From Burma to Chennai

The vibrant food culture of Chennai can rival that of any Indian metropolis. However, not many foodies are aware of Burmese influence on its street food. Wicked Spoon Confessions Founder Bhakti Menon and fiction writer Shri Bala take you through a culinary tour of Second Beach Lane Road in Chennai, hub of Indo-Burmese food in the city.

A stroll through Second Beach Lane Road in Chennai helps recount tales of the deep history between Chennai and Burma. It’s true that food transcends boundaries, language and other barriers to enter straight in to our hearts. If one truly wants to explore the vibrant street food scene in Chennai, this lane is a must-visit. A few small shops and food carts serve delicious Burmese street food like Atho, Mohinga, Moyyan, Khowsuey, Masala egg and more along with tales of a forgotten era. Click here to read the complete article.

Here are the step by step recipes of these much relished street foods in Chennai from Sri Bala .

Mohinga – Banana Stem Soup (Accompaniment to Atho, another delicious street food)

Serves: 4    
Time taken: 30 mins prep time + 30 mins cooking time 


- Diced Banana Stem -100 gms
- Vegetable Stock – 200 ml
- Lemon grass – finely chopped
- Ginger Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
- Lengthwise chopped onions – 50 gms
- Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
- Chilli powder to taste– Paparika or Cayenne can be is used if available
- Fried Bean Curd – optional
- Salt to taste
- Oil for tossing


- In the large Pan add a few drops of oil, add onions and saute for a few minutes.
- Add chopped lemon grass
- Add ginger garlic paste & saute till raw smell goes.
- Add turmeric powder
- Add Banana steam and toss
- Add salt and let it cook in the steam for few minutes
- Add Chilli powder
- Add vegetable stock and let all ingredients cook well.
- Finally add a few strands of boiled rice noodles & serve hot
- Mohinga can also be enjoyed as a healthy soup.

Chennai Street Food Atho

Serves: 4    
Time taken: 30 mins approximately 


- Thick rice noodles – 250 gms
- Shredded Cabbage – 200 gms
- Lengthwise Finely chopped Onions – 200gms
- Fried gram powder – 50 gms
- Roasted Peanut powder – 25 gms
- Fried Onions – 25 gms
- Fried garlic – 10 gms
- Tamarind Water – 50 ml
- Fried Onion and Garlic oil – 25 ml
- Fried Bean Curd Skin – a few (Use fried noodles as replacement)
- Chopped Coriander (Optional)
- Salt to Taste
- Chilli Powder – as per taste
- Lemon Juice – 1 teaspoon
- Small portion of Mohinga for mixing

Note: All the ingredients are mixed raw except noodles, which are precooked, and bean curd skins are fried. The dish is put together by mixing ingredients together, just like Bhelpuri.


- Boil noodles without salt, drain and keep it aside.
- Powder fried grams & roasted peanuts separately
- Fry bean curd skin or noodles as per availability
- Deep fry a portion of onions and garlic in 30-35 ml oil to make fried Onion and Garlic oil.
- Extract tamarind juice and add a pinch of salt and chili powder
- In the fried oil, add turmeric and a pinch of salt. When it is cool squeeze the lime juice into it.
- In large vessel first put a quarter portion of noodles
- Add Shredded cabbage, shredded onion, crushed fried bean curd skin/fried noodles, pinch of chili powder, pinch of salt, fried gram powder and peanut powder, tamarind juice & lemon infused oil
- Now add a little portion of Mohinga along with a few banana stems.
- Mix well and serve cold.

In case you want to enjoy Atho hot, just toss the mixed ingredients on a hot tava, transfer to a eating bowl and add Mohinga.

Recipe Courtesy: Shri Bala

Shri Bala is a Chartered Accountant & Company Secretary and an Author of the fiction Y?Me . . . based on a Chef's life post 26/11. She is a food aficionado with in depth knowledge of South Indian Vegetarian food. She recently conducted a South Indian Food Festival under the aegis guidance of Executive Chef Ashish Bhasin of Trident BKC Mumbai.