Online Exclusive: Recipe for Fried Samtok (African Eggplants) in Shrimp Paste

May 14, 2012

Read related story "Setting Down Roots in the Cereal Capital" in Hyphen Issue 25, available at a newsstand near you.

This delicious, uniquely flavored dish remains a favorite for thousands of Chin people from Burma living in the United States, conjuring up memories of home for the seasoned Samtok eater, according to Martha Thawnghmung of the Burma Cultural Center of Battle Creek, Michigan.


30 pieces of golf-ball sized Samtok (Chin word for African eggplants)

1/2 cup of dry shrimp, soaked in water for 10 minutes, drained and pounded or ground

7 or 8 cloves of garlic, minced or pounded

1 medium onion, cut thinly or minced

2 tablespoons of shrimp paste

1/4 cup of oil

1/4 teaspoon of curry powder

1/4 teaspoon of chili powder

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

2. When oil is hot, add garlic, onion, curry and chili powder until they turn light brown.

3. Add shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes unti shrimp appears light brown.

4. Add samtok, stirring occasionally. Let cook 5 to 10 minutes until samtok is soft and plump to taste.

5. Add shrimp paste and mix well.

Swimming in samtok in Battle Creek. Photo courtesy Martha Thawnghmung. 


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