This weekend we decided to venture beyond our town of NyaungU and explore a little more of our local area.
Some lovely Myanmar friends have leant us an ebike …so off we zoomed on Saturday morning at 7.30am to the nearby metropolis of ‘New Bagan’.
New Bagan was created in the 1990s to relocate those living in Old Bagan.
We met Shwe (means ‘gold’) who runs the Golden Ladle Cooking classes and spent an enjoyable four hours learning about her life, her slant on various aspects of Myanmar culture and of course preparing some traditional dishes.
After a trip to the little local market to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables, it was back to her home… to chop, stir and chat in Shwe’s open air kitchen positioned in the cool at the front of her home under a thatched palm roof. Her niece and daughter were there to lend a helping hand.
I loved it at the market when we bought the tamarind leaves which were measured by the weight of two ‘D’ batteries!
The dishes featured heaps, and I mean heaps of garlic. The curries all had a similar basis of tomatoes, garlic, onions and a sprinkle of paprika.
The stir fried knobbly bitter melon is certainly an acquired taste – but apparently is very healthy… It looked better than it tasted.
The cooking was done over little charcoal stoves.The heat is controlled by adding or removing bits of charcoal.
Our dishes included catfish curry, chicken curry, cucumber salad, turmeric potatoes, boiled rice, stir fried watercress and a squash soup.
My favourite was the freshly plucked tamarind leaf salad. They eat a lot of salad here in Myanmar… often using whatever bushes and tree leaves are available. The most famous salad is one made with fermented tea leaves. I think it is the only country in the world that not only drinks their tea but also eats the leaves! Our tamarind salad was mixed with crushed peanuts and oil with a fried onion garnish.
Dessert was a sweet rice and sago ‘soup’ like mix topped with fresh shredded coconut and chunks of diamond mango.
Lunch is usually the main meal and soup is common. Everything is served and eaten at the same time.
Like most cooking classes, at the end we ate what we’d prepared. It was a really lovely way to escape the morning heat and see another side to the life of everyday Myanmar people.
Thank you for sharing your home with us Shwe!
I couldn’t resist popping in yet another beautiful Bagan temple sunset shot!