This Burmese potato salad recipe makes a light potato salad with tamarind, chilli, fried onion, and fragrant mint. A kick of heat from the mild green chillies, a little sweetness and sourness from the tamarind juice, crunch from the fried shallots, and the perfume of fresh mint make this one of the best Burmese salads to accompany your curries.
If you’ve got a picnic planned this weekend, consider this Burmese potato salad – along with some of our other 85 picnic food ideas. This potato salad recipe makes another one of the best Burmese salads, which along with Shan salads, are simply the best salads in the world. I’ve adapted this potato salad slightly from my favourite Burmese cookbook, Mi Mi Khaing’s Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way, published in 1978.
It’s a flimsy booklet that I bought from one of my favourite dusty dimly-lit bookshops in Yangon years ago. It looks and feels as if it was photocopied at the corner print shop and could easily fall apart, which is why it has become so very precious to me this year, as who knows when we’ll ever be able to get back to Myanmar.
This Burmese potato salad recipe is next in our series of recipes from Myanmar intended to draw attention to the tragic situation in the country, because, frustratingly, events in Myanmar have largely disappeared from the pages of most mainstream news publications.
So far we’ve published recipes for a classic Burmese chicken curry, Mi Mi Khaing’s homemade curry powder, an Indian-style Burmese curry, Burmese street food-style fried chicken, Burmese coconut rice, a Shan vermicelli noodle salad, a Shan tomato salad and a Burmese raw cabbage salad (link below). Older recipes on the site include a Burmese egg curry and ohn no khao swe, one of our favourite soups from Myanmar.
If you’re not aware of the situation in Myanmar, in February a coup d’état ousted the democratically elected government, which inspired a nationwide civil disobedience movement, to which the military responded with extraordinary brutality, violence against peaceful protestors, raids on homes and abduction of activists, massacres in the streets, and airstrikes on villages, resulting in thousands of deaths of innocent civilians, including frontline workers.
We’ll soon be publishing a dedicated guide to how to help the people of Myanmar and after we do, we’ll continue to share recipes for our favourite dishes from Myanmar with links to the guide. Until then, we’ll highlight organisations that need your support, such as Myanmar Now. The military regime is targeting journalists and the independent news site desperately needs donations to continue its essential reporting work.
Now let me tell you about this Burmese potato salad recipe.
Burmese Potato Salad Recipe With Tamarind, Chilli, Fried Onion and Fragrant Mint
Having been born to a Russian mother, I was probably eating potato salad when the rest of you were eating baby food, such is a Russian’s love for potato salad. While all Russian potato salads contain mayonnaise – actually most Russian dishes contain mayonnaise; just joking! (half-joking) – and there are a few kinds of potato salads (such as this one, this one, this one, oh, and this one), it is possible for a woman with mayonnaise running through her veins to have a mayo-less potato salad. (Honest!)
And this Burmese potato salad recipe makes a light mayonnaise-free potato salad that can even satisfy potato salad lovers raised on mayonnaise. The simple tamarind-based sweet-sour salad dressing, the crunchy raw onions, fresh fragrant mint, kick of chilli, and crispy fried shallots give this potato salad enough flavour and texture that you won’t miss the creamy mayo one bit.
While this potato salad recipe will make you a fantastic salad for the picnic basket, in Myanmar salads typically accompany rich Burmese curries, such as a classic Burmese chicken curry and Indian-style Burmese curry (links to both above), as they provide such a fantastic contrast to Myanmar’s oily curries, alongside rice and a relish or two.
To learn more about making the salads of Myanmar, read Mi Mi Khiang’s secrets to making Burmese salads in this Burmese raw cabbage salad recipe. I only have a few tips to making this Burmese potato salad recipe.
Tips to Making this Burmese Potato Salad Recipe
This Burmese salad is super-easy – the whole salad comes together in thirty minutes or less – however, I have just a few tips to making this Burmese potato salad recipe.
While Mi Mi Khiang’s original Burmese potato salad recipe calls for normal brown/white onions, I’ve suggested purple shallots or a red onion for colour as much as flavour.
Mi Mi Khiang suggests soaking the onion in water to remove some of its bite, and I’m increasingly seeing this recommended these days. Aside from testing it, because I keep spotting that ‘tip’, I’ve never soaked an onion in water in my life and nor did my mother or grandmother and I don’t see the point. The reason we use onion is for its very tang and bite. But my all means go for it if you’re so inclined.
Mi Mi Khiang recommends ‘cooked oil’ in her salad recipes (just heat it up in a small pan or wok), and she uses sesame oil or peanut oil – or vegetable oil if you prefer. I’ll go a step further and say that I’m sure she wouldn’t mind you using olive oil if you prefer either.
You can make your own crunchy fried onions or you can buy Southeast Asian-style fried shallots (most brands available outside the region are Thai) and if you don’t find them at your supermarket, try an Asian supermarket or market.
One tricky ingredient for readers from cooler climates is tamarind. We can get fresh tamarind pulp (the seeds and flesh of the tamarind) but outside Southeast Asia any decent Asian supermarket will have tamarind concentrate which you can mix with water to achieve the right consistency.
Burmese Potato Salad Recipe
- large potatoes 500 g, boiled and diced
- 4 purple shallots or a red onion roughly chopped
- 2 long green chillies sliced, deseeded
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
- 2 tbsp fried shallots
- 3 tbsp tamarind juice
- 4 tbsp sesame oil or peanut oil or olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt or to taste
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper or to taste
- Just before serving, in a mixing bowl combine the diced boiled potatoes, chopped purple shallots (or red onion), slices of long green chillies, and half the fresh mint leaves, and half the fried shallots.
- To a glass jar (with lid), add the tamarind juice, peanut oil or olive oil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper, screw the lid on and shake well, then pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and stir gently to combine well.
- Transfer to a serving plate or salad bowl, garnish with the remaining mint leaves and crunchy fried shallots, and serve.
- This salad is the perfect accompaniment to a classic Burmese curry or Indian-style Burmese curry, coconut rice, a relish, and more salads. You can never have enough Burmese salads.
Please do let us know if you make this Burmese potato salad recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.