Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Myanmar salad recipe for flowering salad leaves.

market shopping myanmar

In February I went to visit my youngest daughter who is teaching in Myanmar for a year.

Before we went I was told by foodie friends that the stars of Burmese cookery were perfect for people wanting to eat in a more plant based way (though not vegetarian/vegan as you will see from the recipe below)

The thing that struck me most is that many of the salads were made from things that I would have regarded as either 'past it' or 'not edible'. The flowering stems - the 'gone to seed' stage - of mustards and kale were regarded as the best bit, the leaves and trailing vines of courgettes and pumpkins harvested as much as the fruit.

These are all things which I have plenty of in the garden, too much at times, but which I have never used for cooking.

Tourist travel within Myanmar is restricted but we visited Shan state, to the beautiful area around Inle Lake. We were able to visit markets and then to cook our produce at the wonderful Bamboo Delight Cookery School in Nyaung Shwe. The top photo shows a market stand - one of dozens selling the same home grown produce - here a flowering mustard green.

market shopping myanmar

This photo is of a very similar bunch from my garden - one which I would have composted or fed to the rabbits. Now I make the following recipe.

 

Myanmar Greens Salad with crispy fried shallots.

This can be made with any tender greens - purple sprouting broccoli, kale, pumpkin leaves or any cabbagey green that has started flowering (mizuna, mustard, pack choi etc)

Burmese recipes use a few ingredients which we do not tend to have to hand - but which are easy to make and store.

1. Toasted chickpea flour - heat up a frying pan, add 8 table spoons of chickpea flour, reduce the heat and stir continuously until it begins to change colour. Make sure all the flour begins to toast. Do not let it burn. Leave to cool and put in a jar.

2. Crispy shallots/shallot oil - these are basically the same recipe separated out. Slice 5 or 6 shallots very finely and fry in 1 cup of peanut oil (or another flavourless vegetable oil) - you want them to gradually go brown and crispy, but not burn.

Take the shallots out of the oil and drain, store in a jar or storage box, then cool the oil and put into a different jar.

Ingredients.

1 lb greens cut into manageable pieces that will fit in pan.

2 tbsp chopped peanuts (blitz in a food processor or chop very very finely)

1 tbsp toasted chickpea flour

1 tbsp shallot oil

1 tbsp sliced shallots soaked in water and drained

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp shrimp paste/1 tbsp shrimp powder - (powder more authentic but I had paste for Thai curries in the house already and it worked fine)

Fried crispy shallots

Bring a pan of water to a fierce boil - add the greens and cook very briefly - 3 minutes should be fine for most things, and fine stems take only a minute.

Drain, then when cool enough to handle, cut greens into 5 cm pieces and arrange in a shallow bowl.

Add the raw sliced shallots to greens.

Sprinkle on the shallot oil, lime juice, the chopped peanuts, the shrimp powder/paste and the chickpea flour and use your hands to massage them evenly and lightly into the greens.

Add fish sauce to taste then sprinkle with some crispy shallots to serve.

This can be served as a side dish or with rice as a light meal.

If I was going to alter this to make it vegetarian/vegan I would replace the fish sauce and shrimp with a mix of shiitake mushrooms, fermented beans and miso using this recipe from Alice Hart (it is in her New Vegetarian cookery book)

Tags: recipe

Comments: 3 (Add)

Vanessa Dennett on April 12 2019 at 11:31

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe Jane, I'm going to have a go as soon as our onion allergic daughter has returned to uni! Next week is designated for preparing our veg beds...... so fingers crossed for reasonable weather!

Alyson Brenchley on April 12 2019 at 20:54

Must try this although will avoid the fish sauce ( allergic). X

Linda (@ocasionalscotland) on April 15 2019 at 21:35

You've inspired me to use the shooting and flowering kale in my garden - it's delicious!

