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Cookbook of the Month June 2013: BURMA Basics, salads, soups, vegetables

We've decided to cook from BURMA: RIVERS OF FLAVOR in June.

This is the reporting thread for the first four chapters of the book:

Basics, p19
Salads, p43
Soups, p75
Mostly Vegetables, p101

Please remember that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

As always, have fun, and I look forward to hearing your reports.

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  1. Broccoli Rabe with a Hint of Pork, Pg. 108

    Duguid wasn't kidding when she said "a hint of pork." It's 1/4 pound of the meat costing all of $0.57. However that little bit flavors and seems to mitigate the bitterness of the rabe which makes the dish a pleasant addition to a meal. The other ingredients are peanut oil for the stir-fy, garlic, lemongrass (thanks to my area peeps we found it), dried red chilies, fermented soybeans (I used the alternative brown miso paste), a little water, salt which can be omitted so I did, and the broccoli rabe.

    It's a simple wok stir-fry of the aromatics first, then the sliced pork, adding miso that was mixed w water, then adding the trimmed chopped rabe for a covered short braise. There's a vegetarian version that utilizes mushrooms that would be good to try especially with the suggested portabellos.

    Both of us liked this particular rabe combination. Rabe has been in rotation here as one of our preferred vegetables so we are happy to have another tasty variation. One did taste the bitter greens but with the sweet pork and hot chilies the dish became more complex.

    I served egg noodles as the picture on the opposite page shows and a chopped tomato and shallot salad with lime juice/soy sauce/cilantro/rice wine vinaigrette. It was a very welcome introduction to the book.

    ETA:
    http://www.oprah.com/food/Broccoli-Ra...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Thanks Gio, I had a look at this but wasn't sure about the broccoli rabe, I've only had it a few times and it seemed like an odd combination of flavours. Your summary gives me a better idea of what to expect

      1. re: Gio

        This sounds like a nice dish Gio. I've found a number of Chinese recipes that also call for a very small amount of pork so I now get my butcher to portion it out and heat seal the pkgs for me so I only need to defrost the amount I need. What always surprises me is how so little meat adds so much flavour.

        1. re: Gio

          Broccoli Rabe with a Hint of Pork, Pg. 108

          I made this a few weeks ago. I liked it ok, but I found it a bit bland compared to the accompanying dishes. I may re-visit this though bc I do love rabe. Next time, I would increase the aromatics as well as the miso. I would probably also use less water.

          C ate the leftovers the next day and liked it. I wonder if a night in the fridge deepened the flavors.

        2. Everyday Cabbage-Shallot Refresher, Pg. 220
          http://www.organicspamagazine.com/a-t...

          Two little vegetable recipes so far and nary a sign of a main dish. Guess I'm working my way up. The dish, called a refresher, was a delightful adjunct to a whole roasted chicken seasoned with Burmese ingredients.

          The cabbage I used was Napa but there are other options as well. It consists of very thinly sliced shallots; equally thin cabbage strips; chili - I used jalapeno, one of the options; fish sauce; and lime juice. Marinate the shallots for 30 minutes in lime juice/chili/fish sauce then proceed to put it all together. The photograph shows how it looks. I couldn't get the Napa quite that thin but the taste was the same I'm sure. Tart, savory, slightly spicy from the chili. Definitely refreshing.

          I had every good intention of making the Village Boys Chicken but decided, because I don't have a cleaver to chop up 15 pieces, to roast the chicken whole but use all the ingredients anyway. Absolutely Fabulous. I'm going to make it at some point and simply use already butchered chicken...

          9 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Great review, I'll have to look at this recipe again, it just so happens I have a head of Napa in the fridge.....

            1. re: Gio

              Gio, I'm looking forward the review on the chicken recipe; it sounds wonderful!

              1. re: Gio

                Everyday Cabbage-Shallot Refresher, Pg. 220

                We had this as an adjunct to Shrimp Curry. I followed the recipe as written, happened to have Napa cabbage and fresh cayennes so those were my choices.

                I agree that this was refreshing, but it didn't knock my socks off. I wanted something else there--maybe cilantro? roasted peanuts? more chile? Or maybe I just didn't get the seasoning quite right.

                I'd make this again--so easy--but I'd want to do some tinkering.

                 
                1. re: Gio

                  The ingredients sound great Gio. Is this a hot or cold dish?

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    It's a cold refreshing dish, BC. More like a relish than a salad.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Thanks Gio, that's very helpful!

                  2. re: Gio

                    Everyday Cabbage-Shallot Refresher, Pg. 220

                    There's nothing more to add here that hasn't already been said, just that I too loved this dish! I used napa cabbage with a fresh Thai chili, and just adored the fresh flavours that came from this simple and exciting little side. The cabbage was crisp and delicately crunchy, and really went well with a side of rice. I could have eaten this whole thing on my own for a light lunch; as it was we were all fighting over what remained in the bottom of the bowl. A keeper!

                    1. re: Gio

                      Everyday Cabbage-Shallot Refresher, Pg. 220

                      I loved this. It was refreshing and so satisfying. I used a regular green cabbage since I had half a head in the fridge. For the chiles, I used red thai chiles and I also added sliced almonds to give it that additional crunch. I think chopped up radishes would also add a great flavor and texture to this salad. I foresee eating this later this summer, especially when the weather gets hot, humid and almost unbearable.

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        Oh good idea about the radishes, beetlebug! I have a green cabbage in the fridge, radishes from Wilson's, and come to think of it both almonds & roasted peanuts so I'll choose one of them to add. .

                    2. Tender Greens Salad w/ Crispy Fried Shallots, pg. 49

                      Made a half recipe of this with tiny baby bok choy, blanched just until the water returned to the boil. Drain and strain the veggies, then mix with slice shallots, fried garlic (home-made), shrimp powder (Mr. QN saw me measuring out the shrimp powder--"add more" says he, so I did), chopped peanuts (Planters!), toasted chickpea flour, Shallot Oil (ooops, no shallot oil, I subbed Garlic Oil, fine by us), lime juice, fish sauce, all mixed with hand into the veg, the top with Crispy Shallots (what can I say, home made crispy shallots are for special occasions, I used the pre-fab ones from the Asia store--but they were the good quality ones, shallots and oil, no preservatives).

                      Yum. Even not always enamored of bok choy Mr. QN had seconds, and used up the last of the sauce onhis rice. The only adjustment I'd make is to add a bit more fish sauce (made a note in my book 2 tsp's fish sauce per tbs lime juice), but that's probably just our whacky taste. I'll definitely be making this again with all kinds of bitter greens.

                       
                      4 Replies
                      1. re: qianning

                        Happy to hear that this is a winner! I have a bag of baby bok choy in the fridge that I planned on using for this recipe tonight. Sounds swell!

                        1. re: qianning

                          Lovely-sounding dish qianning and your photo looks so enticing. Thanks for pointing this one out.

                          1. re: qianning

                            Tender Greens Salad w/ Crispy Fried Shallots, pg. 49

                            Made a full recipe of this, and though I quite liked it, I was the only one at the dinner table who did. I was nearing the end of the batch of fried shallots, and so didn't add as much as was called for, and kind-of missed them in the dish. Same as qianning, I longed for more fish sauce in the dressing. I may not have squeezed the veg dry enough, as there was plenty of extra liquid in the bottom of the bowl, so that may have diluted it a bit, but I would definitely add more fish sauce, and possibly more lime juice for next time. Lots of textures and flavours going on in this one; a very nice salad.

                             
                            1. re: qianning

                              Tender Greens with Crispy Fried Shallots Pg. 49

                              My turn for this one last night. Qianning does a good job of describing the process so I will just point out the modifications we made.

                              Firstly we left out the shrimp powder. I'm sorry, I may try again at some point, but the memories of the powder in a cooked dish were still too fresh and we decided to skip it. From my perspective the dish was still very good so I think if you fear the shrimp powder you are ok to omit it.

                              I also lightly pickled the shallots by soaking them in a little rice vinegar then rinsing as I wanted to avoid any issues with bitter raw shallots.

                              Overall I think the results were very well balanced with the sweet and crisp shallots balanced by the salty acidity of the dressed greens. I would definitely recommend this one.

                              One last thing, it looks a bit more like tender whites with crispy shallots as the market was out of baby bok choy so I had to go with a full sized bok choy, which I cut then blanched as opposed to blanched and cut according to ND. Overall it worked quite well.

                               
                            2. Okra-Shallot Stir-Fry, p. 102

                              I will preface this report by saying that I love okra. Not everyone does. Okra just started showing up last week at our farmer's market, and Mr. MM had bought some, but not enough for gumbo, so this recipe was a great option.

                              The okra is sliced into 1/4" pieces. You heat up a wok, add oil, then some turmeric. A cup of sliced shallots goes in next, and you fry until they just start to brown. Then some minced ginger gets added. Now the okra goes in, and you stir-fry until it is cooked. Finish with green chile, fish sauce, and salt. Stir-fry until the okra is starting to brown.

