Monday, May 02, 2022

Asian Stir-Fried Cauliflower


Asian Stir-Fried Cauliflower

Treat yourself to this delicious stir-fried vegetable dish which complements any Asian meal. I used an American cauliflower, but I've heard that Asian cauliflower which is not so compact and has long stems is the most flavourful. Once the vegetables are sliced and diced, it takes just a few minutes to put this dish together. Add a punch of flavour with a jalapeno pepper or red pepper flakes.

Burmese Semolina Cake - Sanwin Makin


Sanwin Makin

Semolina is also known as Cream of Wheat in English, Shweji in Burmese, and Rawa or Suji in Hindi. It is available in any Indian market and, most recently, comes pre-toasted to a lovely golden hue. I've tried making this dessert a few times but was most pleased with my efforts this last time. That must be because I replaced the white poppy seeds (posto) with a mixture of white poppy seeds and toasted sesame seeds.

It's pretty labor-intensive to prepare, so set aside a whole afternoon to make this semolina cake. Sanwin Makin is a popular and beloved dessert in Burma. What I love is the aroma that permeates every corner of my home, of toasted semolina, sesame seeds and coconut milk. This cake is creamy, dreamy and light. I baked it in a 9" x 8" Pyrex dish and it was enough to feed 10 guests for an after-lunch snack with coffee. All of us, from the oldest adults to the youngest child loved it and came back multiple times for more!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Angel Hair Spaghetti and Dace in Black Bean Sauce


Noodles with Dace
in Black Bean Sauce

After reading this article, I was hooked on Dace and finally found a 3-pack on eBay. I hesitate to use spaghetti when cooking Chinese food, but it worked exceptionally well in this recipe. There was a lot of excitement on a Facebook food page about fried dace in black bean sauce, so I watched the YouTube video, made my own adjustments and produced a rich noodle dish that was brimming over with umami.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Burmese Shan Noodles


Shan Noodles

Rice Noodle Dish from the Shan States of Burma.

I've never made or had this before and was pleasantly surprised at how light this noodle dish was compared to Ohno Khaukswe. No coconut milk anywhere, but delicious nevertheless.

Components are:
Rice Noodles
Chicken Curry
Chicken Broth and

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Toh Zya - Burmese Vegetable Dip

Toh Zya

A Burmese meal is generally started with an appetizer of fresh vegetables and a dip that oozes umami in every bite. 

Serve with Fresh Vegetables
Serve with Dumplings

My brother makes the best Toh Zya, but this version comes in a close second. Besides raw vegetables, this dip goes great with dumplings or gyoza.

Crab Paste

It's quite quick to assemble if pureed tomatoes (e.g. Hunt's tomato sauce) are available. Shrimp paste imparts the umami flavour we all crave, but Hubby is allergic to shrimp so I used crab paste that comes pre-cooked in a glass jar. The hardest part was to blanch a couple of onions and a whole pod of garlic which are added to the rest of the ingredients and blended to a paste before being simmered on the stove until oil resurfaces. There is sufficient oil in the crab paste so no oil needs to be added.

Green Grass Coconut Jelly


Green Grass Coconut Jelly

Inspired by my sister-in-law who is a wonderful cook, this dessert is cool, refreshing and delicious! It's simple to make because canned green grass jelly is available on Amazon and in Asian markets, so does not need to be made from scratch. It's best made with lychees that are soaked in its own juices, but were not available that day, so canned peaches were substituted.

Pandan Jelly

The liquid base is light coconut milk that was sweetened with the juices from the green grass or pandan jelly.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Maacher Tel Jhol - Fish in Spiced Oil


Maacher Tel Jhol

It was getting late one evening and creeping into the last hour before dinner, when I realized the protein part of dinner was missing. We usually have 3 dishes at dinner comprising lentils, vegetables and a protein. Fortunately, Hubby had shopped at Sam's Club earlier in the day and brought home his favorite Tilapia fillets. The only prep required to make this fish was to cut the fillets into bite-sized pieces and slice an onion. It was done in a jiffy, and, without missing a beat, dinner was on the table at our usual time.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Sesame and Soy Sauce Chicken

Sesame Soy Sauce Chicken

If you're looking for a quick and easy stew to make during the week, here's one option using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and minimal ingredients. It's mildly sweet, tangy and hearty when served with a side of steamed greens and long-grain white rice.

Pan-Fried Fish with Bok Choy

Pan-Fried Fish
with Bok Choy

This is a simple and delicious combination, quick and easy to prepare, that tastes great with steamed long-grain rice.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Golden Fried Rice


Golden Fried Rice

Left over white/steamed rice, unless cooked at home, usually turns hard and inedible the next day.  I freeze the left over rice in Ziploc bags until I'm ready to turn it into fried rice.

