This morning we had to visit the IT shop Gigahertz as Jan's iPad decided to freeze. We couldn't do anything with it...we couldn't even get it to turn off! So for all of you out there, in case anything happens to your iPad, press the off button at the same time as the home button for a few seconds and it will reboot your iPad! Hooray, one happy Jan!
Today Margaret, Jan and I went to learn out to cook some Burmese food! First we decided what 4 dishes we would like to cook from the cookbook and then we were off to the markets to buy all the ingredients. We learned that there were two parts to the market: Burmese and Thai. We stopped at a Burmese tea house to try some tea and sweet biscuits while our cook, Bo Bo talked a little about the Karen and Burma history.
We then gathered all the ingredients that we needed and headed back to the store. We passes a lady making beetle nut wraps. They are made with ground marble, lime (as in cement lime and not the fruit) some spices and pineapple jam with the beetle nut wrapped in a banana leaf. All the ingredients help the beetle nut to break down when chewing it. It soon turns your teeth red and can cause cancer and if you swallow it can numb your stomach. It is addictive and causes you not to feel hungry. Most people spit it out after it has all broken down causing red stains everywhere on the ground. Personally sounds terrible!
Back to the shop where our first dish to make was Rice Cake Wheels, a traditional breakfast food, eaten by the people of the central plains of Burma using ground dry rice. It is a thin pancake ( more like a crepe) that when you have cooked one side of it you add peanuts, fresh grated coconut and sesame seeds (black and white) flip it over and cook the other side! Too sweet for breakfast for me but would be a great morning tea!
Our next dish was a Mandalay Noodle Salad that was delicious! It had egg noodles, sliced cabbage, onion, garlic, leek, bean sprouts and coriander. In a flour and water batter you coat gourd, which is like a cucumber (but you can substitute green apple) and tofu and deep fry. Cut these up and add to the salad. Sprinkle roasted chick pea flour over salad. Add hot oil to paprika and saffron and drizzle over salad, using your hands to mix all the ingredients quite well together.
Next was a Karen Pumpkin Curry! It had lemon grass, onion, garlic with paprika and turmeric finished off with honey basil and black pepper...very easy to make!
We also did a pennywort salad that had tomato, red onion, ground peanuts, lime juice and sugar, sesame seeds and pennywort. Very refreshing!
We finished with a banana and honey drink, where you pour boiling water over bananas in their skins, then scoop the banana into a blender with lime juice, orange honey, salt and water. Also refreshing and is supposed to be very good for your health!
We ate so much we didn't need dinner!
While we were there we started to talk to two young men. One (from Boston) had just spent four months in Israel and was going to spend four months in Thailand and Burma. The other was from Calif and had just finished medical school. Both were amazed at what we had already done and were looking to volunteer wherever they could. We also met a girl from Melbourne who was a midwife in the refugee camp and loving it. She was staying for one year and felt she had already learned so much from the midwives in the camp who had no formal training. We have run into quite a few people our age and younger all volunteering wherever they can.