• 1 small catfish or eel, and extra fish heads, if possible
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried pe-ton or navy beans
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon rice flour
  • Large handful fresh mint leaves
  • Tiniest pinch *sayka (?)
  1. If catfish is used, grill it and flake the meat off. Cut eel in pieces. Boil eel and fish heads, if included, in 4 cups water with turmeric and salt.
  2. Wash beans and boil in fish broth till tender.
  3. Heat oil and fry sliced onion. Before it browns, put in rice flour mixed with 1 tablespoon water and fry, stirring well.
  4. Combine with broth. If grilled fish is used, put in flaked meat now, add water and boil well.
  5. Add mint leaves, correct for salt, and just before taking off the cooker to serve, add a tiny pinch of sayka. If the soup is left on the cooker, the sayka will make it too bitter. The soup should be just pleasantly bitter.
I don't know nor can I find an ingredient labelled sayka. A common bittering ingredient used in SEA is ox bile. There are many bitter herbs but I don't know of any that would have the strength referred to in this Shan recipe. I will endeavour to find out.