This is a recipe that my mother recalls eating during the nine days of the vegetarian festival. Each year on the first day of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually late September or early October, it was a tradition that the Chinese descendants followed in order to gain merit.
As there are three of us for lunch today and very little time to cook it, I decide on a samusa thote. I buy three samosas the size of a fist each. The pastry is firm and crispy, not at all oily, and crammed with spicy potato, peas and fresh coriander stuffing.
This quick and easy salad is something I rustled up the other day for a vegetarian friend. Normally I would add a spoonful of pounded dried shrimps and season with fish sauce. Still the vegetarian version worked well.
Some recipe or another tend to pop up during my conversations with my mother. Today it is vegetarian ‘meat’ made simply with flour and water. It is a recipe my mother learnt from her sister who was taught by the nuns at the Chinese temple in Rangoon.
It is overcast, and not especially warm. I take stock of my cupboards, seeking a comforting mid-morning snack. Something savoury and definitely Burmese. There is nothing that ‘eat me’ written on it and I decide to make something.
A large bag of dried shiitake mushrooms have been sitting patiently on the bottom shelf. They have a delightful earthiness that you get from wild mushrooms, gorgeous smoky flavour and meaty texture.