                              I've cooked okra many ways, but never stir-fried in the wok before. The high heat of the wok is an excellent match for okra. This recipe makes it to my top-five list of ways to prepare okra, and will be repeated often, riffed on, and absorbed into my repertoire. We enjoyed this as a side to the Easy Grilled Chicken on p.163.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: MelMM

                                Fresh okra isn't always easy to source here Mel and as a result, I don't serve it often and when I do it forms part of a gumbo or other stew-like dish. I'd very much like to try this recipe and will keep it in mind if I see nice okra. Thanks for your enticing review.

                                1. re: MelMM

                                  I love okra too, Mel, and even planted some in the garden for the first time; though the nasty weather will most likely kill it all :( I love Indian stuffed okra and also make a stew-like dish with spicy tomato sauce. What are your top five? The stir-fry sounds delicious - will have to try it soon.

                                  1. re: herby

                                    Okra is a real space-hog in the garden, so I haven't planted it for the last decade or so.

                                    My top five, in no particular order:
                                    1. In Gumbo
                                    2. Dipped in cornmeal and fried in the traditional Southern fashion
                                    3. Fried without batter until completely crisp, with turmeric and basil leaves (from Madhur Jaffrey)
                                    4. Grilled with a lemon dressing
                                    5. Stewed with tomatoes
                                    6. Stir-fried as in the Burma recipe

                                    I'm listing six, because it is arguable whether or not gumbo counts as an okra dish. It's kind of it's own thing, and needn't always have okra in it.

                                    1. re: MelMM

                                      Thank you Mel! Grilled with lemon dressing and fried with turmeric/basil both sound great and new to me. Must find Jaffrey recipe - is it from her vegetable book?

                                      1. re: herby

                                        It is from World Vegetarian. The key, I think, is to realize you are not sautéing the okra, but really frying it (shallow frying, as the okra is sliced up small), and it gets totally crisp. It makes a great beer snack - better than popcorn.

                                  2. re: MelMM

                                    Okra-Shallot Stir Fry, p. 102

                                    I made a half recipe of this dish last night as I had a small amount of okra and a bunch of shallots that needed using. I loved this dish. I loved the texture of the okra prepared in this manner. Also, I was surprised by how much flavor this dish had given the few ingredients involved. (I did prepare it in a pan that had previously been used to fry shrimp for the shrimp salad, so that added an extra layer of umami flavor, but I think it would have been just as good without that).

                                  3. Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce, p. 36

                                    I made this some time ago, but since I've kept it in my fridge and served it as a condiment for the Easy Grilled Chicken (p. 163) last night, I thought I'd post something about it.

                                    The recipe is available online here:
                                    http://leitesculinaria.com/86432/reci...
                                    So I'm not going to summarize it.

                                    The vagueness about the type of chile to be used sent me looking for guidance elsewhere in the book, and particularly, to the few paragraphs under the title "Chile Choices" on p. 27. From reading this, I realized I could take great liberties with the chiles used.

                                    This turns out to be an extremely tasty and versatile condiment, which could vary a lot from cook to cook depending upon the chiles used. It keeps beautifully, and is a great accompaniment to anything fried or grilled.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: MelMM

                                      So good to read your reports, Mel. Two recipes I have on my list. I even went searching for the definitive chili reference as you did and agree. Duguid does often give alternatives in the recipes for choices...that's one of the things I like about the book. That and all the flavors.

                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        Another "must-try"...thanks Mel!!

                                        1. re: MelMM

                                          Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce, p. 36

                                          Thanks to MelMM for inspiring me to make this although I admit questioning my own sanity as I tediously stemmed and seeded a "packed" cup of dried chiles (a mix of Thai bird and "Indian" in my case), knowing several jars and bottles of various chili-garlic pastes and sauces were already languishing in my fridge!

                                          But, ah, yes, this homemade concoction is definitely better--and very little effort once those chiles are prepped. I loved all the things going on here and really enjoyed it with Easy Grilled Chicken (although my chile-wimpy husband found it too hot), and know I'll love it with many other things. Glad to have it in the repertoire.

                                           
                                          1. re: MelMM

                                            Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce, page 36.

                                            Thankfully MelMM did the legwork and concluded that liberties could be taken with the type of chiles used. I used New Mexico, Arbol, and Noras.

                                            I found this sauce absolutely hypnotizing. I kept wanting to taste it over and over. It is all the things it says it is: sweet, tart, garlicky, and hot. Complex. So much better than many sauces that end up tasting too one-note. Love this.

                                             
                                            1. re: MelMM

                                              Tart-Sweet Chile-Garlic Sauce, p.36

                                              These reviews have been in the back of my mind for awhile, and even though I don't usually reach for the "hot sauce" I knew I would eventually pull Burma back off the shelf to try it. So glad I did! The addition of fish sauce gives it a much deeper and interesting flavor than than anything I've had that's been store-bought ... and I simply used bagged "dried red chiles" from my Asian grocer! I did use the blender rather than the food-processor which is neither here nor there except that possibly the chiles were more finely minced. I totally agree - this is a great sauce!

                                            2. Ginger Salad (p.48): This is such a staple that I expect a lot will try to make it. Refreshing and lovely. I found the recipe made a lot more salad than I expected -- I had a lot of leftovers. I expected the ginger taste to be more noticeable, but the many other flavors in the salad balanced it out. For myself, I'll up the ginger the next time around because I can eat tons of it, but following the recipe closely, the dish would be very compatible with a lot of other dishes and non-Asian cuisine.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mary shaposhnik

                                                Good to know this produces a tasty, not-too-ginger-intense dish mary. mr bc doesn't love ginger as I do so it's good to know the flavours are balanced. Thank-you for your review.

                                              2. Punchy-Crunchy Ginger Salad, p. 48

                                                After spending time preparing various "Burma Basics", it was very satisfying utilizing those necessary for this salad and being absolutely impressed with the end result. There were many flavors incorporated into this salad, but none in particular overwhelmed the others - just nice, crunchy bites of nuts, seeds and cabbage infused with mellowed ginger, garlic and shrimp. Splashes of lime juice & salt tied it all together.

                                                I did not include the optional pumpkin seeds, and I purchased unsalted, dry-roasted soybeans rather than making them myself. And I used a bit more lime juice - probably a good 3 tablespoons, for added brightness & moisture. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly.

                                                My daughter, who has been to Japan and didn't eat one salad while there that didn't contain an abundance of tiny dried shrimp or some other type of fish thought the shrimp powder was more to her taste - a "hint" of seafood flavor rather than a strong one. We all loved it!

                                                 
                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: lesliej

                                                    Beautiful sounding and looking dish leslie...thanks!!

                                                  2. Deep-Fried Chayote (Zucchini) Fingers, p. 125

                                                    I made this using zucchini instead of chayote. Your squash is cut into matchsticks (I seeded mine first). The batter is rice flour, turmeric, water, salt and ginger. It comes out very thin. The method is to dip clumps of a couple or three pieces of squash, dip them in the batter, and then deep fry them in peanut oil. The clumps are supposed to hold together, but most of mine did not.

                                                    The batter was so thin that these came out of the oil looking like they weren't really battered at all. There is no picture, so I can't tell what was intended here. The good news is that they had a nice flavor. You could really taste the ginger. I might try less water (or more rice flour) in the batter next time to get it a little thicker. I was expecting something more like a tempura.

                                                    1. Fermented Soybean Paste, Soybean Discs (Tua Nao) -pg.39, 40

                                                      Now that the weather has finally turned spring-like, I figured it was time to take on the task of making these dried fermented legumes, since I can't purchase the stuff anywhere around here. Here is a somewhat lengthy review of what went down...

                                                      Dried soybeans are cooked until tender, drained, and set aside in a warm place, loosely covered, for up to several days. I did note that the beans took longer than the three hours to cook that the author had stated, but dried beans can be fickle things and there are many reasons why this could have taken so much longer--I'm guessing age in this case.
                                                      Anyway, I transferred the drained beans in a shallow woven basket, and covered the top and bottom with a loosely woven tea towel. This I placed in the oven with the pilot light on; the warmest place I could find at that time. By the first evening I noticed that the beans were drying out slightly, so I moistened the towel with water, squeezed out the excess, and then re-covered (did this several more times over the next couple days). At this point there was a sweet soy scent wafting up from the basket.
                                                      By the time the beans had been sitting out for about 48 hours, the sweet smell had definitely changed to a more pungent, fishy odour. My husband thought I had accidentally left some seafood out on the counter, and a friend who was visiting kept mentioning that she smelled fish every once in a while (I had neglected to mention my experiment to her up until this point--perhaps not the best time to have company over!). The beans were starting to cling to each other, and most of them had a white, sticky coating on the surface. I was fretting that something had gone wrong and was contemplating tossing the whole thing into the rubbish, but kept on, thanks to the encouragement from some chow-folk.
                                                      By the end of the third day, just under 2 1/2 days total ferment time, my family couldn't take the vile odours emanating from the kitchen anymore and begged me to stop the process, so I begrudgingly relented and moved the beans to a sealed container in the fridge overnight.

                                                      Removing the beans from the natural fibers and cooling them seemed to mitigate the funky smell somewhat, so with renewed hope, in the morning I set to work forming the clumps into a paste in several batches with a mortar and pestle. Small balls of the paste were set between plastic and pressed out to discs 3" in diameter. I used a tortilla press for this project and it worked beautifully. The floppy discs are carefully removed from the plastic and placed on a mat or drying rack (again, just like tortillas!) and set in the sun until completely hard and dry. For me this took just over two full days in a windy and bright environment, bringing the discs indoors overnight. I found that insects (flies and wasps especially) were attracted to the tua nao in great numbers and so covered the table with mosquito netting to deter them. Once dry, the awful smell was completely gone, and what remained was a sweet, straw-like scent.

