Seasonally inspired things to Make, Learn & Do.

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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!

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Low light, bright petals, setting sun. ⠀
A couple of days ago I got a message from a friend asking what I thought about all the 'picking wild flowers' photos on here and the fact that a country style magazine was promoting it as a
My Gran had hangers like these.  Knitted from odds and ends of wool, hanging softly squashed together in the big dark wardrobe in her bedroom.⁠⠀
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My cousin and I would take the fancy silky 1960s dresses from them and transform ourselves into glamorous detectives, spying on passers-by from behind the net curtains, making notes.⁠⠀
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Now the hangers are my favourite things to make from wool scraps - each takes 37 grams of wool and you only need to be able to do a plain stitch to make it. ⁠⠀
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As well as being chock full of nostalgia for me, they are also the most practical kind of hanger, as the garter stitch keeps even the flimsiest of straps in place so clothes don’t end up on the floor.
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This week's business improvement was deciding to make the postcards that go in with orders more useful, getting Kate Stockwell to turn them into activity cards for me. ⁠⠀
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This is the first, going out with orders from today.⁠⠀
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I’m always amazed at how many plants from sunnier climes take to the garden. ⠀
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Sicilian honey garlic - Nectaroscordum siculum - is one of the plants that grow in rows in the orchard - ghosts of the flower field, buzzing with bees, happy in grass, a strong whiff of onion as I pass. ⠀
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This month I’ve been experimenting with solar dyeing- using plants and sunlight and a jar to dye wool on the windowsill. 
I was amazed at what bright shades were possible and at how easy and self contained it turned out to be. 
It was part of the Studio Membership mini “Introduction to plant dyes” course but I’ve also put together a kit in the shop with full instructions and everything you need to get started with solar dyeing wool (there are mini skeins in the kit). The photo is my drying rack on the dye deck - part of the studio where I used to prep flowers when I sold them. 
The wood rack used to be for shoes and wellies.
Inspired by @josephinepbrooks I’m still using this time for some serious decluttering of my business - looking hard at which parts have descended over the years into one of those drawers stuffed full of things.  Which bits are muddled, useless, impossible to open without everything falling out. 
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The poppies are from Friday’s blog about how they make wonderful cut flowers.
Another week. Another new morning 
I was chatting to a friend yesterday about what was the best thing about running my own business - and I decided that it was probably being excited about each day and all the things I want to do. ⠀
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That I now rarely need to force myself. ⠀

Today it’s finishing off this week’s Studio Members lesson about solar dyeing and putting together these activity postcards which I am getting printed to go out with orders. ⠀
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What are you looking forward to doing today?
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About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we 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.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

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