What to Eat in Myanmar: Laphet Thoke

January 11, 2018 § 1 Comment

Myanmar's-Tea-Leaf-SaladCredits: Quick page by retrodiva {designs}

Laphet, also spelled lakphet, lephet is fermented or pickled teal leaf, and it has a very long history in Myanmar. Thoke means salad. Myanmar’s national dish is a salad made of tea leaves.


Teashops around Myanmar pour gallons of green and black tea every day yet half of the tea consumption is eaten not drunk. An extraordinary characteristic of its national dish is the delicate use of fermented tea leaves.


The slightly bitter leaves are mixed by hand with shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, crunchy deep fried beans, nuts and peas, toasted sesame seed, crushed fried shrimp, a splash of garlic oil and slices of chili and garlic. It’s actually a versatile dish that can be eaten as a snack, an appetizer or with rice, a meal hard to miss when in Myanmar, actually. I instantly fell in love with it and prefer to take it as an appetizer – it has lovely textures and flavors that is umami, tangy, and savory in one mouthful.

Myanmar culture is diverse and multi-ethnic and their cuisine is testament to it.


Bacon Cheddar Scones

June 1, 2014 § 2 Comments

After baking this scones a few years ago, bacon lover that I am, I had intended to make a savory one with bacon and cheese (because really, you can’t go wrong with bacon and cheese).


Months dragged into years, lo and behold, I finally got around to make it! I never forgot, mind you. It’s just that time flies so fast and when I tried to look for my scones post, I was horrified at how long that was already. Where did the years go?


Anyway, I saw this new recipe (below) and decided that this was a good time to make some scones. I am incidentally going on a road trip tomorrow and these babies are going with me.


What You’ll Need:

For the scones:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-2 tsp. ground black pepper (depending on your preference)
  • 8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk (plus up to ½ cup extra, if needed)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. water

What You’ll Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° C.
  2. In the bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper; mix briefly to combine. Add the cubes of butter and using a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are about the size of small peas.crumbly-butter-flour-mixture
  3. Add in the grated cheese and mix just until incorporated.
  4. Mix in the bacon and 1 cup of the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture. Stir by hand just until all the ingredients are incorporated. If the dough is too dry to come together, mix in the remaining buttermilk a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball.dough
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch disk. Slice the dough into 8 to 10 wedges.scone-pieces
  6. In a small bowl combine the egg and water and whisk together. Brush each wedge lightly with the egg wash.
  7. Transfer the scones to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Roast Sweet Potatoes

July 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

When I was growing up, I never really paid much attention to sweet potatoes or “camote” as they call it in my part of the world.  An occasional “camote-cue” during recess time in school sums up my bond with this root crop – and only if the “banana-cues” (my all-time comfort food) available are all dried up and yucky.  In recent years though, I’ve developed a deep affection for sweet potatoes that, despite its name, is not related to potatoes at all.

A highly nutritious vegetable, it has become a staple in my kitchen.  I particularly like the orange-colored variety as it has a more distinctive sweet flavor and having more beta-carotene than those with lighter colored flesh added to its appeal.  And as with all kinds of sweet potatoes, it is rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin C and B6.  How can you not love that?

I’ve always had it as a sweet treat but I recently discovered that its sweetness is a delicious contrast to savory ingredients.  I don’t remember anymore where I came across the idea but my favorite way to make this simple dish is to slice* the sweet potatoes as desired, sprinkle some sea salt, herbs and spices and blend with a bit of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).  Roast until sweet potatoes are somewhat caramelized or tender.  If I’m in the mood for some heat, I add Paprika or a bit of Cayenne Pepper.

In the photo, I added flat leaf parsley, some rosemary and probably even some fresh thyme — giving it a slightly peppery / minty tang.  Either way I give my 2-thumbs up to this tasty side dish that sometimes suffices as a snack or even a quick meal.

Try it too with cumin, coriander and lemon or lime juice; how about your favorite cheese and bacon?  Or just plain salt and pepper… the possibilities are endless.

*  There is no need to peel but make sure it is scrubbed well to get rid of the soil.

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