                                                      Comparing the home-made discs to the purchased ones, the colour is notably lighter by several shades, and a sniff-test of the two yielded a deeper, nuttier aroma from the professional discs. You can see the difference in colour in the photos. After toasting and crumbling however, there was nary a difference between either, both in scent and colour, as can be seen in the final photo (home-made tua nao on the left). A side by side taste comparison sealed the deal--I made two batches of the shan style simmered cabbage, each with a different tua nao powder--and there was no difference in taste at all.

                                                      I wonder if I had left the beans out to ferment for an additional half-day if that would have solved the dilemma of the colours, but that is a project for another day. I am quite satisfied with these discs and will probably attempt this again in the summertime, outdoors only, with the longer ripening.

                                                      Next up--homemade shrimp paste. Stay tuned. (Kidding, kidding!)

                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                       
                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                        Amazing! I am in awe at your dedication to the task.

                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                          Wow, Allegra, you are one motivated and resourceful cook. I too am in awe.

                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                            Terrific report! Thanks for so much detail and all the pictures. Really helpful.

                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                              What a tremendous accomplishment, Allegra. Brilliant attention to detail and reporting. Thanks so very much!

                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                I'll my voice to the accolades, great job!

                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                  Wow Allegra, I'm in awe of your determination and commitment. What an accomplishment. Congratulations!

                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                    Holy cow, truly impressive.

                                                                    Why not fish sauce next? Homemade really is better....

                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                      Thanks to all for their nice words! It was a fun little science experiment, if nothing else. Happy that it turned out, though!

                                                                      And fish sauce, hah! As if my neighbours don't hate me already with the rotting beans....

                                                                  2. Succulent Grapefruit (or Pomelo) Salad, p. 45

                                                                    I contacted several markets looking for pomelos but had no luck; their peak season, I was told, is Nov. - March (although Whole Foods said they could try to special order it). Whether you are able to find pomelos, or substitute pink grapefruit, as I did, I think you will love this salad! The fruit & shallots taste fabulous together, and the flavors of the fish sauce and shrimp paste, although detectable, are subtle.

                                                                    It is easy to put together if you make your "pantry basics" ahead of time - I made the shrimp powder, toasted chickpea flour and fried shallots/ oil the day before. Coincidentally, I served it alongside the Kachin Pounded Beef, and it absolutely was, as she mentions in her serving suggesions, a "refreshing foil".

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                      This sounds wonderful leslie and I'm imagining it would be terrific alongside some grilled pork or chicken too.

                                                                      1. re: lesliej

                                                                        I have a pomelo sitting on my counter at home right now. It has been there for a few days and I must say I will miss it when it is gone. Every time I walk into the kitchen I get this slightly bitter citrus fragrance that I just love.

                                                                        I will be making the salad tonight, so will report on how the pomelo was in the dish. Thanks for the great notes Leslie.

                                                                        1. re: lesliej

                                                                          Succulent Pomelo Salad Pg. 45

                                                                          I'm sorry to report we weren't huge fans of this dish. I do believe it is an issue of personal taste and not a flaw in the recipe though.

                                                                          The pomelo was very reminiscent of grapefruit, if slightly more bitter. That in and of itself wasn't a problem, it was the combination of somewhat bitter fruit with slightly acrid shallots. Again I'm usually ok with raw shallots that have been soaked, but the amount in tandem with the pomelo was just too much for us.

                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                            I wonder if I was just lucky to have a particulartly sweet grapefruit - in fact, when my daughter was sectioning it we were scrambling to collect the last drops of juice because of how good it tasted. I imagine that if our grapefruit was tart our salad would not have been as tasty as it was - no "sweet/savory" contrast.

                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                              I think that would definitely have made a good difference, since our pomelo was super bitter (verging on the flavour of bitter melon).

                                                                          2. re: lesliej

                                                                            I made this last night ( 1/2 recipe, with a nice sweet red grapefruit) and it tasted great, but the raw shallot taste stayed with me for a few hours. Maybe I needed to slice thinner as I'm not sure the quick water soak had its full intended effect. I followed the recipe exactly, but my result did not look much like the picture. A lot of juice kept coming out of the grapefruit, even after drinking off what was there at first, such that when I added the next set of ingredients, I got a bit of a beige (from the chickpea flour) slurry all over everything, which made it look a bit unappealing. Next time, I will try to get more of that juice out before putting in other ingredients. But even so, I think to have it look like the picture, one might need to add the ingredients in a different order, and not stir, as in the picture on p47 all those shallots look crisp and clean, not covered in beige liquid.

                                                                          3. Fried Shallots and Shallot Oil, Pg. 24
                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/12870/...

                                                                            Hasn't someone already reported on this procedure? I thought I read it somewhere. In any case, I made this since it's an ingredient for the Burmese-Style Chicken Salad on page 72. So easy to do and the result is sweet golden shallot slices and a mildly flavored oil. I halved the recipe otherwise I wouldn't have any shallots for the rest of the week.

                                                                            The recipe and procedure is in the link above. It really takes no time at all to do so we first cooked the shallots then went on to the chicken salad. Follow the directions exactly and the result will be just what ND describes. After using the portion needed for the salad there was about 1/3 cup shallots and about the same of flavored oil. Each was put into a small canning jar and refrigerated for later use.

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              Fried Shallots and Shallot Oil, p. 24

                                                                              I made these this morning in prepping for tonight's dinner. I agree with Gio: this is really pretty simple. The most onerous part of the task is peeling the shallots; I used a mandolin slicer to slice them so that was a snap.

                                                                              The shallot oil has a heavenly aroma!

                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                I can't tell you how tired I am (already!) of peeling and mincing shallots--it's nearly as tedious as garlic.

                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                  I hear you, but happily I knew this would be an issue for me so I purposely hunted for the biggest shallots I could find. They are not huge mind you, but verging on the size of a very small onion so I find the peeling a little less onerous.

                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                    Just want to jump in to say that I didn't think to report on the few pantry basics I've made...but as far as the fried shallots go I wish I had made more only because they are positively addicting eating them out-of-hand!

                                                                                  2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                    This from the woman who took on soybean disks!

                                                                                    ; )

                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                  Just made my first batch of fried shallots. No one’s mentioned yet the added perk of a beautifully reseasoned wok. A friend who stayed in my apartment for six weeks wasn’t quite as fastidious with my wok as I and the seasoning had begun to deteriorate a bit. Slick and black as ever right now. I’m actually considering making fried shallots in my still-fairly-new deBuyers. ;-) (PS: How have you all managed not to eat them all before you get to use them in a recipe?)

                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                    About your post script--I just fried a batch of shallots a few days ago and made the grave error of leaving them overnight on the counter. The spouse came home from work late after I was already asleep and so he had no nagging voice to stop him from polishing off the whole thing! Arrgggg.....

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      Fried Shallots and Shallot Oil, Pg. 24

                                                                                      Just made a batch of these and the kitchen smells great. I can't wait to use the oil. My shallots didn't crisp up though but I'm eager to throw them into some dish soon.

                                                                                      Next time, I would sprinkle a bit of salt on to the cooling shallots.

                                                                                    2. Burma-Style Chicken Salad, Pg. 72
                                                                                      http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

                                                                                      This is a good recipe for just about any leftover cooked meat and makes an appetizer, or lunch. We served it as dinner augmented with mixed greens and naan. It's simply chopped meat, (chunks from Sunday's roasted chicken), a green chili (minced Serrano), dressing (lime juice/salt/chili pepper/shallot oil), sliced shallots, chopped cilantro and mint, fried shallots, and optional toasted chickpea flour which I omitted.

                                                                                      We started by making the recipe for Fried Shallots and Shallot Oil on page 24, then sliced more shallots as the recipe calls for and let them soak in water for 30 minutes. Preparing the other ingredients goes quickly. As one can see by the link above it's quite a simple but flavorful salad. I suppose others may want a second dish but this was just fine for us as a light dinner plate. I'd recommend it for just that purpose.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                        Chicken Salad, Burma Style, p. 72

                                                                                        I knew I'd love this the minute I saw the ingredient list, and my instincts didn't fail me. We both loved this and found it the perfect light dinner (or antidote!) after a heavy restaurant lunch.

                                                                                        No need for me to repeat as Gio has already covered the process. I did sprinkle on the optional toasted chckpea flour. (DH added some chopped peanuts to his portion, and that was very tasty, too.)

                                                                                        One thing I know: I am going to make sure to keep a supply of fried shallots and shallot oil on hand. With those in the larder and some leftover meat, this salad can be whipped up in no time.

                                                                                         
                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                          Made this again, using mint in lieu of cilantro. Also lovely.

                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                          Burma [Inspired] Chicken Salad

                                                                                          I had some leftover rotisserie chicken and decided to use it up in a Burma-inspired chicken salad. I did not have fried shallots, shallot oil, or toasted chickpea flour. I tossed my shredded chicken with sliced shallots, lime juice, mint, cilantro and olive oil.This was excellent! I'm sure it would have been even better with the additional ingredients -- next time!

