Heavenly lamb dumplings in a punchy tomato sauce - sort of mum’s meatballs go comfortably into Asia. I scoffed it daily on Inle Lake: a vast tract of water that supports various villages around its shores - on land, and on stilts, complete with floating gardens. The villagers lead the Life of Pi, on the water with their livestock. Fish plop, dragonflies hum, and insects buzz all day long around waters dappled with Hockney squiggles and abstractions aplenty. The place of escape. Mick Jagger was here one week before I visited - furious when at last somebody recognized him.
Blitz the onion, ginger, garlic and lemongrass to a pasty mush in a processor or, if feeling energetic and in ethnic mode, pulverize in a mortar. Break up the mince in a bowl then squeeze the onion paste over the bowl, so that some of its juice trickles out and into the meat. Keep the onion paste on one side. Finely chop the chillies and about half of the coriander - this can be done in the processor too - and toss with the meat. Then chuck in
Meanwhile, gently fry the paprika powder, dried chilli flakes and shrimp in the same oil, until the oil reddens a little. Slip in the pulverised onion paste with a sprinkling of salt and fry until browned. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, then fill up the empty can with water and put it by the stove. Add the tamarind water and the remaining
© 2004 Alastair Hendy. All rights reserved.