Chicken Corn Soup

Chicken Corn Soup

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Htamin Laphet Thoke


Htamin Laphet Thoke

A cup of cooked long grain rice was mixed into Laphet Thoke for a sumptuous lunch. Tea Leaves Salad is a famous Burmese dish that is so easy to make. Once the ingredients are procured, all that is needed is for everything to be dumped into a bowl and mixed thoroughly by hand.


Friday, October 29, 2021

Singapore Rice Noodles with Bacon


Singapore Rice Noodles
With Bacon

The use of curry powder in these noodles is what sets it apart from other noodle dishes. Apparently, in Singapore this dish is called Hong Kong Noodles and in Hong Kong it's called Singapore Noodles. Sort of like French Fries which cannot be found anywhere in France. When it's cooked properly, these noodles are to die for. Otherwise, if the curry powder tastes raw, they are horrible. I prefer to boil the curry powder in chicken stock before soaking rice noodles in the broth.

Singapore Noodles are most commonly made with shrimp and pork, but I used ground chicken and bacon. To make my life easier, I used fresh cole slaw mix which contains cabbage, carrots and other julienned vegetables. This dish can be prepared in under 30 minutes, is filling and very satisfying. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Chili Chicken


Chili Chicken

This is a popular dish on Chinese menus at restaurants in India and Kolkata in particular. When I was pregnant, I craved Chinese food and couldn't get enough of it. Pickles and other tart condiments, which are a common craving for women who are pregnant, have never appealed to me. I must have been addicted to the Ajinomoto (a.k.a. MSG) used in Chinese cooking. Anyway, Chili Chicken had a special place on our order at Chinese restaurants. The more hot chilies there are in the dish, the better, so use as many as you and your family can handle.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Simple Bhapa Shorshe Maach or Steamed Fish in Mustard Sauce


Bhapa Shorshe Maach

The easiest way to prepare this dish is to use Colman's mustard powder instead of grinding mustard seeds that need to be soaked for a couple of hours. Any kind of fish can be used, but hilsa (ilish) and salmon steaks taste the best. The process is very simple. Fish pieces are combined with the mustard sauce and placed in a stainless steel tiffin box and steamed for 15 minutes. This dish is ideal for getting a meal on the table in under half an hour.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Shada or Pani Khola Maach - Fish Stew

Fish Stew

As you can surmise from this photograph, my kitchen caters to Jack Spratt and his wife. As the nursery rhyme goes,

Jack Spratt could eat no fat
And his wife could eat no lean.
And so betwixt the two of them
They kept the platter clean.

The man in this house is tall and lean and his wife, the opposite. She lives to eat and he eats to live. She loves 'bone-in everything' and he likes a no-fuss meal. That's why this fish stew is made with two cuts of fish. Nice, fatty fish steaks of Swai or Mekong catfish for the wife and fillets of Tilapia for Jack.

I didn't expect too much from such a simple recipe. There are only 5 ingredients to consider but requires killer prep. The most tedious part is to mash slivered onions, salt, green chilies and mustard oil until your hands ache and all the juices from the onions release. This takes a total of at least 15-20 minutes, so I do it in batches. I add salt to the onions and let them sit until they soften and then mash them. When my hands begin aching, I take a break, a sip of coffee, flex my fingers, relax a bit and go back to mashing the onions. In the end, all this effort pays off because not only is the stew light and refreshing, it's also easily digested which suits Jack Spratt to a Tee.

From all the recipes I've perused, this is generally made with hilsa or ilish maach, which I can only dream of because it's difficult to come by in North America. So I've adapted to my environment and learned to live with the scarcity of specialty fish. 

This is best served with steamed long-grain rice.

Monday, October 04, 2021

Faux Bubble and Squeak

Faux Bubble and Squeak

The traditional Bubble and Squeak is a British dish that is composed of cabbage and potatoes. The name is derived from the sounds that emanate while cooking this dish. The components are placed over medium-high heat until it bubbles vigorously, and then when the liquid evaporates, the vegetables squeak as if to say, 'I'm done! Take me off the heat!'

I came across this recipe with green beans on a Tik Tok video and because it's so easy, requiring minimal intervention, use it on occasions when a side dish is required to complement a meal. The first time I made it, the squeaky sound at the end caught my attention, so I call it Faux Bubble and Squeak because even though it's nothing like the original, the cooking sounds are the same. It takes only 3 ingredients, canned green beans, and a tablespoon each of oil and sugar.