                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                            Another leftover chicken and a second round on this one for me as well, this time with fried shallots and shallot oil. Once again, this was a terrific way to use up a roast chicken!

                                                                                        3. Simmered Cabbage, Shan-Style p.116

                                                                                          This isn't my first time cooking this superb dish, and it certainly won't be the last. The ease of preparation and inexpensive ingredients make it a wonderful staple that's packed with flavour.

                                                                                          Chile powder,salt, turmeric, toasted tua nao powder, and shallots are cooked in a bit of peanut oil until the shallots are softened, at which point shredded cabbage and thin tomato wedges meet up with the pan. A lid is placed atop and all is simmered until the cabbage is wilted. Chopped roasted peanuts get stirred in at this point, and then is covered again and cooked until the cabbage is "a softened mass". This can be served warm or at room temperature.
                                                                                          I used the bottom end of a large head of napa cabbage, and perhaps should have added more veg or reduced the salt this time, as I found it a touch too salty; though that was likely my own fault.

                                                                                          This ends up as a deep yellow, moist (but not saucy) dish flecked with red tomato with a good kick of heat from the chiles (I only used 1 t. cayenne powder and was satisfied). There is a depth of nuttiness both from the tua nao and the roasted peanuts, the peanuts adding delicate crunchy bits throughout the soft and comforting cabbage. Because the cabbage cooks down so much, I would say that if this is served as a main dish it would be more suited for two people than four, unless extra sides were added to go with. Either way it is a fabulous recipe and I would really recommend that others give it a try!

                                                                                           
                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                            This recipe is on my list Allegra and I'll get to it eventually. Better be quickly since I too have the bottom half of a Napa. Used the top for the Refresher, as I'm guessing you did also... Happy to read that it's a winner.

                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                              I don't have the cookbook but I'm following along with interest - this looks wonderful! I read above that you made your own tua nao, but for those of us who are WAY too lazy to attempt such a thing, has anyone found a source for purchase? I searched quickly online and didn't find anything.

                                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                qianning shared a place with us. "The soybean discs are available on minthila web site, in Burmese "Peal Poke" (or per minthila Peal pork!), in Shan "tua nao"
                                                                                                here is the link to the product.
                                                                                                http://store.minthila.com/mf109.html "

                                                                                                Enjoy!

                                                                                              2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                Simmered Cabbage, Shan-Style p.116

                                                                                                I really liked this dish as well. Not much to add other then how I ate the leftovers. I added some rice noodles to have a cabbage noodle soup and it was a satisfying breakfast.

                                                                                              3. Toasted Chickpea Flour, p.32

                                                                                                Has anyone made this???

                                                                                                I'm concerned because mine is much darker than ND's appears in the photos. It is just a shade lighter than cinnamon, and I'm concerned that maybe I toasted it too much. If anyone has any experience with this, I'd love to know before I use mine.

                                                                                                It couldn't be easier. I did a half recipe, tossing 1 c of the flour (Bob's Red Mill) into a hot smallish cast iron skillet and lowering the fire and stirring briskly as the flour did start browning immediately. By the time it was all evenly browned, it was brown, not tan, as ND's appears to be. I don't think it tastes burnt, but I'm not sure how it is supposed to taste.

                                                                                                I'm including a couple of photos, one with the untoasted and toasted versions side by side. Even taking into consideration my lack of skill in photography, you can probably tell that my finished product is fairly dark. Any thoughts?

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 
                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                  I have also toasted mine NMC and it looks just a tiny bit lighter than yours. I am using it for the first time tonight so will let you know if there are any off flavours. If mine is ok I'm sure yours is too.

                                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                                    Thanks, delys; I'll be checking in to see what you think after you use it.

                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                      Hey there NMC, I used the toasted flour tonight and I didn't find mine tasted burnt or over toasted. Mind you it was in the pomelo salad which is very punchy, but I also had a little taste of it on its own and definitely didn't taste burnt. Hope yours is ok.

                                                                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                                                                        Thanks; I'm planning to try it in Burmese Chicken Salad in the next few days. I took another taste of mine, and I think it's OK. Fingers crossed.

                                                                                                      2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        Hard to tell from a photo, but yours looks right to me. Best way to tell is taste a bit before using it.

                                                                                                    2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                      Yes, I've toasted some, and it was a bit lighter than yours, from what I can see in the photos. This is much like making a roux, but without the oil. You should have full control over how dark it gets, and if the taste is agreeable to you, I wouldn't worry about a shade or two of difference.

                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        Hi Nomad - I toasted chickpea flour the other day, and although the color of mine is a tad lighter than yours (kind of the color of sand on the beach), if yours doesn't taste burnt it's probably fine. Mine has a "toast" flavor to start, then I can discern a mild chickpea flavor. So if yours doesn't taste like "burnt" toast I would go ahead & use it. (I had the opposite experience as you - my flour seemed to take forever to brown. I did toast 2 cups, but I used a 12" skillet).

                                                                                                        1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                          Thanks MelMM and lesliej.

                                                                                                          I'm thinking I may have gotten my skillet too hot before I started.

                                                                                                          I may try another batch and then compare the two tastes before I use it. But I'll wait to hear delys77's results.

                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                            I'll definitely let you know how it goes.

                                                                                                            To be honest, I'm a little perplexed by the idea of adding flour to a finished dish, eventhough it has been cooked, we are still talking about adding flour to a raw dish. I'm worried it may clump or have an unpleasant mouth feel, but we shall see.

                                                                                                            I'm definitely willing to give it a go.

                                                                                                      2. kachin rice powder soup with chicken and ginger p.91

                                                                                                        A very simple recipe with few ingredients to get started with. Basically a chicken and ginger soup, the weird part is that instead of whole rice you first toast and then make a powder of the rice. The result is something completely unlike a standard broth-y chicken rice soup. My result was very gingery, a bit too strong for kids to actually eat the ginger pieces, although they like the overall dish. My food processor is not very good and the rice did not get all the way to powder, instead it was more like coarse sand, which may have affected the resulting texture and thickness. I think I need a spice grinder. My soup was quite thick from the rice. ND mentions diluting it as an option but does not really say what it should be like. although the phrase "porridge-like" is used in the text. Next time I will dilute it more, as it was heading towards oatmeal consistency.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: maple99

                                                                                                          If you have one, a coffee bean grinder makes a perfect spice grinder. I have 2 such grinders and leave one dedicated to just spices.

                                                                                                          Thanks for reporting on the soup. I'll have to takes a closer look at the recipe now...

                                                                                                        2. Long-bean Salad with Roasted Peanuts, p. 50

                                                                                                          This sounded intriguing enough to me that I made a trek out to the Asian market for long beans. You could make it with green beans, but as ND says, long beans hold better, stay crisp.

                                                                                                          You trim and boil the beans, drain, then toss with roasted peanuts (1/4 c), toss again with dressing (1 T fresh lime juice, 2 tsp ea fish sauce and shallot oil), and then sprinkle 2 T fried shallots on top. (I skipped the salt called for after the dressing as my peanuts were salted.)

                                                                                                          Do try this one. It was delicious: crisp-tender beans refreshing dressing, crunchy peanuts, crispy-sweet (and, as others have noted, utterly addictive) shallots.

                                                                                                          A winner. Next time I spy long beans, I'll be grabbing them.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                            I've tried and loved this one as well. I'm finding the salads to be the highlight of this book!

                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                              We had this for lunch today, and liked it too. No shallot oil, so I subbed a little garlic flavored chili oil, which we enjoyed.

                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                Long Bean Salad with Roasted Peanuts Pg. 50

                                                                                                                This was the tasties salad I have had from the book thus far. NMC does a great job of outlining the dish, I would just add that I used regular green beans and the dish worked very well. The overall flavour has that lovely hit of umami, that I am really appreciating in most recipes found in this book.

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                  [Green] Bean Salad with Roasted Peanuts, p. 50

                                                                                                                  Like others, we loved this. I used green beans from the farmer's market for this salad. They were young ones so pretty tender. Loved the dressing (lime juice and fish sauce and shallot oil, what's not to love?) and the crunchy elements (peanuts, shallots), and the salad was a snap to assemble once I had fried my shallots. (I've been doing the shallots in little bits for each dish as I simply haven't had the time to slice and fry a whole bunch at once. It's actually not too bad as it doesn't take much time to peel and slice 3-4 shallots, and then I chuck them all into the finished salad with the warm cooking oil.)

                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                    Long-Bean [Haricots Verts] Salad with Roasted Peanuts

                                                                                                                    I used haricots verts from Trader Joe's and overcooked them just a bit. Noting for next time. Didn't add any salt even though my peanuts were not salted. Didn't miss it. Finally got to use the fried shallots and oil I made nearly a week ago. Good to know the fried shallots hold up that long. Easy to see why everyone has fallen in love with this. I served it on red-leaf lettuce and called it dinner. And a very satisfying one it was.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  2. Mandalay Grated Carrot Salad p.62

                                                                                                                    Another fantastic salad out this book, and if one has all the pantry staples already made, a really quick one at that.

