Coconut Crusted Prawns with Mandarin

A few years ago I was the Executive Chef for The Strand, a boutique historical hotel in Yangon Myanmar (Rangoon, Burma). I had a great time reworking the menu to use local produce and really got to know the markets of Rangoon. This was one of our favorite appetizers–it even got written up in Conde Naste along with my Passion-Glazed Pork chops! Crispy but light, these coconut encrusted prawns go perfectly with juicy honey mandarins and mixed garden greens. The Champagne Vinagrette adds the perfect complement with a light tang. Your amounts will depend on how many you are serving, but these are tasty so plan to make extra, they will go fast.

Hemp Hearts Salad

I have a couple friends that are doing detox or cleansing treatments after the holidays, to set their bodies on a healthy course for the next year, and perhaps lose some weight gained through all the holiday feasting. I hadn’t given much thought to doing one myself, since I feel I generally keep a healthy diet. What I did do to start the year off right was a thorough house cleaning, and this is what led me to my own dietary change. While sorting out a drawer full of papers, I came across a handout I had picked up last fall at the Strathcona Harvest Festival. It came from the Rocky Mountain Grain Products tent, along with a free sample pack of hemp hearts. I almost just put the handout in the junk pile and kept on sorting, but the color photo of a big beautiful salad caught my eye, and I gave it some attention.

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…

Kimchi and Broccoli Salad

This is a really simple recipe that makes a great side dish that will also help with digestion! Other vegetables like cucumbers, green beans, or cauliflower can easily be added or replace the broccoli.

Serves 3 to 4

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed
  • 1/2 c kimchi
  • generous splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • generous handful of sunflower seeds
  • 1 or 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • dash salt and pepper

Steam the broccoli or other vegetable, remove from heat and toss with other ingredients, serve slightly warm. Great as a side dish for pizza or curry.

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.

Potato & Wild Herb Salad

This is really delicious. Feel free to try whatever herbs you find or like in this salad or to add or subtract ingredients as you see fit. Video Demo.

serves 4

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 inch dried sausage, diced small
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 2-3 toes garlic, minced or pounded
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin, ground
  • 1 t coriander, ground
  • salt and pepper
  • honey vinegar
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2-3 hard boiled eggs

Suggested Assortment of Wild and Cultivated Greens and Flowers:

  • handful violet leaves
  • handful sorrel leaves
  • handful mint leaves
  • handful basil leaves
  • handful plantain leaves
  • handful purslane
  • marigold petals
  • St. John’s Wort flowers

Russian Dressing

  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • ½ c smetana (sour cream)
  • ¼ t salt
  • pepper

Rub the eggs through a sieve and mix with sour cream. Add salt and pepper.

If a thinner dressing is desired, add a little cream.