Friday, October 01, 2021

Silken Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce


Silken Tofu in 
Spicy Garlic Sauce

I love the soft, velvety texture of silken tofu. This quick and easy tofu dish is nutritious and low in fat, and is boosted with protein with the addition of ground chicken. Every time we bring home ground chicken, I brown the chicken and freeze smaller portions so that it's ready to cook when I need it. Silken tofu absorbs the flavour of any sauce it's cooked in, much more easily that firm tofu. This tastes good with hot, steamed long-grain rice.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Spicy Garlic Green Beans


Spicy Garlic Green Beans

Spicy green beans, served in Chinese restaurants, is difficult to reproduce at home, so I came up with my own recipe. To retain crispness in the green beans, they are tossed with besan or chickpea flour and fried before stir-frying. If you prefer to use green beans without the besan, make sure the oil is very hot before frying them so that they remain crisp.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Burmese Chet Tha Hin - Chicken Curry


Burmese Chet Tha Hin

A package of supermarket chicken wings, already separated into flats and drumettes, quickly transformed into a comforting chicken curry. Ching's Singapore style noodles come with four little packages of curry powder. I used one of these curry powder packages in this chicken curry, but any brand of curry powder will work. It's a quick and easy dish to prepare and tastes wonderful.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Schezwan Noodles


Schezwan Noodles

A number of shortcuts were used in this recipe, but the Schezwan sauce was homemade, inspired by a YouTube video. In the video, dried red chilies were soaked in hot water, drained and then combined with a number of other ingredients and fried until the oil floated to the top. This looked like too much work so a substitution was made using red chili oil and Kashmiri mirch or hot paprika powder. 

Coleslaw mix is a huge bonus found in most supermarkets and consist of shredded red and green cabbage and carrots. This left me with little chopping to do and made the process go a lot faster.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Ohno Khawkswe and Kyaukyaw

Ohno Khawkswe

Memorial Day weekend this year brought warmer temperatures, but our nephew and niece from Florida wished they had brought their jackets with them. We celebrated the dawning of a new age, leaving behind the blight of Covid-19 shutdowns and related misery, with Burmese food for lunch. Even though our guests had not tried Burmese food before, they relished their steaming bowls of chicken and coconut noodle soup.

Noodles and Soup

We began by ladling noodles and soup into a bowl and then surveyed the host of garnishes that graced the table. 

With Garnishes

Working our way clockwise in the first picture, we had a choice of fresh lime cut in wedges, roasted and ground chili powder, minced cilantro or fresh coriander leaves, chopped boiled eggs, minced green onions, deep fried onions and deep fried garlic. Not shown in the picture were chili-garlic oil and roasted chickpea powder.

KyauKyaw for Dessert

For dessert we had KyauKyaw (chow-chaw), a cool and refreshing coconut jello that's made with agar-agar or seaweed gelatin.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Rice Noodles with Surimi in Black Bean and Garlic Sauce

Rice Noodles and Surimi

Rice noodles are comforting and filling and maybe because they're so thin, it seems healthy and okay to eat more of it. Singapore noodles are a favourite choice at Asian restaurants and that's made with rice noodles. It's easy to reconstitute these noodles at home, because all it takes is to blanch them in boiling hot water for 1 minute to soften. Drain noodles and place noodles in a saucepan, cover and set aside until ready to cook.

Surimi is also known as crab sticks or fake crab and is composed of different kinds of fish. I'm using surimi in place of shrimp because my husband has recently developed an allergy to shrimp.

Black bean sauce is quite salty so it may not be necessary to add any more salt.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Bhola's Alu Dom


Bhola's Alu Dum

A new item I haven't seen before at our Indian supermarket are packages of baby potatoes that are cooked, peeled and frozen. I've been dreaming of Bhola's alu dum we would gorge on in Darjeeling. Bhola had a food stall off the mall and his alu dum made a great after-school snack. They were delicious, bright red, piping hot, soft and spicy potatoes that made our eyes (and noses) water. 

I gathered all the red spices I could find in the spice cabinet but it needed a little something more so I added a teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of vinegar. With the help of a serrano chili, this alu dum came out tasting sweet, spicy and slightly sour. It will go well with hot steamed basmati rice or flat bread.


  • Make sure to prick each baby potato all over so flavours can penetrate to the center of each potato.
  • Onion paste will give more body to the gravy instead of minced onions. Cut an onion into four, blanch for 2 minutes and grind to a paste.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Mohinga - Burmese Fish Noodle Soup


Mohinga - the soup

Noodles and Garnishes
Boiled fresh rice noodles
Chopped green onions
Pae Kyaw - split pea fritters
Chili flakes
Sliced hard-boiled eggs
Sliced onions
Minced cilantro

Noodles and Soup

Noodles, Soup and Garnishes