                                                                                                                    Carrots are grated and pounded gently in a mortar with lime juice and fish sauce, using the back of a wooden spoon to break down slightly. Shrimp powder and toasted chickpea flour get mixed in by hand, then minced green chile and salt. Peanuts and fried shallots go in just before serving and is mixed with chopped cilantro.

                                                                                                                    Really love all the bright and exciting flavours and textures that come out of this dish: the crispy shallots, the crunchy peanuts, the toasty flour--all works so well together and brings the plain ole' carrot to a thrilling new level. The shrimp powder is just enough to give a slight flavour of the sea, and I enjoyed it in the mix just as well as everything else. The Offspring tentatively took a small spoonful, then eagerly reached for seconds,and then thirds. It's a superb dish that I'd highly recommend!

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                      You've convinced me! I looked at this, then passed over it since carrot salads so often disappoint even when they sound promising. Now, on it goes to the to-make list. Looks beautiful too.

                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                        Oh, I sure hope you like it! My husband, who usually loathes carrots (especially raw ones) told me that I could make it anytime. Testimonials.....

                                                                                                                      2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                        Love this dish. It tastes good, and I always have the ingredients on hand. For that reason I've made it more often than any other recipe from this book. We had it a few nights ago, and I was reminded of how easy it is, and how well it goes with rice.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                          Mandalay Grated Carrot Salad, p.62

                                                                                                                          I finally got around to trying this recipe last night, and I have to say, though my husband wasn't thrilled with it (not a carrot fan), it may be the best grated carrot salad I've ever tasted. And I love the pop of color on the plate. I'll definitely make this again.

                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                            I have this on the list for this week (I really need no-cook recipes in this heat!). Anyway, I was wondering whether the toasted chickpea flour is essential to the dish?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                              Hard to say, Westminstress. I had it, so I used it, but I can't say I could have isolated that flavor. My gut says go ahead and try without it. There are a whole lot of flavors partying in this dish so the cp flour may not be missed. It seems that I've read several posts where folks have skipped the cp flour in some recipes and still were happy with the results.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                            Definitely the best carrot salad I've ever made or eaten. I used mint since I have it fresh on hand. Two caveats: first, the overall recipe quantity is very small, even as a side I thought this amount was only suitable for 2, not 4, so I would readily double or triple the recipe for more people, but, second, it does not keep very well, after a night in the fridge the flavours were nowhere near as bright.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                              Mandalay Grated Carrot Salad

                                                                                                                              Thanks for all the accolades pointing me to this recipe. We enjoyed it very much, even without the toasted chickpea flour. I also subbed a bit of ground cayenne chile for the fresh green chiles, which is an option given in the recipe. Both of my kids (including my carrot-averse preschooler) liked this salad. The quantity as written was just enough for us -- I'd double the recipe if you have more than two hearty eaters at the table.

                                                                                                                            2. Intensely Green Spinach and Tomato Salad with Peanuts (p44)

                                                                                                                              Coming out of the woodwork because I'm so excited about this cookbook. I initially totally dismissed it because I wasn't familiar with the cuisine... I'm glad I finally succumbed to the positive reviews.

                                                                                                                              Spinach (in my case, watercress) is washed and sautéed until tender. Cooled, drained and chopped, it is combined with chopped tomato, shrimp powder, roasted peanuts, fried shallots and tossed with shallot oil, fish sauce, salt and chile powder.

                                                                                                                              Tough my shallots were a little overdone and bitter (so sad, I will have to redo them this weekend), this salad was just up y alley. Refreshing and delicious, and another way to use my beloved spinach. A definite keeper, especially when tomato season arrives (though grape tomatoes would make a good substitute in the off season, I used some plum tomatoes I had on hand.)

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: kaymbee

                                                                                                                                Intensely Green Spinach and Tomato Salad, p. 44

                                                                                                                                I made this salad last night with a mix of spinach and turnip greens. My spouse and baby liked it a lot, but I thought it was missing a splash of acidity. I did enjoy the varied ingredients and was impressed with how quickly it came together, so I'll look forward to trying other Burmese salads.

                                                                                                                                1. re: kaymbee

                                                                                                                                  There are two of us further down the road who missed this post somehow. I just wanted to link us up with kaymbee's original post. Gio's post starts off here, and mine follows.
                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9039...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kaymbee

                                                                                                                                    And by the way, this treatment is very versatile. Tonight I had sugar snap peas from my CSA. I steamed them very slightly, added quarter slices of baby cucumbers, and cherry tomates. I dressed the vegetables with lime juice, fish sauce, shallot oil, fried shallots, shrimp powder, chile powder, and chopped almonds (alas, still no peanuts in the house.)
                                                                                                                                    Raves at table. This book is full of good ideas that one can extrapolate to different uses and different dishes.

                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                      Needed a side vegetable for Burmese dinner, had snap peas, and remembered LN's variation. It worked out great! Your lime juice addition is also a great idea, as I continue to think this salad could use a hit of acid (I used all of my lime for the lemongrass fish). Also -- I had been leaving most of the chili out of the salad so my kids could eat it. I added a bit of extra chili to my portion and it made a real difference in flavor (in a good way). Anyway, I agree that this is an easy and versatile summer salad.

                                                                                                                                  2. Golden Egg Curry, p.122

                                                                                                                                    I served this with Perfumed Rice, and have to say it was my family's favorite dish so far! Frying hard-boiled eggs IS a nifty technique, and they really do look beautiful when finished.

                                                                                                                                    Begin with your basic hard-boiled eggs (using your favorite method of cooking, or the author's). After adding turmeric to hot oil (I probably sprinkled closer to 1/4 tsp. to the skillet) carefully add the eggs. The eggs will begin to color fairly quickly - try to avoid moving them around too much to avoid having the crispy "skin" stick to the pan, but if it does, you can brown them up in that spot again. The color of my eggs, when I took them out of the pan, looked just like the book's photo.

                                                                                                                                    The preparation of the sauce is pretty straightforward - the only change I made was using cayenne pepper from my spice rack rather than making my own. Because the green cayenne chiles are seeded in this recipe it seemed to me most of the heat (although fairly moderate) does come from the chile powder, so keep this in mind when adding it (and the heat from the powder does intensify when sauteeing it with the tomatoes, shallots & garlic).

                                                                                                                                    Add the fish sauce, salt & sliced chiles, then the eggs, and that's it! It would be easy to adjust the quantities in this recipe; in fact, the amount of tomato sauce seemed a bit skimpy to me for four eggs (especially if you want to serve this with rice or another starch) so I would probably increase the sauce ingredients by another 50% or so next time. And the fish sauce, blended into the tomatoes with that generous dash of salt, was really nice...great combination of flavors here, and a really beautiful dish!!

                                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                      Golden Egg Curry p. 122

                                                                                                                                      Here's a link to the recipe for those that don't have the book. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                      This made for a quick meal after work. I already had boiled eggs in the fridge so this came together in no time. I made half a recipe of sauce with 1 boiled egg (since this would be dinner for one) and only 1/2 T of peanut oil and served it with jasmine rice.

                                                                                                                                      My husband commented that the turmeric colored egg looked like an Easter egg. Making the dish was reminiscent of shashuka.

                                                                                                                                      The umami laden tomato sauce with the egg was a very comforting dish (I like it spicy so I added a bit more after tasting the sauce). The recipe is good as is, but I also liked the addition of the tart-sweet garlic chile sauce to this. Next time, I'll have to try adding the crispy shallot and dried shrimp relish (Balachaung)- it seems like this would really bump up the flavors and add another textural element.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                        Those eggs are beautiful, aren't they? Thanks for mentioning shashuka - I had no idea what it was but after looking at various recipes I decided it is something I will have to make in the future. It does seem similar to this.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                          They sure are. I hope you enjoy shashuka if you end up making it.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                            The Ottolenghi version of shashuka is supposed to be especially good...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                              I've made his version from Plenty and it is indeed delicious (he also has one in Jerusalem, but I believe it differs slightly).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                Indeed, my family and I have made both versions multiple times and there is considerable debate about which one is better. I personally prefer the one in Plenty, which is rich in peppers and herbs.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                              Golden Egg [Curry], p.122

                                                                                                                                              I had a couple of servings of the warming beef curry with tomato. There wasn't a ton of beef in it so I wanted to round the protein out for lunch. So, I decided to make these eggs.

                                                                                                                                              I used more tumeric (probably 1/4 t, I mean, what's up with the 1/8?) and a pinch of cayenne.

                                                                                                                                              These eggs were very pretty and delicious. After re-heating the stew, I added rice noodles and halved eggs on top.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                You've left a golden path of Burma tidbits so I'm following you.. I've been increasing the tiny amounts of some of the ingredients such as turmeric as I cook the recipes I've chosen. I can't help but think that Burmese home cooks make the food taste the way their family likes and adjust their handed down recipes accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                  For some reason, the 1/8 t really irritates me. I probably use a generous 1/4 t. I think that either Duguid has a really sensitive palate or thinks the audience doesn't seek bolder flavors.