Snapdragon social

The packing bench in the studio.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Sometimes I turn around and things just look so pretty together.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Labelling pale pink socks with the plant they were dyed with and the date they went into the dye pot.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The perfect almond glue for sticking paper, jute string for tying things up.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Amazingly I didn't even have to tidy up to take a photo - though it is quite a tight crop and the background is a blur.⁠⠀
For the past year the bedroom windowsill has been neglected. It has had stones and bones and the blue speckled pot of bird food, but no flowers.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I couldn't really work out why.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Then, as soon as I got the urge to line up my vases again,I realised what the problem had been. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
In March last year - as I was shielding and Euan is a front line worker - I moved to the spare room. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I was very, very bad at it - despite the room being very nice - and huffed and moped and felt I was being punished. I eventually slunk back to my own bed after two months. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The deal was that if Euan thought it was a risk he would phone from work and I would move my things back to the spare bedroom.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I kept expecting - despite all the precautions, the scrubs, the showering - that I might have to go back. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Last week I had my second jab, the numbers look good, and, though Scotland is behind England in opening up, I can see the country beginning to relax. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
It felt safer, I went and found a jug for the cherry blossom.
I began doing freehand embroidery when my daughters were tiny - a deliberate wiggle and flourish when hemming seemed preferable to my wobbly attempts at keeping the needle straight.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Then, when I began to sew commercially to have some income in the winter months, it seems like the perfect technique.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Getting the chance to exhibit at the Country Living Fair in 2005 got me speeded up and it certainly felt like my thousands of hours were put in then.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Today I start teaching an e-course to Studio Club members which will hopefully enable them to begin drawing with they sewing machines.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The module that will arrive with them today is all about machines and materials - with the message that the simpler the machine the better.⠀
⠀
It gave me a chance to tidy my sewing desk.
Today is the last day to sign up as a member of the Studio Club.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
So if you are ready for more connection and creativity in your life . . . .⁠⠀
⁠⠀
If you could do with a bit of calm and gentle joyfulness . . . . ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
If you want to find out more about the living things around you . . . to slow down . . . to feel more 'at home' . . .⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Then head over to my website snapdragonlife.com to find out more.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
There is a 'Pay what you can' option -  it is always the most difficult to get people to sign up for, and yet I know if would be perfect for so many.
It has been a joy this week to see the bantam hens all out enjoying their freedom.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
It is the one point in the year when we have an abundance of eggs - they are late starters and then hide them all as soon as the weather warms up.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I have been spending time sitting watching them peck around the orchard - feathers ruffled by the wind, heads down eyes trained for tasty morsels.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I decided to make a hen embroidery the last part of the 'freehand machine embroidery' e-course that starts on Tuesday. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The aim is to break downtime the processor freehand embroidery into very simple steps - with a different exercise each week, building skills and confidence until you can draw with a sewing machine by week 5.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The course is included in the Studio Club membership - if you want to take it live, week by week, you have 24 hours to join up.  Details on snapdragonlife.com
This week I have been drawn to white and bright and light.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
In the flowers I picked for the Studio Window.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
In the cool white Scottish linen I've been embroidering.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
It's a clean feeling, a throwing off - probably because I've been stuck with a dragging, draining fatigue for a few weeks.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
It's that wondrous clarity that you get when you realise that you can open your eyes wide again.
If I could persuade people of two things they would be . . .⁠⠀
⁠⠀
1. to seek alternatives for domestic cut flowers until their local field flowers are blooming (which is almost now here in Scotland ).⁠⠀
⁠⠀
and . . . ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
2. to pay attention to the daily changes where you live.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
These are snippets of hawthorn and hornbeam hedge arranged in test tubes - but they could also be in bottles or small vases and they could be any kind of deciduous tree or shrub. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Every day they emerge a little more, every hour they catch the light in a different way.  All week they have made me smile.⁠⠀
Last year I dumped a load of finished tulips from pots into a metal box, intending to plant them out in the garden.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I completely forgot and all summer the box looked as through it was just a heap of used compost.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Most days I walked past it - always intending to take it to the compost heap - until last month it began to sprout.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
This is some of the 'free' (if rather mangled) tulips from the box.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I have replanted them into the old terracotta pots and propped up the wayward stems with bits of hedge.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Then - I promise - I shall plant them out properly when the finish flowering this time.
snapdragon.life
FacebookTwitterPinterest

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

Learn more about why here

Loading