Food Glorious Food!

So as is typical with most uchideshi (in our case Hagsaeng Naebu — how long do you think we have to keep including both names, it’s just that uchideshi is so much more recognizable) programs, we are responsible for various projects at the house/dojang while we are staying there, including cooking for the group.  But…as is typical with Master Pearson, even cooking is more than just a simple task.

Did you know that we also get homework…yeah true (and semi-annoying…I mean fun) fact.  We were recently assigned to research a few “lesser known” martial arts from a single country, perhaps providing some sort of theme for the weekend.  In this case all of the arts originated in Burma/Myanmar.

So remember the cooking chore…it fits in nicely with the other assignment.  We have the opportunity now to try our hand at preparing some Burmese cuisine.  We spent a bit of time researching this amazing culinary region that decidedly gets too little attention.  Burmese dining seems to me to be a bit of a cross between Thai and Chinese cooking, although not quite as rich as Chinese food nor quite as spicy as Thai food, with quite a bit of Indian influence as well.

Since Burma/Myanmar has a coastal region there is also a significant amount of seafood in the diet.  A lot of fish based soups and shrimp and other potentially tasty morsels (I wouldn’t know myself, I keep kosher so I’ve never had seafood in my life!).  However, to keep things simple, healthy, and accessible for everyone, we decided to stick to vegetarian fare and limit the amount of dairy and gluten since some people have sensitivities in that area (ahem all you lactards out there — ok I’m one too!)

So here are the recipes we’re trying out.  Hopefully no one will die or throw up and mostly were hoping for a thumbs up (or at least a nod of the head) from Master Pearson himself.  He’s not usually quick with a complement, but an uchideshi/hagsaeng naebu can dream!

Feel free to try out the recipes yourself…let us know what you think and we’ll be sure to post what happens with our own culinary adventure!



Salad – Burmese Cucumber Salad

The Burmese are a relaxed people and eat simple. This is a simple but very good and spicy salad. Enjoy! Adapted from a Burmese Food and Drink site.


  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, chopped coarsely
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 green jalapeno chiles, finely chopped (or green chiles of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste

Mix cucumber, sugar and vinegar in a bowl. Set aside.

To toast sesame seeds, place in dry skillet over medium high heat and, stirring frequently, cook 2-3 minutes, or till seeds start to turn brown.

Watch closely so they don’t burn.

Place toasted sesame seeds in food processor or mortar and pestle. Pulse to crush slightly, or if using mortar and pestle, crush slightly.

Just before serving, mix with sesame seeds, green chiles, celery and garlic.

Mix well and serve.

Dinner – Burmese Khow Suey


A vegetarian version of the traditional Burmese dish. It is essentially a one-dish meal comprising of noodles in a soup of curried vegetables in coconut milk, served with a variety of contrasting accompaniments. Each of your guests can individually mix the rich array of accompaniments to create their own original taste sensation. The ingredients that make the difference are fried garlic, coriander, lemon juice, fried onions and chillies.

Serves 4.
1 packet of rice noodles

For the khow suey
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic (lehsun)
1 tsp chopped ginger (adrak)
1 large sized lemon grass root, chopped
1 tsp coriander (dhania) powder
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera) powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tablespoons roasted and powdered gram dal (daria)
2 cups coconut milk
1½ cups mixed vegetables (baby corn, broccoli, carrot, French beans and cauliflower)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil

For the toppings
1/4 cup salted and roasted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced spring onions
1 lemon wedge
¼ cup fried onions
1/4 cup fried garlic (lehsun) cloves
2 to 3 sliced fresh red chillies


1.      To cook the rice noodles follow the instructions on the packet, or immerse them in plenty of hot water for 10 minutes till they soften. Drain and place in a bowl of cold water till required. When you wish to serve, immerse them in hot water again.

2.      Heat 1 teaspoon of oil and sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, turmeric, coriander and cumin powder till the onions are soft.

3.      Cool, add the besan and blend it to make a paste.

4.      Sauté the paste in the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and season with salt and sugar.

5.      Add the coconut milk and vegetables and simmer till the vegetables are tender, adding a little water if required.

6.      Take it off the heat and add lemon juice.

7.      Pour it over cooked rice noodles and serve with the toppings.

Breakfast – Spiced Coconut Sweet Potato


Serves 4

1 Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 Large Chillies, finely chopped
1 teasp Ground Turmeric
1 teasp freshly grated Root Ginger
Salt and Black Pepper
240ml/8fl.oz. Coconut Milk
360ml/12fl.oz. Water
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
450g/1lb Sweet Potato, peeled and sliced


1. Place all the ingredients apart from the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, stirring then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add the sweet potato, mix well and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Serve hot.

1. Place all the ingredients apart from the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, stirring then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add the sweet potato, mix well and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Serve hot.

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