been invited to do a guest spot on 209radio in Cambridge, UK on the Happy and Healthy Hour. Last week I did a Burmese Quorn Curry (Chicken-style chunks) with the help of your book. This week I cooked it for the show’s presenter John Levine and 14 guests and they all loved it. My recipe is on my blog See what you think and let me know.

    Best wishes, Chris.

  13. Cho on March 24, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks for the message Chris. Your Quorn Curry looks great. Look forward to reading about the Cookery School. Keep me posted.

    – Cho

  14. Tin Maw Wynn on October 9, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Hi Cho,
    There are lots of different kinds of peas and beans in the supermarkets and asian groceries but none of them are similar to our Pe Pyoke. For me,soy beans when cooked do not have the same flavour and it tastes different too. The closest one we can get here in australia is the blue boilers or blue boiling peas. You can find it anywhere easily. Just soak it overnight and cook it in a rice cooker with a little baking soda, with water just covering the peas.It tastes the same in Pe Pyoke htamin gyaw, and pe palata.
    Cheers, Maw Maw

  15. Sai Sai Lay on December 12, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Cho,

    Great job. I’m very happy to see Bumese recipe, I miss Burma. I finished Cookery & Culinary Arts in Deploma, your skill & style I love it.

    Kala Pe(Chana Dal) is the best to use for Mohingar, you can buy Indian or Asian Market.

  16. Karishma on March 1, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Hi Cho

    Thank you for this recipe, I am part burmese but sadly I don’t know any burmese cooking or burmese language and so I have decided that I would take it upon myself to do things differently and make burmese cooking a part of my life and of who I am.

    Thank you again.

  17. Llewelyn Andrews on March 19, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thank you for sharing this great recipe Cho.. This looks really delicious..

  18. Azi on March 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I just made this for a vegetarian Burmese meal I cooked for friends – everyone loved it. Apart from me, no one ever had Burmese food before, so we just enjoyed it without any comparison to the real Mohingar. (We used sweet potato, as I couldn’t find purple yam in the shops I went to).
    Thank you very much for this recipe!

  19. Food Recipes Online on October 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    This dish look so good. I thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us. It’s greatly appreciate it.

  20. Marshall Hein on February 25, 2011 at 5:13 am

    I would like to get the recipe for making Peh gyaw ( fried bean ) to eat with Mohingar. Fried peh gyaw is round flat and crispy.
    Thank you.