All posts filed under: Myanmar (Burma)

Monday Meal Review: Myanmar

Ava runs past me as I place the last clothespin on the line. Our blue sheets undulate with the breeze. Parting them with a quick swipe of her hands, Ava runs behind them and calls out: “Mama, come on! The big bad wolf is coming. Let’s hide!” She points at Malky, our cat, who slouches on the grass, licking his leg. “Oh, is he the wolf?” I ask, chuckling despite myself. Together we hide behind the sheets and every time the breeze blows the soft cotton towards our faces we squeal and say: “Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.” Malky continues his first bath of the afternoon, unconcerned. Soon the game evolves into random singing and arm waving; the rudimary performance of an almost-three-year-old. And, yet, in this glorious moment, she’s not a toddler. She’s a queen and I, a guest in her magical Kingdom. This isn’t surprising, really. Children conjure up entire worlds with nothing more than a sparkle glinting off of a ray of sunlight. But what is surprising is that Ava has second kingdom. This …

Read More

Burmese Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup | ohn-no-khao-swe

Oh, yes. Even on the hottest day in steamy, tropical Myanmar, you’ll find gaping bowls heaped with noodles, chicken, and silky coconut curry. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick. It doesn’t matter if your skin is tacky with salty sweat.  “Ohn no khao swe” is what’s for dinner. . You can call it Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup, if you’d like. To a local, this curry topped with egg and a garden of garnishes is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s as easy to find in rambling shacks as it is in roadside stalls. I can’t get over how easy it is to make. Chop a few things, toss them in a pot and simmer. After a happy mingle serve with noodles and enough garnishes to bring out even the Grinch’s smile, not to mention little Miss Ava (have I told you lately how much kids like to help build their own meals?). . The secret to making a great ohn-no-khao-swe is in the toppings. More specifically, in assembling your own bowl, just as you like it. If you do …

Read More

Split Coconut Jelly

Let’s just call this the dessert of indecision. My mom likes to say that doing the right thing is as “clear as day.” But here’s the thing: some problems are confusing. Even after an all night stresser, I can’t figure everything out. Am I capable of writing a book? Should I wear heels to a picnic wedding? Is it better to help an old lady cross the street, or maybe I should just drive her wherever she needs to go? For every question, part of the solution is clear, but generally there’s a murky area, filled with unknowns. For example, will my book be a book about food, babies, or … astrophysics? Will the ground be hard at the picnic wedding? If so, great, but then.. are my heels unwearable, covered with cobwebs, from years of neglect? Does the old lady even need my help? Why do I assume she does? What does that say about me? Variables make everything more confusing. When this happens, only time will tell what the right answer is, like clarity revealing itself …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More
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 …

Read More