Month: May 2012

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Burmese Ginger Salad | Gin Thoke

If we can’t open our hearts to the “weird” things in life, we’re not living fully. The girl who wears rain boots in the snow. The man that studies a bustling ant hill for an hour. The child that dips her scrambled eggs in molasses (Ava did this yesterday). These people all have one thing in common: they see the world through a different lens. Their world has no limitations. Wouldn’t it be glorious if a salad could change how you see the world? If one bite could take away all your preconceived notions and open your mind to the new, the exciting, and – let’s just be honest – the weird? Today we’re going beyond watery diner salads, sporting  browning lettuce, one measly crouton, a white-washed tomato, and a solitary red onion ring. (Thank goodness) Instead we’re loading our chopsticks with fresh, spicy ginger, salty fish sauce, fried lentils and chickpeas, chickpea flour,  peanuts cabbage… and… and… so much happy goodness. This is a bouquet of flavor that sounds more … quirky.. than it really is. This Burmese salad is extremely …

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Menu: Myanmar

Look carefully. In this photo Ava seems to be giving me the thumbs up. This is not, in fact, what is happening. Instead, she’s showing me how she holds her chopsticks. I made these kid-friendly chopsticks by folding up a piece of paper, placing it between regular chopsticks and wrapping all around it with an elastic band. Ava’s been using them since she could pick up a spoon. So why am I feeding her? Because she wasn’t so sure about the Burmese salad. Not yet. Our greatest role as parents is to provide the warm encouragement our children need to experience the world as fully as possible – to help open their minds. So, while it seems like I simply picked up the chopsticks to feed her, I’m actually working on world peace. True story. This week I have two summery treats, as well as one that’ll comfort you any time of year. Of these three recipes, 2 recipes have chickpea flour, 2 have coconut milk, and two have lime juice. There’s quite a bit …

Monk crossing, photo by Scott Anderson.

About the food of Myanmar (Burma)

Get your imagination primed; this week’s Global Table is laid between ancient statues dripping with gold, miles of muddy coastlines, and blue skies held up by lush, green tropics. We’re spending a week in Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma. Wander with me through the rhythms of daily life in this southeast Asian country, where flat, circular baskets whomp, whomp, whomp to thresh grain; pestles thump, thump, thump to grind ginger, garlic, and lemongrass to a paste; and mallets clang, clang, clang to make knives. Amid this bustling, concentrated routine, the scents and flavors of Burmese cooking shine bright. Salads are everywhere. If you’re thinking this means lettuce, think again. For the most part, these salads are flavor firecrackers layered with napa cabbage, lentils, chickpeas, fish sauce, and chilies. Variables include fermented tea leaf, pickled ginger [Recipe], and chickpea flour and more. Speaking of chickpeas, there’s a notable Indian influence in Myanmar. Not only are spicy curries, tamarind juice, and flatbreads common (nan pya), but food is typically enjoyed layered with steamed rice. Unless, that is, noodles show up. And, boy do …

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Monday Meal Review: Mozambique

THE SCENE: Recently Tulsa was blown over by some pretty mighty winds. Trees scattered their branches – the old, the cracked, and the decrepit littered the neighborhood streets. The next day I walked with Ava while she rode her tricycle.  Every few minutes I stooped over to the pavement, gathering small twigs and branches until my hands were full.  I would use the firewood in our chimnea. While I hate to see something good go to waste, I still felt a twinge of shame when the occasional car passed us by. I was that lady. Picking up sticks for no apparent reason at all. The weird lady. Ava pedaled happily along, occasionally pointing out another stick for me. Her simple, unquestioning willingness to help me, her mother, moved me. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of the jaded years to come. I silently looked to the sky and said a few words of thanks for the child. Thank you for not judging me with jaded eyes. Thank you for helping me with eager hands. Thank …

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Swahili Ginger n’ Milk Tea

Whether the sun is blistering or the snow is falling, Mozambique has the answer for you. Ginger – crazy ginger tea. The beauty of this drink is in the simplicity. There’s no long list of spices, as with Indian Chai (although, goodness do I love and adore a good cup of Chai). It’s purer than that. Every mug gently cradles steeped black tea and fresh grated ginger, topped off with creamy milk and sweet spoonfuls of sugar. It’s a little bit spicy and a whole lot of comfort. Served cold, this tea makes for an incredible poolside sipper. Served hot, this tea will warm your spirit as well as your fingers during a snowy sunset. This recipe is inspired by the Swahili people of Africa, some of who live in the northern tip of Mozambique. You’ll find similar drinks all in many parts of Africa, where ginger grows easily. Typically, the drink is served hot. Here is the video that inspired the recipe: Makes 1 1/2 quarts Ingredients: 1/4 cup grated ginger (about 3 inches …

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Lemon & Garlic Piri Piri

Welcome to golden, fire-breathing sunshine. This is piri piri, a famous hot sauce in Africa which has hundreds (thousands!) of variations. Today’s rendition comes from Mozambique, where bright lemon juice meets smooth olive oil, tiny hot peppers, and a healthy scoop of red pepper flakes. Piri Piri has her roots in Portuguese culture, whose influence is still felt today in Mozambique. Keep in mind that you can make piri piri by mincing a mountain of hot peppers, if you’re brave. In that case you might not even need the red pepper flakes. It’s all about what you feel like. The more peppers, the thicker the sauce, which can be nice (and is, in many ways, more traditional). For today, however, I simply wanted to make a hot sauce that would be edible for my rather mild-eating family, including my toddler … who, I might add, wasn’t nearly as scared of it as I expected. Which is amazing, considering the face I made when I gave it to her. Makes 1/4 cup Ingredients: 1 lemon, juiced (2Tbsp) 2 …