                                                                                                                                                  ETA: I would like to visit Burma one of these years and I'm hoping this will help convince C. He likes the food but isn't convinced about going to Burma.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                    Good friends are planning a trip to Myanmar this Christmas and tell me it's a nightmare. They don't accept credit cards or, get this, even Burmese kyat. They want payment up front in American dollars only. My friends have been practically living at Western Union. I was in Myanmar a number of years ago, but only for two days, and so near the Thai border we were able to use Thai baht.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                      I'm beginning to think I need to consider doubling the spices and cutting the water amounts throughout.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                        A Facebook friend of mine took a trip to Burma led by Naomi Duguid earlier this year, and it sounds like she had a fabulous time. I'm not big on organized tours myself, but perhaps if you can find something promising like that you can avoid the complication JoanN mentions.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Joan and Caitlin. That's excellent info to have. The reality is that a big trip to Asia is a few years off. But, I always like to dream as to where I would go next (re-visit Vietnam and then Laos and Burma).

                                                                                                                                                          The exciting reason is because I am finally starting to get serious about a kitchen renovation to fix the falling ceiling and get a stove that will hold a simmer without the flame going out.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                  I made this tonight and love it. I've found yet another egg curry to add to my repertoire. Quick, easy and very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                3. warming beef curry with tomato, p. 184

                                                                                                                                                  really yummy and simple. ingredients were easy to come by. excellent.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Smoky Napa Stir-Fry, Pg. 115

                                                                                                                                                    We thought this was a serviceable side dish, didn't think there was much of a smoky flavor though. That's supposed to come from oyster sauce mixed w hot water and left to steep(?) while the cabbage is prepped. The stir-fry is typical with seasonings here of turmeric, dried red chilies, minced shallot, ginger, and garlic, then the added oyster sauce/water mixture

                                                                                                                                                    We cooked this before the second dish and since it was an option served it at room temperature which G later said he would have preferred hot. But it was a tasty accompaniment to the Shrimp Curry. I'd make it again to round out a meal...

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                      Smoky Napa Stir-Fry, p. 115

                                                                                                                                                      This simple prep may be my favorite recipe from this book--because, like a simple lentil dish from Madhur Jaffrey, it is destined to become part of our regular rotation.

                                                                                                                                                      I wasn't expecting too much, just wanted to use up my leftover napa cabbage and was glad to have some use for the oyster sauce languishing in my fridge. How much we loved this--more for its wonderful sweetness than its smokiness (though the "smoky undertone" ND promises is there)--was a surprise, esp. since DH isn't much of a cabbage fan.

                                                                                                                                                      "Burma" has been all about belying my expectations: I'm delighted by just how easy so many of the recipes have turned out to be.

                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                        Completely agree with you about the book. I've been astonished at how many meals can be put together quickly, with wonderful flavors.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                        Smoky Napa Stir-Fry - p. 115

                                                                                                                                                        Not much to add to the great reviews from NCW and Gio, here. We thoroughly enjoyed this quick, simple side dish which had loads of flavour and was more-ish without being too heavily seasoned. I made mine with savoy cabbage instead of napa and it held its shape and texture extremely well. We served it alongside the shrimp curry & rice, and I can see how this side could go very well alongside any number of meat or fish mains. Will make again!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                          Smoky Napa Stir-Fry, Pg. 115

                                                                                                                                                          I liked this a lot. I upped my aromatics and used a lot less water. So, it had a really nice flavor and wasn't as soupy.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                            Smoky Napa Stir-Fry, page 115.

                                                                                                                                                            Like nomadchowwoman, I had leftover napa cabbage I wished to use up, and this dish was perfect for that. I also had a small amount of beet greens, so I threw those in as well. I prepared the dish as written, and as Gio describes above. I served it hot off the burner with the fluffy lemongrass fish. There was a little bowl of roasted peanuts on the table, so we tried adding those to some bites. Either way, we were very happy with the outcome.

                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                              Smoky [Napa] Stir-Fry, Pg. 115

                                                                                                                                                              We made this again but with bok choy this time and it was very tasty. Had 2 bok choys in the CSA basket this week so the vegetables were ultra fresh. Followed the recipe as written, slicing the white stems from the leaves, slicing both in ribbons, wokking the stems a few minutes before tossing in the leaves and seasonings in their proper turn. It was a side dish for the Kachen Chicken Curry. Both dishes combined to create quite a nice meal. Our last Burmese meal for the time being but we're bound to revisit...

                                                                                                                                                            2. Burmese Tea Leaf Salad (Laphet Thoke), page 64.

                                                                                                                                                              I suspect I could have avoided the process of soaking the tea leaves, twice in warm water, once in cold water. The package I received was already moist, and already chopped. I imagine it was packaged as ready-to-eat, but I didn't want to take any chances. It tasted pretty much the same, before and after the soaking. It smells like wonderful tea, but the taste is a little sharper, a little more tart.

                                                                                                                                                              There are two options for serving this salad, one is to use cabbage and tomatoes, and to toss the salad. The other is to just use the fermented tea leaves, the dried shrimp, and the other crispies, arrange them separately, and not toss it. I did a little of each method. I arranged shredded napa cabbage and cherry tomatoes in one dish, and arranged sesame seeds, shrimp, peanuts, fermented tea leaves, and split roasted soybeans in another dish. I let each person dip into the ingredients, toss them in their own bowl, with the dressing made of garlic oil, lime juice, and fish sauce.

                                                                                                                                                              I could eat this all the time! Lots of crunch, lots of flavor (complex is the word for the day regarding the entire meal). And just so darn interesting.

                                                                                                                                                              The photos below include a picture of the fermented tea leaves after soaking and draining (with thanks to qianning and Mr. QN for telling me what to order); the salad as presented; and the salad mixed in an individual bowl.

                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                I just received my package of tea leaves yesterday (I also noted the link provided by qianning which showed the picture of the correct product on the minthila website - I appreciate the help as well!). The leaves do, in fact, seem moist (just by the feel of the unopened package). And since you tasted them before and after soaking and noticed little difference, I'll most likely skip the rinse/soak step. Loved your helpful review - I look forward to making this salad!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                  Gorgeous LN, looks just right. Mr. QN was just asking me if you'd tried the Laphet thoke yet, I'll let him know it worked out.

                                                                                                                                                                  I thought ND's soaking instructions seemed a bit long and drawn out, but not sure what product she uses/was assuming people would be using. For this product Mr. QN uses it straight from the package, he just adds a little sesame oil, to refresh them,some fish sauce and a little very finely chopped chili. But I'm sure every Burmese family has its own Laphet techniques, so others may vary.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                    I bought a few packages, and we've already had it again. Next time, I won't go through that extensive soaking process. It seemed like it was made for dry leaves. I absolutely loved this salad, and so did Mr. NS. So grateful for your help and Mr. QN's help. I would have been completely bewildered on that site without it!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                      If I place an order on that site, is there anything I should get besides fermented tea leaves and tua nao (which I'm not even sure I need since I have miso in the fridge)?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry emily, I'm really the wrong person to ask. All I ordered from the site was the fermented tea and dried shrimp. It seems like there are plenty of interesting items, but I wasn't sure what they were! I ordered the fermented tea as recommended by Mr.qianning. I ordered the shrimp because I could recognize them from the picture, and they ended up being a better quality than those I had from a local Asian market. If you order something else, I'd love to hear about it!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                          FWIW - other than the fermented tea leaves, there's really nothing I can think of that you would need to cook from "Burma" (assuming you have access to fish sauce and dried shrimp). And the tea leaves are really just for one recipe, the Laphet Thoke

                                                                                                                                                                          If there is any specific item that piques your interest, let me know and i'll be happy to run it by my in-house translator, if you'd like.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                            OK qianning, I would like to know about the bark face cream that we see (sometimes in designs, sometimes as a smear) on the women in Burma photographs. Probably not Mr. qn's area of expertise! But there are several options available on the website.

                                                                                                                                                                            Actually, I've now gotten a little obsessed with the site, and all its mysterious offerings. I'm curious about this item, maybe it's just a garlic press, but maybe it's something more exotic.
                                                                                                                                                                            http://store.minthila.com/mg35.html

                                                                                                                                                                            And look at these pretty things!
                                                                                                                                                                            http://store.minthila.com/mg026.html

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                              Hi LN, sorry to be so slow getting back to you, Mr. QN and I have both been on the road a lot last two weeks (some parts work some parts vacation), just had a chance last night to ask him about your minthila questions--his answers a bit long, but here's what he came up with:

                                                                                                                                                                              "1. The first "face cream" is actually a traditional face powder for both men and women. It is made by taking a block of special wood (like sandal wood - it is highly aromatic) and grinding it with a little water into a paste (there is a special stone implement used to do this - http://store.minthila.com/mg027.html ). Then the paste is smeared over parts of the face that would normally be sunburned - both protecting the face from sunburn as well as acting as a perfume as well as keeping the skin dry in the oppressive heat. It is known as "thana-khar" in Burmese. These are the "ready made version for instant use: (http://store.minthila.com/mg29.html, http://store.minthila.com/mg023.html). This is the block of wood that is used to make thana-khar: http://store.minthila.com/mg028.html (you need to cut off a slice of bark so that the inside is touching the stone when the wood is ground). The site is liberal in transliterating Burmese so "That-nat-khar" and "tha-na-khar" are the same. If you think of these in the same way we use talcum powder, these are very useful items - keeping you cool in oppressive heat!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. The thing that looks like a garlic press is actually a nutcracker - used for cracking beetle nuts into tiny pieces for use in making the Burmese version of paan (a beetle-leaf preparation that is an asian substitute for chewing gum and just as nasty on the teeth). It might be useful if one has to break some macadamia nuts also..... very sturdy!

