Beans & Grains

Shan Tofu Made From Channa Dhal

I have been meaning to post this recipe for years now I feel terrible for not having posted it before–it is such a simple dish. Shan State in Myanmar (Burma) has a very unique tofu recipe which is made from channa dhal not soybeans. Channa dhal is a bean that is similar to chickpeas but smaller, more yellow and easier to digest, especially if it is properly soaked. This recipe is a delicious traditional recipe that can be made into a variety of items. From tofu nwe (a sort of warm tofu porridge with peanuts and cilantro–also used to make the delicious Shan Noodle dish), to tofu thoke (tofu salad) to tofu hnat pyan kyaw (twice fried tofu) to a sauce for the fried tofu. For a beautiful but heart wrenching true Channa Dhal Romeo and Juliet true story click here.

Pickled Bean Sprouts

These nutrient packed powerhouses are made even more exciting by the bright pink color the beets create. I used to make these all the time for my x-husband, who was Burmese and didn’t feel like he had a proper meal if he didn’t have some kind of fermented food added. Pickled bean sprouts were one of the easiest things to make. I used to just make them from store-bought mung bean sprouts, but it is even better when you grown them yourself at home!

  • 3/4 c mung beans
  • 1-2 slices of beet
  • 2 t sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt
  • 1/4 c whey
  • 1/4 c water

Soak the mung beans in water in a quart jar, leave the lid off. Rinse and drain and add fresh water 2-3 times a day or more depending on the weather. Do this for about 7 days. This will be shorter in hotter climates than in cool ones.

Kasha with Cream Cheese

  • 1 c buckwheat
  • 2 c milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T bread crumbs
  • salt

Heat milk, stir in buckwheat and cook until it thickens. Add cream cheese, eggs and salt. Put in a greased baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Brush top with sour cream and melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees until brown crust has formed on top (about 45 minutes). Slice and serve with melted butter and sour cream.

Sesame Buckwheat

This is so easy, tasty and healthy! Oh did I forget to mention affordable?

serves 4

  • 4 c water or stock
  • 4 T butter
  • salt

Bring to a boil. In the meantime mix:

  • 16oz / 2c whole buckwheat
  • 1/2 c sesame seeds
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Mix the eggs and buckwheat until the grains are coated. In a hot, heavy bottomed pan, dry toast the egg-coated buckwheat and sesame seeds.

Spiced Two Bean Curry

This is delicious alone, with Toasted Sesame Buckwheat or with rice.

serves 4

Soak a bag of dried chickpeas until they are nearly sprouting. This may be 3 days in cold weather, or overnight in warm. Rinse the beans often while they are soaking. You can also add whey to the soaking liquid. This helps to get rid of the enzyme inhibitors.

Bring the chickpeas to a boil. Remove any scum from the surface. Drain the chickpeas and bring to boil again. (You can repeat this if you like a few more times.) Put the pot back on the stove, turn it on low, covered and allow to simmer slowly until the chickpeas are very soft.

  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1/2 c diced pork sausage or bacon
  • coconut oil, lard or butter as necessary

Saute the above ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan until they begin to caramelize.


  • pinch hot chili powder
  • chick peas
  • 1/2 pound of green beans, cleaned and cut into inch long lengths
  • 1 can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T five spice powder
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • splash worchestershire sauce
  • salt

Turn the heat way down and allow this to simmer 5-10 minutes covered to cook green beans and marry the flavors.

Fermented Rice Milk

This is a really tasty way to make rice milk. This recipe is from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. One of my many favorites from her cookbook.

Makes 2 quarts

  • 1/2 c brown rice
  • 8c filtered water

Cook rice in water for several hours until it is very mushy. Pass it through a mill or sieve.

Add to the mushed rice:

  • 1/4 c whey
  • 1 t sea salt

Place in 2 qt jug. Cover tightly and allow to stand at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Refried Black Beans

These beans are to die for when served with fried plantains and sour cream.

This recipe makes enough to last two people 2-3 days and the taste improves with time.

1 bag of dry black beans soaked overnight or longer. Rinse the beans whenever you think of it and cover with fresh water. You can also add whey.

Place soaked beans into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Strain the beans, add fresh water and bring to a boil. Repeat this as many times as you think of it. When you have done it a couple times, turn down the heat and allow the beans to simmer gently for a few hours or until they are very soft. For more information about the soaking and cooking process for beans please see All Hail The Legume.


  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c bacon or pork sausage, diced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • sprinkle of turmeric
  • sprinkle of hot chili powder

In a heavy skillet, saute the onions and bacon in a good amount of fat, preferably lard or coconut oil. Add in the turmeric and chili powder, allow the onions to caramelize slightly. Add the garlic and ginger and beans. Add water if necessary. Mix over low heat to allow flavors to mingle.

Season with:

  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • dried oregano
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Mix. Let beans cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking on the bottom.

These are really delicious and can be used as a dip with sour cream, or served with sour cream and fried plantains as they do in El Salvador.

It also works well if you substitute pinto beans for the black beans.