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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)

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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On Sunday night Euan turned to me and said “I don’t think we have ever made as much difference to the garden in such a short time.”⠀
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⁣ He was right. In October we had brought in soil to make raised beds - turning the ground slick and slippery. All winter and Spring I looked at mud and worried about all the people that I had told that there would be a garden to see in May. ⠀
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But then - dry weather, fierce cold winds and suddenly on Friday afternoon we could barrow and build and by Sunday night . . . There are the beginnings of a new productive garden - a mix of vegetables and flowers for cutting. ⠀
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As usual Euan did all the heft and heavy stuff and I planted and staked and fluffed up mulch. ⠀
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If you are coming along to A Seasonal Day on 8th May I am pleased to say that there will be a garden! ⠀
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Sometimes projects come together really quickly - one of the best things about having a small making business is that you can go from idea to having something for sale in a single day. ⠀
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This was not one of those projects - I had the idea in our busy Christmas period, took away the samples to knit while travelling in Asia in February, and yet only put the kit up on the website yesterday. ⠀
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I don't normally post many direct product shots here - but this one is special to me. I wanted to make a beginners’ knitting kit that allows people to knit something practical and quick - in this instance beautiful cotton face cloths and exfoliating cleansing wipes - and which felt substantial yet not daunting. My aim with everything is to make it easy for people to give things a go. ⠀
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And I wanted it to look beautiful and be practical and all be packaged up in way that was part of the kit. ⠀
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Everything came together earlier this week and I’m so pleased with how it looks, the squidgy cotton balls of yarn, the instruction cards and needles all in their own specially printed drawstring project bag. ⠀
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I hope you like it too.
How do you like to learn? I used to be happiest just battering on by myself, making mistakes, googling. But increasingly I find I’m preferring to be shown things by someone who knows what they are doing, to have the space to ask questions, and then to go home and try everything on my own with the option to call if I get stuck. ⠀
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I find my mind opened so much more by talking to other people - rather than beginning a project from my own limited viewpoint. ⠀
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I had a great time yesterday learning E-magazine production with Eleanor from @creativecountryside and today I’m planning to practice everything by re-formatting the guide to getting the most from your cut flowers to send out with the next newsletter. ⠀
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I also met up with @bob_sy - all arranged on an Instagram whim - and had a wonderful evening discussing kindness, connection and creativity. ⠀
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Increasingly I love being able to move beyond typed words and have great rambling conversations. Is anyone else finding the same? ⠀
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GIVEAWAY - Today I am getting the train down to Lancaster to meet Eleanor from @creativecountryside.  She is going to be showing me the ins and outs of making a magazine.⁣⠀
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I have always loved the aesthetics of Creative Countryside magazine - the solidity of it, the surety - so when the chance came up to take a masterclass in how to put it together I jumped at the opportunity.⁣⠀
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I love putting together the e-magazines for Studio Members and A Seasonal Way, but I am very aware that I am simply joining together PDFs.  I want to create something more magical, more meant.⁣⠀
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My lesson is co-inciding with suddenly having fast WiFi at home - so uploading a magazine no longer requires a drive to Stirling to poach University WiFi.  This will change Everything!⁣⠀
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This magazine is the first bumper edition of Creative Countryside, as it turns from a quarterly into a biannual publication. ⁣⠀
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I am a contributor to this edition, as well as subscribing, so I have an extra copy which I would love to give away. ⁣⠀
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Just comment here - and make sure you are following me - and we will pick a name at random next Tuesday.⁣⠀
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(The knitting is the #comfortblanketkal by @louisetilbrookdesigns which shall be my train knitting)
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I knew this greenhouse as a child. It had a grapevine then, and a lead dipping trough that was home to motherless ducklings. ⠀
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There were long snakes of terracotta pots under the staging and I got to turn the cranks to open windows in the roof. ⠀
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When it was abandoned and began to fall down we asked if we could take it and give it a new home - and now  it stands in our drive, the oldest thing here. ⠀
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Euan rebuilt it all exactly - with a new base, but with everything else original.  It turned out to be a superior form of flat pack.⠀
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This weekend I stood in the greenhouse, mid watering the seedlings that are crammed in tiers onto the staging and floor, and tried to link it back to when I was seven. ⠀
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I couldn’t. Then is was an enormous space of dust and spiders and broken glass , of benches to climb on and a cold, dark trough of water we were to stay away from. ⠀
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Now it is my garden in waiting. Waiting for May. ⠀
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I did think I should maybe plant a grape vine though.
I photographed this heart of honeysuckle on the Isle of Bute last month - a random reminder that nature is at the heart of everything that I love.⁣⠀
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Also last month, I spent a wonderful evening with my friend @hazey107 - and she told the story of why she had crossed the school playground to make friends with me 16 years ago.⁣⠀
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Seemingly I was standing waiting for the P1s to come out, my toddler on my hip.  Her bright blonde hair was full of leaves and sticks, her bare feel black with soil.  Hazel immediately felt that, with such a feral looking child, I must be her kind of person.⁣⠀
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We would have been travelling back from the field where I grew my flowers at that time, we hadn't yet found this house.⁣ I was probably worried about being the only scruffy Mum at the school gate. ⠀I never felt I did school gates very well. ⁣⠀
But hearing Hazel’s story I was so glad that I never mastered that
We are promised a dry and sunny weekend here in Stirlingshire. I have 3 days completely clear of commitments. The greenhouse is full of seedlings, the ground is dry enough to work. I have 4 tonnes of mulch in the drive. 🌱

I can barely contain my excitement. 🌱🌱 I’ve been awake since 5 (though obviously still in bed!) 🌱🌱🌱 What do you have planned for the weekend?
In February we visited Myanmar - to spend time with our younger daughter who is teaching there for a year. 
I loved the country and it has changed the way I look at many things. (1000s of feral dogs, yet no dog shit on the streets- what does that tell you about community?) On a more food based level I was just amazed by the salads and the way that plants that I would regard as ‘past it’ at home - like these mizuna gone to seed - or just not edible - like courgette leaves are used to create the most delicious and satisfying meals. 
I have written a blog with a recipe for a ‘greens’ salad with crispy shallots which is one of my favourite things to eat at the moment. You can get to it via the link in my profile. 
The other photos were taken at Nyaung Shaw market where we bought food before cooking it at the Bamboo Delight Cookery school (fantastic)
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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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