                                                                                                                                                                              3. The textiles are actually the pre-cut pieces ready for use in a woman's dress (the bottom part). Traditionally, there is a black band of material stitched along the top edge - so that it is hidden when the sarong (longyi) is tied - showing off the full pattern.

                                                                                                                                                                              4. By the way - these are very nice velvet slippers (for women, the other pair is for men):http://store.minthila.com/mg021.html

                                                                                                                                                                              Hope this is useful. Gifts of food are always appreciated!"

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                Fascinating about the face powder!

                                                                                                                                                                                Does the betel nut taste half as bad as the leaf? I shudder to think so.....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, thank you and Mr QN for all of that helpful information. I could go nuts on the site, just playing and trying. You've been a big help, and I never would have been able to make that fermented tea leaf salad without your help. I made it again last night (for the third time), and it's a favorite. Now I've got to get some other goodies too!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                        Burmese Tea Leaf Salad, p.64

                                                                                                                                                                        I prepared this as a mixed salad, tossing the Napa cabbage, tomatoes, nuts & seeds (and shrimp powder instead of whole dried shrimp) together with the fermented tea leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                        I cannot agree more with LN's accurate description of this recipe - so unusual, and definitely "interesting"! I didn't rinse the packaged tea, but did mix in some chopped chiles and sesame oil based on qianning's post. The sesame oil thinned it out a bit (but didn't dilute the savory flavor), and the chiles were a really nice touch - the heat balanced the intense pickled/sour properties of the fermented tea.

                                                                                                                                                                        It makes sense that this salad is traditionally served at the end of a meal (or on its own)...it certainly packs a tangy, zesty punch!

                                                                                                                                                                      3. Shrimp Salad, p. 68

                                                                                                                                                                        Another wonderfully refreshing, easily assembled salad: peeled and cleaned shrimp (I had 16 large) get stir-fried quickly in oil (2 T peanut), then cut on the diagonal and tossed with sliced scallions (I used 4), julienned English cucumber (about 1 c), chopped cilantro (2 T), minced chile (1 red Thai bird), fish sauce (1 tsp), and fresh lime juice (2 T). I added salt and about 2 tsp of shallot oil. (Fried shallots would no doubt be a tasty addition.)

                                                                                                                                                                        I made this as a light lunch for two, but my husband said he could have eaten it all himself. It really was delicious. That it is low-cal, low-carb, and heart-healthy is a real bonus.

                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                          Looks wonderful, and does indeed sound refreshing. Going on to my ever-growing list...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                            Shrimp Salad - p. 68

                                                                                                                                                                            Great minds think alike, it seems. I made this for dinner last night. It's a great seasonal dish for me right now, as shrimp are in season here and I just started getting cucumbers in my CSA box.

                                                                                                                                                                            I discovered at the last minute that I was out of scallions, so I subbed diced red onions that I soaked in water with lime and salt to take the edge off. I also used a whole cucumber, instead of a half, and went a little heavy on the cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                            This was a very nice light dinner for two (if you have a hearty appetite, you'll want something to go along with it). The one thing I would change next time is that I would chop the cucumber into 1/2" dice (about the same size as the shrimp, after slicing). I just think it would work a bit better if the chunks of cucumber and shrimp were about the same size. At any rate, a very nice shrimp salad that works well seasonally for me, so will certainly grace our table in the future.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                              Shrimp Salad, p. 68

                                                                                                                                                                              I agree with nomad & Mel - this salad was delicious. I'm thinking It could also be made ahead and served chilled to round out a special picnic menu.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                Shrimp Salad, p. 68

                                                                                                                                                                                Make this salad!!! So delicious!! I made it with a small Kirby cucumber and half pound of shrimp but the full amount of dressing (plus shrimp juices from the frying pan). I didn't have scallions so used some thinly sliced shallots which I soaked in lime juice while I prepped the rest of the meal. I chopped the cukes in small cubes as per Mel's suggestion, and I think that was the way to go. Great salad.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Paneer in Tomato Sauce p.124

                                                                                                                                                                                Feeling rather lazy and not up to the task of mincing up so many herbs, I nearly made a half-recipe of this one. I'm so glad that I ended up overcoming the sloth and made a full batch, as this was simply delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                Shallots and turmeric saute in peanut oil to soften, and then garlic paste, chile powder, and shrimp paste get mixed in. Pureed fresh tomatoes (I used a mixture of fresh and tinned) are added and simmered for a while, then in goes paneer and sliced cayennes. After another simmer, stir in a hearty dose of minced scallion greens, season with fish sauce/salt, and toss with a huge handful of cilantro.
                                                                                                                                                                                While shrimp paste is starting to grow on me, I still need very little of it to be satisfied, so I reduced the amount to 1/2 t instead of a full teaspoon, and instead of using salt for the remainder of the sodium I used fish sauce to make up for the missing umami. Since I was feeding some whose spice tolerance is still a bit low, I used 1 jalapeno and thin strips of green pepper in place of the cayennes. Even then there was a pleasant amount of heat in the dish. The paneer I used came already cubed out of the freezer, so I just cut each cube in half and it was nicely distributed throughout.

                                                                                                                                                                                We loved this and nearly polished off the whole thing in one sitting. This was a very saucy dish that went perfectly with heaps of rice. The tomato sauce had a deep and rich flavour from the shrimp paste/fish sauce, and the addition of vast amount of herbs really brightened the sauce and made it almost refreshing. I was worried that 1 c cilantro would overpower everything else, but it made the final product better for it. The paneer was just lovely in this dish and I enjoyed the contrasting textures it provided. This is one of my favourites so far out of this book and it may become the first recipe I think of when I pick up fresh paneer.

                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                1. A question about dried shrimp powder. I followed the instructions to soak and process the shrimp to a fluffy powder, and the instructions say to store in an airtight container at room temperature. I did just that, but I think my shrimp have gone rancid after a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I admit I was a little dubious about storing at room temperature after the shrimp had been soaked. The resulting powder was exactly as she described. Did anyone else have this issue? Do you store yours at room temperature?

                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kaymbee

                                                                                                                                                                                    I store mine in the refrigerator - I used it again last night after it had been in the fridge for about a week, and it was just as fresh as when I made it. I know the recipe in the book says to store it in a glass jar without specifying to refrigerate it or not (did you use an online recipe?); I just keep it chilled because that's what I do with pretty much everything I call a "staple"! (Plus, the Asian grocery where I purchased the dried shrimp kept them in the refrigerated section).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have the book and used the book as my guide - I guess I assumed it was to be stored room temperature because it is referred to as a "pantry staple"! My mistake; I read it several times and i remember being confused on storage instructions. I'll remake this weekend and store in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Di you store your fried shallots and shallot oil in the fridge too?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kaymbee

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've stored the fried shallots and shallot oil I made in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kaymbee

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've kept the fried shallots & oil in the cupboard and after a few months, they were still fine. A good thing 'cause there isn't any more space in my fridge for another jar!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                            A little late but my shrimp turned into more of a paste then a powder. I dried them after soaking so I am not sure what the problem is

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jefpen2

                                                                                                                                                                                              Not to dispute w/ Ms. Duguid, but we never soak our shrimp before "fluffing" them in the FP or blender, and any extra are always stored in the fridge. We try not to make too much extra, because although they don't go "off", the flavor does seem to diminish pretty quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was actually going to comment on the shrimp powder.....I had completely forgotten about the little jar of it that I had in the fridge...until it happened to drop on my toe, haha. Anyways, the shrimp was slightly grey-ish and had a distinct ammonia smell to it. I tossed it, but why would this happen? The soaking, perhaps? Or does this always happen after a spell?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I honestly think it is the soaking. But since we never soak it, I don't really know, nor do I know why Duguid suggests soaking them--D. Thompson definitely, for example, does not (pg. 151 "Thai Food"). And although I try not to, I have occasionally kept extra shrimp floss in the fridge for some time (like more than a month, not days), without any trouble, but made from dry shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Roasted Eggplant Salad

                                                                                                                                                                                      I had 4 Asian eggplants that needed using up and couldn't decide between this recipe and Dunlop's Smoky Eggplant with Garlic (which we enjoyed so much the other week), so I made small versions of both! I grilled the eggplant, stripped the skin and mashed it into a very rough paste. Added to that are lime juice, shallot oil, fresh shallots (after a soak in cold water), fried shallots, salt and cilantro. I didn't have cilantro, which was too bad. I thought that this wouldn't hold up against Dunlop's spicy eggplant, but the tart flavors were quite refreshing. Very enjoyable and another nice way to enjoy eggplant without all the oil that frying adds.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                        Roasted Eggplant Salad