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Chicken Mozambique with Coconut Piri Piri

Have you ever had one of those days where no amount of air conditioning cools you down? Where summer heat clings to your skin like extra, unwanted insulation? Where you don’t even want to hold hands, for fear that one extra degree of heat from another human might make you cry? Yesterday was one of those days. It. was. hot. Sometimes washing my face solves the problem. Sometimes I have to soak my feet in cold water. Other times only the cold brine of the ocean will do (unfortunately Oklahoma is in short supply of ocean). On days like this there is no way I’m turning on the oven. No way I’m turning on the stove. Considering I don’t have a microwave, this leaves me with cold dishes (like that yummy buckwheat & feta salad from Montenegro) and, of course, the good-glorious grill. And that’s where we are today. Happy Grill Town. Now, aside from not heating up the house, the best thing about grilling season is cooking up ye ol’ favorites. You know, the ones that …

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Menu: Mozambique

This is childhood: an overzealous hug and a kitty who has lost the will to struggle. This is also childhood: faces small enough to fit behind the glass. Both of these photos come from this week’s lovely Global Table. I themed the menu around all-things-barbecue because steamy Mozambique has all sorts of BBQ goodness going on. The Piri Piri sauce can go on just about anything – rice, meat, soup, stew, so be brave and whip it up on your next whim. Even better, carry a little to your next potluck in a cute bottle and make the hostess happy.  Bring the chicken, too, if you have time. Then there’s the drink. Seriously. It’s like… creamy buttercups in your mouth. But ginger-hot. Oh goodness. None of this makes sense. Let’s just say it’s grand. What sounds good to you? Chicken Mozambique [Recipe] Whole chicken legs marinated overnight in coconut milk and lemon piri piri. This grilled chicken has tropical flair good enough for, say, Memorial Day weekend. Lemon Piri Piri [Recipe] A quick mix of garlic, …

Traditional Shangaan Dancing. Photo by JJ van Zyl.

About the food of Mozambique

I love a little eye candy in the morning. This week I searched Pinterest for Mozambique and found the most beautiful photos; sparkling clear waters, titanic mountain rainges, lovely ladies and adorable children. Page after page filled with the beautiful and the rugged, the charming and, yes, the unexpeted bits of the Southeast African country. Welcome to my new favorite hobby – looking up countries I know next-to-nothing about on Pinterest. In fact, the less I know about a country, the more fun it is. Have you tried this? The obsession means I now have pinboards for every continent, global themed parties, changing the world, and more. Hello, fun! Once I settled into the photos of Mozambique, I realized that, while there is an over proportion of beautiful resort scenery, there are also plenty of photos of daily life. Women carrying water on their heads, children lounging in the hot, hot shade, food at the market. And speaking of food… the food of Mozambique is as beautiful as her landscape. You might find anything from chicken [Recipe] in a coconut milk & piri …

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Monday Meal Review: Morocco

As I set our Moroccan Global Table I know something is wrong.  I know because I’m doing it on purpose. The table sits outside, under a tree, covered by dappled shade and a soft cotton cloth. I tuck the benches right up to the table, so Ava can eat without a giant void between her and the table. I look at the clock; Ava’s friend Isabel, her sister Emma, and her parents will be here any minute. After a moment of hesitation, I make my decision and quickly place seven dinner plates on the tablecloth. This is where I go wrong. This is what I should not be doing. To make matters worse, I continue by placing seven sets of silverware on the table and seven cups. The table is loaded to the brim. If I were living the traditional Moroccan way I would not be using all these dishes. We would tear off pieces of bread and use it to scoop up the lamb from the communal tagine, straight into our mouths. In fact, Moroccan …

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Moroccan Carrot & Juicy Orange Salad

Pretty, pretty, pretty. Say hello to the juiciest carrot salad in the world. Inspired by the cuisine of Morocco, the salad blends shredded carrots with fresh squeezed orange juice (loads of pulp!), cinnamon, sugar, and orange blossom water. It’s all kinds of crazy and… it works. I felt that, hot on the heels of our Mongolian Carrot salad, it’d be fun to make a variation from Morocco. And I’m so glad I took the risk. This is one wild salad. So take a deep breath, and breathe in the orange blossom goodness. NOTES: While it won’t be quite as good, if you decide to use orange juice instead of squeezing your own, please get the extra pulp kind. Those little bursts of pulp really make this salad special. Also, try shredding your carrots even finer, as this easier to eat the traditional way (in a tea glass with small spoon). You may purchase similar glasses at your local Middle Eastern market. Ingredients: 2 lb carrots, grated 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (all the pulp …

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Moroccan Honey Buttered Semolina “Crater” Pancakes | Beghrir

Oh, goodness. Where do I even begin? Do you see that honey dripping off the edge of the crater cakes? Each drop is perfumed with the haunting aroma of orange blossom water and butter. Hello. I mean, really. I’m pretty sure I can just pack up and go home now. My job is done. Talk about good-glorious-eats! But, for those few who aren’t yet sure if this Moroccan treat – officially called Beghrir – is right for their breakfast table, let me continue. These semolina pancakes aren’t really pancakes. They are fried on one side only. The other side is utterly soft and yeasty, and pocked with thousands of holes. The bottom is crispy, while the top is light and airy. They’re like a crumpet’s long lost cousin. The holes are perfect for catching pools of orange blossom honey sauce, by the way. While some like them almost as thin as crepes and as large as a dinner plate, you can also make them smaller and a bit on the thicker side, as I did. The choice is yours. For …