Technically, we landed on Estonia this round, and I got excited, as I actually know someone in our neighbourhood from Estonia, and figured, great, I can get some help on this one.
And then Shawn had this great idea, we should go to our friends house (whom we haven't seen in awhile, and they are expecting their first baby, check out their baby blog: http://irwinmoser.wordpress.com/ ) and cook for them. And let them choose the country we dine from. So a few text messages later, Mr. M said Burma (it was the first country that came to mind he later admitted)
OK...Burma (aka The Republic of the Union of Mynamar), bordered by India, China and Thailand....all great culinary countries, I`m looking forward to this trip! In my initial research, I learned that the Burmese people have many superstitions about food during various occasions throughout one`s life, especially pregnancy. Pregnant women should not eat chili, for the belief that it causes the baby to have `sparse scalp hairs`. OK, no chili for Mrs M. I would not want to be held responsible for the amount of hair on Baby M`s head
After a bit of running around for a few obscure ingredients (like agar agar flakes, and asian eshalots; I just used shallots) we sorted out the menu, loaded of a basket and drove over to Mr. & Mrs. M's home.
Drink: Pegu Club Cocktail
Appetizer: Yellow Split Pea Fritters
Main: ohn-no khaut swei (coconut chicken noodles)
Dessert: kyauk geor (coconut agar jelly) and fruit
Finding a Burmese drink, of the alcoholic persuasion (not for Mrs M though!) proved difficult. I did however come across the Pegu Club cocktail, invented in a British social club (the Pegu Club) in Burma in the 1920's.
1 dash Angostura bitters (found in the grocery store.....I had some from another "trip")
1 dash of orange bitters
1 tsp lime juice
3/4 oz orange curaco
1 1/2 oz gin
Mix all ingredients into shaker, shake and strain into chilled glass.
Of course, things don't always go quite as planned for us. First of all, orange bitters? What the heck are those, and where do you find them? Never mind, surely we can do without. Ice? Well, most people tend to have ice in their freezer. But alas, our gracious hosts did not. They did however have orange freezies. Hmm....could they double as ice cubes and orange bitters? Hey why not?!
The fritters were quite yummy, at first I was not sure about making them, as our fritter attempt in Brazil somewhat failed. So, I put Shawn in charge, and he produced a very fine, yummy fritter....that we ate ALL of! I followed this recipe: http://www.hsaba.com/recipes/yellow-split-pea-fritters
Our salad and our main were both a great hit!
For the Papaya Salad:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 large green papaya (I could not find a green papaya, which I believe is just an unripe papaya so I just got a regular papaya. I think the difference would be sweetness, my salad was sweeter)
- 1/4 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I forgot them at home....bu in the end did not miss them!)
- 1 cup peanuts
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
In a small pan, heat up oil. Cook garlic over low heat until golden, let pan cool.
Shred papaya and mix with cabbage and tomato (if you remembered them). Chop up the peanuts and mix into salad. Drizzle with oil and garlic, sprinkle with soy sauce, vinegar and salt. Toss gently with cilantro. Refreshing and oh so yummy. I'll never make coleslaw again!!
Our main dish, un-no khauk swe was really delsh. And there were so many interpretations of it in the world wide web. I followed this one http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/14835/Coconut_sauce_noodles_(ohn-no_khaut_swei) with a few minor alterations. I could not find Asian red Eshalots....so I used shallots.
I had homemade chicken broth in the freezer, so I used that, and just added the fish sauce , ginger and garlic and let it simmer for an hour or so. For the garnishes, I would do an extra egg or 2, they were a surprisingly good addition. And, in keeping with Shawn's wheat intolerance, I used rice noodles rather than egg noodles.
Dessert, did not turn out so great. I'm not sure if our palate did just not enjoy, or if I should have used more sugar. I found agar agar powder, rather than strands or flakes, so maybe that affected it as well.
The recipe I tried:
- 1/4 cup agar agar flakes
- 1 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch o' salt
In a saucepan, combine everything, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 min until all is dissolved. Pour into an 8X8 glass dish and leave on counter to set. The coconut milk should separate to form 2 layers, but mine did not.