Yangon Lockdown Home Cooking

Whilst I love cooking, pre-covid19 it is fair to say that I ate most, if not all of my meals either in restaurants, or via delivery services to my house. With restaurants in Yangon having been closed to dine in guests for the past 2 months, lockdown was a good time for me to rediscover this love of cooking, and start getting creative in the kitchen.

Here is a round up of my favourite meals that I enjoyed during lockdown, either my own cobbled together recipe, or from the publications in the links below

Courgette & Dal Curry – Meera Sodha 

This was one of the first dishes I cooked during lockdown, and one of my favourites. I have made the dish several times since, often adding additional vegetables that need eating up.

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I adapted the recipe further by only using one tin of chickpeas (which gave us 3 good meals when served with rice, often allowing for leftovers too) and also increasing the amount of chilli (mostly because my hand slipped the first time and I liked the extra kick!)

Shwe Payone Thi-Chet – MiMi Aye 

Whilst I have cooked several things from MiMi’s beautiful book, Mandalay, this is the only recipe that exists online so if you want the rest, you need to buy it for yourselves 😉  (and I really recommend that you do – the eggplant curry and the butter bean curries are two of my all time favourites and worth the purchase of the book alone)

I adapted the recipe in that I left out the shrimp paste (as my flatmate is allergic to shellfish) and I probably had a slightly heavy hand on the amount of oil used as I eyeballed the amount instead of measuring it

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Beetroot & Yoghurt Dip 

We have beautiful local organic beetroots delivered from Organic Valley here in Yangon, and I made this beetroot dip 3 weeks in a row before branching out and making Sri Lankan beetroot curry and Shukri (a Ukrainian beetroot dish served with mushrooms on toast) All measurements are very loose and its best to taste as you go in order to adjust the flavour to your own personal tastes.

Don’t forget the flavours will develop over time so unless you like spicy food, you can reduce the amount of chilli powder mentioned below to suit.

1 kg beetroots roasted with the skin on & then peeled
1 cup of natural yoghurt (If you are in Yangon, I use L’amour du Gout from Organic Valley but if you aren’t, either natural or Greek yoghurt would work well)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp za’atar (if you dont have za’atar, I also made it with 1 tsp of dried thyme and 1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds)
Juice of a medium sized lemon (or a couple of limes)
2 cloves of garlic (I also made it with a tsp of black garlic jam from Poe Ferments instead of fresh garlic)
1 tsp salt
cracked black pepper (to taste)
Blitz the garlic, olive oil and beetroot in a blender, then add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Once smooth, check the seasoning and adjust where needed, I haven’t made this the same way twice as each time I add a little something different and I like it that way! A tsp of dani syrup (from Organic Valley if you are in Yangon) or honey is a great addition if the spicing is too overpowering.

Panko’d Eggplant Melts with Sumac & Za’atar Fries

A big wedge of well spiced tofu (If you are in Yangon, I use Soy Ai from Kokkoya Organics or Organic Valley) or a Panko crusted eggplant wedge make for a great vegetarian alternative to a burger, and I am looking forward to cooking this again next week! As with all burgers, toppings are entirely up to you, but I especially loved the contrast of the tart pickles against the cheese and eggplant.

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Eggplant Melt

1 inch thick slice of eggplant
1 egg
panko breadcrumbs (any dried breadcrumbs will do, but panko are great for that extra crunch)
flour
vegetable oil

Dip the eggplant in flour, then egg and then panko crumbs. Dip in egg and then panko crumbs a second time, and shallow fry for a couple of minutes on each side until the eggplant is cooked through, and golden.

Add the cheese on top of the eggplant and place under the grill to melt, along with both halves of your burger bun. Once the cheese has melted and the inside of the bun is a golden brown you can start to construct your eggplant melt

Toppings

1 burger bun
sliced cheese (I sliced up a very ordinary block of supermarket cheddar but anything that melts would be fine)
cucumber ribbons
lettuce
Poe Ferments pickled apple, daikon & red cabbage
Wolf Kitchen chimichurri
Hot Sauce (I used Valentina)

 

Sumac & Za’atar Eggplant Fries

1 eggplant, skin on, sliced into thick batons (about 2cm) and soaked in cold water for 1 hour
flour
2 tsp sumac
2 tsp za’atar
vegetable oil

Mix the flour & spices together then take the eggplant batons directly from the water and coat in the flour and spic mix. Shallow fry in hot oil until they turn crispy and golden brown, season with salt & serve

For shopping in Yangon, I really recommend ordering from Organic Valley & Kokkoya Organics online. Organic Valley take weekly orders via their Facebook page and Kokkoya Organics open their farm store every week (usually around Wednesday) and you have until 10am Friday morning to place your orders for delivery the following week (between Monday – Wednesday depending on where you live)

My must have home items include sauces from Wolf Kitchen, pickles, Hokkaido rolls & seasonal jams from Poe Ferments, L’Amour du Gout yoghurt, fruit, vegetables & pickles from Organic Valley, Honey from Haven Honey, Lions Mane mushroom extract from Potent Fungi (I’m adding it to everything!) and Indawgyi brown rice, Soy Ai Tofu, fruit, vegetables, spices & Shwe Taung Nyo Nyi organic eggs from Kokkoya Organics (who also sell all of the above products if you just want to do one big online weekly shop)

Have you been cooking more during Lockdown? What have your Go-To dishes been?

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