                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry I don't have the book with me so I don't have the page number handy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        This was the vegetable side/salad for a Burmese meal last night. As Emily describes above this is essentially a roasted eggplant salad tossed with shallots two ways and shallot oil, plus some lime, cilantro and a touch of salt. For me this was a big hit since I love the flavour of shallots. I must admit that I did soak my shallots in the lime juice before adding so as to take the bite off even more. I have discovered I am more sensitive to raw shallot than I had thought, and for me the resultant lightly pickled shallots was delicious, especially against the sweet fried shallots, and the rich shallot oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My partner found the texture a little unappealing but loved the flavour. Not sure if there is any way around that for eggplant, but worth noting for those who sometimes take issue with the soft texture of roasted eggplant.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Big winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Intensely Green Spinach and Tomato Salad with Crispy Fried Shallots, Pg. 49

                                                                                                                                                                                        This recipe includes a few necessary Burma Basics that should be made prior to tackling it, such as the fried shallots and shallot oil, and the dried shrimp powder. Apart from that the salad is easily put together . I had lovely baby spinach in our CSA to use and after cooking in boiling water for a few minutes it's set aside to cool. This gave us time to cook the chicken dish on page 167. When ready to proceed set all the ingredients in a shallow bowl: diced tomato, shrimp powder, roasted peanuts, fried shallots & shallot oil, fish sauce, chili powder. I omitted the salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The spinach was indeed a vivid green and with all the different seasonings quite a nice dish. The shrimp powder is barely discernible but one knows there's something in the background enhancing the flavors of the other ingredients. This was a good accompaniment to the Shan Hills chicken dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                          Intensely Green Spinach and Tomato Salad with Crispy Fried Shallots. It's on page 44 in my book, perhaps we have different editions?

                                                                                                                                                                                          We had spinach in our CSA, but a rather small amount, and you know how spinach cooks down. So my proportions were not what was called for. I used cherry tomatoes, in a variety of colors. And, the nut worm in the house (the same worm that eats the olives and the good cheese) had devoured all the peanuts. So I chopped up some Marcona almonds.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this dish after work and, like Gio, I used it to accompany a chicken dish. I hadn't done any advance prep, so I made the fried shallots with the shallot oil, and the shrimp powder, just before I made the salad. Surprisingly workable.

                                                                                                                                                                                          This is one more aromatic and tasty dish from the book. I do think the peanuts would have been better than the last minute almond switchout, but even so, another success.

                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                            You're correct, LN. I went up and down this thread a couple of times to see if anyone else had reported on the greens. Not only did I miss kayemmbee's report of 6 June I read Qianning's report of Tender Greens Salad w/ Crispy Fried Shallots that's on page 49.and typed the wrong page number on my report...

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was sufficiently enamored of this dish to use the same treatment with different vegetables. We had sugar snap peas and baby cucumbers, along with the rest of the cherry tomatoes. I did all else the same, with the fried shallots, shallot oil, shrimp powder, etc. Just tossed the ingredients with the snap peas and baby cukes. So delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                              That's just too funny.
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. two nights ago I used Swiss chard instead of spinach
                                                                                                                                                                                              2. last night I used sugar snap peas and early Summer squash
                                                                                                                                                                                              Perfect each time... I'm loving that shrimp powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Our CSA, for some reason, is overloading us this week w 4 lbs of the peas and 3 heads of various lettuces, among other things. And we only have a Half share! I'm substituting all over the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Chinese Kale (or Broccoli Rabe) with Pork Cracklings, Pg. 54

                                                                                                                                                                                            Using this recipe as an inspiration I made Stir-fried beet greens with stems. From the recipe I omitted the cracklings, roasted peanuts and soybean disk. Everything else remained and created a fine secondary dish for the fish salad on page 71 and the fried rice on page 226.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The stems were removed from the beet greens and sliced into about 1 1/2 inch segments. The greens were were thinly sliced. Peanut oil heated in a wok, shallots and garlic added, then stems, next the greens. Wedges of tomato go in next then chili, salt and fluffy shrimp powder (my inclusion). All is stir-fried till everything is cooked through and greens just wilted. This was so tasty! That shrimp powder is addicting. It enhances anything it comes into contact with and I love using it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                              Broccoli Rabe with Pork Cracklings - p. 54

                                                                                                                                                                                              I made this to go with the pork belly stew in this book. I was a little light on the pork skin and wish I had more on hand as it worked nicely with it. I used toasted chickpea flour and brown miso as a substitute for the soybean disk. We both really liked this dish and the mix of flavors. My only change would be that the amount of sliced shallots was a bit too much for us. Next time, I'd probably cut that in half.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                Chinese Kale (or Broccoli Rabe) with Pork Cracklings, Pg. 54

                                                                                                                                                                                                I somehow found myself with a huge pail of rendered lard and the resulting pile of cracklings, which is simultaneously wonderful and terrible! As such, I've been searching for recipes that call for these crispy bits. It came as no surprise that there was a Burmese salad the contained a goodly amount of the ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I made this recipe as written, with the exception of substituting roasted soy nuts for the peanuts. I did a half recipe, but upon tasting the salad (and accidentally over-salting) I quickly threw together the other half. So glad I did, as this was a huge hit at the dinner table! Another amazing salad containing a wide array of textures and flavours that we couldn't keep our mitts out of. This one is definitely going into the repeat bin. We had this with lemongrass pork sliders (with tart chile-garlic sauce), shallot-oil potatoes, cabbage/shallot refresher, and plain rice. It was an excellent combo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Hearty Pork and Vegetable Soup Pg. 88

                                                                                                                                                                                                My last post for Burma this month is for this lovely soup we enjoyed last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Duguid has you finely slice some lean pork (I used Tenderloin) and then toss with a bit of turmeric and salt. Meanwhile you sliced some shallots, a good amount of ginger and smash a bit of lemongrass, all of which go into a pot with some oil and a bit more turmeric.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Once this has sauteed for a few minutes you add the pork and brown it lightly. In goes some stock (I used the simple asian stock from Every Grain of Rice) and some shrimp paste. Finally some tamarind (I cheated and used a bottle tamarind paste) and lastly some sliced leafy greens (baby bock choy for me).

                                                                                                                                                                                                All of this came together in about 25 minutes and we were happily eating in no time. As suggested I served with some steamed rice on the side, spooning some broth and bits of pork into the separate rice bowl from time to time so as to enjoy a bit with rice. Overall the dish is quite simple with a light touch of lemon grass and a just a bit of tang from the tamarind. I suspect if you had used tamarind pods or cubes as she suggests it might have been a bit more tart, but for us a mildly tart soup was just perfect.The pork is also lovely with the large amount of greens in this soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The flavour profile is powerful enough, but definitely more restrained than you would expect from other SE Asian Soups (think Tom Yum), which while I like, I can only eat small quantities of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I would definitely repeat this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Lima Beans (Edamame) with Galangal (page 110)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Although I love lima beans, I had some edamame in the freezer and made this very easy recipe to accompany Fluffly Lemongrass Fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Garlic (smashed) and galangal (either sliced or coarsely chopped) are sautéed in oil until softened. The edamame are added and cooked for a couple of minutes before a small amount of hot water and a bit of salt are added and cooked for another five minutes or so. That’s it. Done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I loved this. A perfect, simple, subtly-flavored side. Just marvelous. I chopped the galangal and next time would also chop the garlic. Not sure I see the point in just smashing it. In addition to limas, either fresh or frozen, she say you can also make this with freshly shelled garden peas. There’s no doubt I will be trying each version in turn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Page 111, mushroom and tomato curry. This one is very simple and a really easy recipe for a quick dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Both tomatoes and mushrooms don't keep long in the summer, so I had plenty of them that needed using up. Just slice shallots, cook up in turmeric and oil, add garlic, mushrooms, then tomatoes and chili powder. Finish with fish sauce and salt. So simple, but not an attractive dish ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mushroom and Tomato Curry, p. 111

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I loved this simple little curry. Prep is just as sedimental describes. The dish takes about 15 minutes to cook and the hardest thing about it is prepping the shallots (I've learned to buy the big ones for easier peeling). I used a mix of cremini and oyster mushrooms, and I thought the end result was just terrific. It reminded me a bit of the okra stirfry in that it had quite a lot of flavor for just a few ingredients, quickly cooked. (Unfortunately, though, neither of my kids liked it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Mimi's Bean Soup with Tender Leaves, p. 98

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This one was only OK to me. It is a very simple soup. Beans (she suggested frozen limas, but there weren't any in the store, so I used a can of butter beans) are simmered with minced shallots in water with a bit of turmeric, then pureed. Fish sauce and salt are added for flavor. Mixed tender leaves are stirred in at the end to wilt - I used spinach, sorrel and broccoli leaves. Serve with optional chili sauce (I opted). Though ND does mention somewhere that Burmese soups are thin, meant to be sipped alongside other parts of a meal, I would have preferred a thicker soup. I also had to add a lot of extra fish sauce to make the soup palatable. If I did this again, I would start by sauteeing and seasoning the shallots before adding the beans and (less) water. While I thought it was a bit on the thin and bland side, my 3 year old son, who loves beans and sipping soup directly from the bowl, liked this soup a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. New Potatoes with Spiced Shallot Oil, p 114

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is a simple recipe containing the tiniest of new potatoes. They are boiled and tossed with shallot oil that was heated with some minced chile, and then some sliced sorrel (what I used) or another tart element like tomatillo or green tomato. A nice, easy side to have on hand to fill the table. Nothing extraordinary, but perfectly alright.