Shan-Style Tofu Curry

Shan-Style Tofu Curry

Shan-Style Tofu Curry

Shan-style tofu curry isn’t your typical curry that you might be used to from Thailand or India. It’s not soupy and it’s not spicy. This curry is unique to an area of Myanmar called Inle Lake, in Shan State. The reason it’s unique is because they use a special kind of tofu that is only made in that area. Instead of making tofu with soybeans, they use chickpeas or other yellow beans. This gives the tofu a unique texture and flavor much different than regular tofu. Locals even eat this tofu raw with a little bit of red sauce and salt.

The process of making this type of tofu is very labor intensive and I have never seen anything like it sold in the states. However, you could easily replicate this dish in your own home using regular firm tofu. There are very few ingredients making this a quick and simple dish, yet packed full of flavor.

This recipe is out of Mr. Min’s Recipe Book: An Introduction to Shan Cuisine, which was given to us during our cooking class with him on Inle Lake. If you would like to see more Shan-Style dishes made from Myanmar, check out the video from our cooking class here.

What You Need:

(Have a wok? Use that instead of a frying pan)

A block of tofu – make sure your package is firm or super firm, and that you buy non-GMO organic tofu. Soy products are one of the food products you definitely want to make sure you buy GMO-free.

Garlic: 5 cloves

Ginger paste – 1 tablespoon

Spring Onions – 4 sprigs

Tomato – 2 small to medium sized

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon – this is optional, but it will add a good amount of flavor and make your regular soybean tofu look like yellow bean tofu!

Peanut Oil – 3 teaspoons plus amount needed to fry tofu- this is the oil of choice used in Myanmar. You are welcome to use another oil of your choice, such as coconut oil.

Salt – to taste

Water – 4 tablespoons


Directions for Shan-Style Tofu Curry:

1. Cut tofu into cubes (make sure to strain off any water from the packaging) and fry in hot oil (peanut or oil of your choice) until the outside edges are crispy.

First step in making Shan-Style Tofu Curry is to cut the tofu into cubes.
Cut tofu into cubes


Second step in making Shan-Style Tofu Curry - Fry tofu until crispy
Fry tofu until crispy


Crispy fried tofu ready to make Shan-Style Tofu Curry
Crispy fried tofu


2. Dice tomatoes and spring onions

3. Dice garlic very finely, and mix together with ginger paste

4. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a separate frying pan, add your turmeric powder (optional), and blended garlic and ginger paste. Stir fry for 1 minute, Do not burn.

Fry ingredients together as the base for Shan-Style Tofu Curry
Fry ingredients together as your base for the curry


5. Add tomatoes, spring onions, tofu, salt, and water and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.


Add all ingredients together to complete Shan-Style Tofu Curry
Mix all ingredients together for several minutes in the wok



Completed Shan-Style Tofu Curry
Shan-Style Tofu Curry


3 thoughts on “Shan-Style Tofu Curry”

    • Hi Kevin, you definitely should try this! Not only in curry-style but you can also just have the tofu either raw (surprisingly good, usually you would just add salt and dipping sauce) or deep fried with dipping sauce. The tofu is made from chickpea flour, not soybean, which is unique to Myanmar. Did you see it on your travels through Shan State?
      I do not know the name of this dish in Burmese unfortunately. However ‘Tofu’ is basically the same in Burmese “toe-hoo”. If you make your way to Inle Lake in Shan State, you should be able to find this dish easily. Enjoy!

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