Homegrown Antipasto

Everyone will recognize this old favorite! It is so simple and delicious–especially when made with the best homegrown ingredients. Who could resist? I grew my own balcony fingerling eggplants last year! This is a recipe that you can grow at home, even in an urban apartment with only a balcony :).

Serves 2

  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 sm eggplant, sliced
  • 2 lg balls mozzarella, sliced
  • 2 T e.v. olive oil
  • 1 t balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Handful of fresh herbs i.e. mint, dill, basil, parsley, terragon…

Burmese Fried Prawn and Bean Sprouts Salad

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You can get this salad at Bo Kyoke Market in Yangon, Myanmar. Crispy and delicious!

Naomi Aung gives us the details and a translation of the recipe from this website.

Pazon Khwat Gyaw Thoke is a crispy nest of bean sprouts with shrimps on top. Make the salad with noodles and a sweet & sour & hot dressing. Comes with a hot clear soup. Very good, and you’ll even be full as if you’d had dinner 🙂

Pazon (pawn/shrimp) Khwat (cup) Gyaw (fried). It is Pazon Khwat Gyaw. If it is salad, it is Pazon Khwat Gyaw Thoke. The salad usually has shredded cabbage and cucumber.

Recipe translated from

  • 1 lb (1/2 kg) of prawns/shrimps
  • 1.5 lb (650-700g) bean sprouts (side note: thin bean sprouts from mung beans, not soy bean sprouts)
  • 1 pk of tempura mix*
  • 1 onion
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Mix with water. (Naomi’s side note: Be careful about adding water. You can add more water later. Mixture should not be too thin.)
  • * – if tempura mix is not available, mix 3/4c bean (chickpea) flour and 1/4c of a 3:1 mixture of rice powder and sticky rice powder. (Naomi’s side note: it is a good idea to add a bit of baking soda if you are not using premixed tempura)
  • Method:
    Let dry the bean sprouts after cleansing. Thinly slice one red onion. You can use either cooked or raw shrimps. If raw, clean them and pat dry.

Fenugreek and Quinoa Salad

This was a lucky discovery. Tasty and amazingly good for you as well. Fenugreek greens can sometimes be found in an Indian food market and are often used in Ayurvedic cooking.

Serves 4

  • 1 large avocado
  • 2c quinoa (cooked)
  • 1/2 c green olives stuffed with garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fenugreek greens
  • 1/2 bunch mint
  • 1/2 lime’s juice
  • 1-2T e.v. olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper

This is great for using up leftover quinoa but other grains like rice, buckwheat, or bulgar could also be used. Dice the avocado, slice the olives, rough chop the fenugreek and mint. Toss together and add the lime juice, olive oil and season to taste.

Fenugreek has a very uniquely light maple syrup aroma/flavor which really brings out the mint and goes well with the quinoa and avocado. It also gets into your skin and you may notice that you are smelling like maple syrup for a few days after eating it. A nice bonus for your workmates if you have terrible B.O 🙂

Fenugreek and Fennel Salad

serves 4.
This refreshing and balancing salad will cool you down on a hot summer day.

  • 2 bulbs fennel, sliced as thin as possible and placed in ice water while preparing remaining ingredients
  • 1 bu fenugreek leaves, chopped (1c)
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 1 t harissa
  • 1 lg garlic clove
  • salt and pepper

Toss together. Taste. Adjust flavor.

Pennywort Salad (Min Kwa Yuet)

Another of the famous Burmese lethok literally “mixed by hand” salads.

This one was first brought to my attention by my little sister who was a mad fan of eating Naw Rosie’s Min Kwa Yuet Salad on her home-made brown bread while she was going to high school in Myanmar.

It is definitely addicting and delicious beyond description. Unfortunately it uses an herb that isn’t easy to find. Pennywort is actually a name given to several different plants. I think the one being used in Myanmar is Gota Kalu (Centella asiatica) but I will have to get this confirmed. The herb is considered to be very good for the kidneys in Burma and is also made into a drink, which clears the skin.

Pennywort (Min Kua Yuet)

I have finally started going through my photos and discovered this great photo of the herb that I took in the market of the ancient city-state of Mrauk-U. I had completely forgotten that I had it.

Here is the recipe as I know it. I advise you to adjust the ingredients to find your own preference. I cannot say if there is a good herb around here to substitute for this, but it is bitter so young dandelion greens would probably be good. They are also good for the kidneys, so maybe that is spot on. Let me know if you try it.

Burmese Pennywort Salad

Wash leaves briefly in cold water. Chop.
Mix in oil, lime, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp and chilis.
Mix well with clean fingers.
Taste and adjust flavors.

I have not given measurements since it is best to taste it and adjust it according to your own preferences. Start with small amounts and add more.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Crispy Salmon and Avocado Spring Rolls

My mother taught me how to make cha gios when I was young. She learned how to make them when she was working as a linguist in Vietnam during the war. It was our favorite food as kids and whenever we came home from boarding school for Christmas or summer holidays she would make us a huge dinner of crab meat-stuffed spring rolls, wrapped in crispy lettuce and dipped in the salty-sour so good sauce.

I have adapted the recipe here, using smoked salmon instead of crab meat, avocado instead of mung bean sprouts and honey instead of sugar in the sauce, but the results are every bit as delicious as the original so I suggest you try it as many ways as you can. You won’t regret it! Video demo.

Thai Squash and Avocado Salad

This is phenomenal. Especially if you like fresh Thai salads like green papaya salad or vermicelli salad.

The spaghetti squash makes an interesting substitute for noodles in this cooling salad. Great for a hot summer day.

serves 4

  • 1 small Spaghetti Squash, roasted whole to tender 45 minutes to an hour in a 400 degree oven

While it is still hot, cut it in half. Remove seeds. Remove spaghetti strands with a fork into a bowl. Get what you can and allow the rest to cool for easy removal later.


  • 1-2 T fresh butter
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin and rinsed under cold water

Arakanese Eggplant Dip

The Rakhine people of Western Myanmar love very hot spicy food and make this dip hotter than I can handle it. Therefore, although I say the chili’s are optional, it is no longer an Arakanese dip if the chilis are not added!

serves 4

  • 5-6 Japanese eggplants
  • ½ small white onion, sliced very thin and rinsed under cold water
  • 1/4 c cold pressed peanut oil
  • 2-3 hot green or red fresh chilis (optional)