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Burmese Recipes Site – Hsa*ba

I came across this lovely site, “Hsa’ba” (please eat), full of delicious Burmese recipes via another Burmese recipe site. “Hsaba” is in English and is very well organized by Ma Tin Cho Chaw. She’s even publishing a cookbook on Burmese dishes and there are about 100 recipes featured on “Hsaba” site. I find it very interesting to read each ingredient information along with the photos.

My bro reads “Hsa’ba” as “Hi Sha Bah” ဟိုက္ရွားဘား :P and I have to correct him. There is no “H” sound in “Hsa’ba”, it pronounces like “Sarh Bar”.

Updated: 31 Oct 2008

I got this email from Cho of Hsa*ba site. She notified me that her book in store now hence I’m just updating the news here.

Dear May
I am pleased to say the long-awaited hsa*ba, burmese cookbook is finally available. Thank you for your patience and support. It’s been an amazing journey creating the book and all the new content for the website.

The book is filled with authentic recipes such as the much-loved Traditional fish noodle soup (mohingar), fresh robust salads (thote), simple comforting curries (sipyan) and much more. Accompanied by beautiful photography that captures the distinctive Burmese kitchen.

To order a copy, visit our online shop.

For a sneak preview of the book, go to the new website and flip through the pages. For those new to Asian cooking, there is a glossary of ingredients on the website as well as free recipes from the book. So get cooking!

Don’t forget to check out my blog where there are more recipes for you to share and enjoy! If you have any comments or want to share your recipe, get in touch.

Best wishes,


Link Love: Lunch in Suva

My work mates “SSP“, “Strange Pants“, “Kiti” and “The Boss” team up to write a new blog called Lunch in Suva.

“Humans exchanging money for food in Suva between 1200 and 1430, and writing about it.”

It’s not a cooking/recipe blog, it’s about the lunches – the venue, menu, price and the verdicts. So just roll it along and for you next lunch, you can try out one of the places they mentioned.

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  • Filed under: Aside Notes, Bloggers, Blogging, Fiji, Friends, General, News, Yummy Food
  • Duna – The Eel

    I have a great dislike, rather a phobia, for long eerie looking creatures namely, earth worm, leaches, snails, snakes, caterpillars etc. I remember back in high school (Form 6 Bio Lab), we have to do experiment on earth worms. We have to search for earthworms and found heaps of them near the creek at the back of our school. I almost vomit looking at the size of those earthworms. They were so healthy, huge, twisted and piles of it once you unearth moist rubbish dump.

    My classmates (mainly guys and some daring gals) were picking them up with their hands and throwing around. That was so gross yet we have to endure it and took the best looking big, fat, long worms back to the lab. We then boil them up in hot water. Gosh the smell was indescribable. It stinks the whole lab and near by classrooms too. Once you boil them up, they changed in color and their size too. Before they were reddish brown and changed into dirty pale pink.

    We then dissect them from head to tail. I didn’t touch a single thing. I just watched and examined from the sideline. It was quite an experience to study my greatest fear – the worms. Though they seem to be very harmless and have many worthy means for the environment, they are the most annoying, ugliest, yuckiest, good-for-nothing, useless creatures for me.

    The once and only time I encountered an earthworm was while I was digging soil for a vegetable plant. I cut them half in the process. The cut parts got twisted and jumped up on my foot; I run like hell and never dig the moist soil again. It was my 1st and last association with earthworms as well as helping mom garden.

    Ok, enough about my earth worm adventures and back to the main story. I want to talk about another long eerie looking creature called “Duna”, the eels. A few days back, my friend forwarded two great photos of Duna caught at Monasavu Dam. The eels were enormous. I was surprised by the way locals caught them. They seemed to be using some bamboo and a few spears which I find it quite small to catch that big eels.

    Duna At The Dam
    Check out the way they handle the eels. Slice up the head and poke a bamboo in to carry around.

    I never seen an eel in real life but only seen some small ones on books and TV. I don’t know much about eels but I’ve decided that they are surely not in my desirable animal list. I wasn’t sure of whether there are lots of eels in Fiji so I did a bit of research for my own satisfaction. Turn out that, Fiji is a good place for eels culture since they like tropical climates with temperature around 23-28C.

    Here are some facts about eels.

    True eels (Anguilliformes) are an order of fish, which consists of 4 suborders, 19 families, 110 genera and 400 species. Most eels are predators.

    The flat and transparent larva of the eel is called a leptocephalus. A young eel is called an elver.

    Most eels prefer to dwell in shallow waters or hide at the bottom layer of the ocean, sometimes in holes.

    Depending on their species, eels can reach from 10 cm to 3 m, and weigh up to 65 kg.

    In Micronesia, eels are believed to hold the souls of one’s departed relatives. As such, killing eels is a grave offence and was once punishable by death.

    Wiki information on Eels:

    Duna at the dam2
    Don’t you think it’s just so big and ugly? (I meant the eel) Those Fijians seem happy, may be a good meal for them.

    This is an abstract from SPC article:
    Catching Eels in Pacific Island Countries and Territories [ pdf ]

    Pacific Island countries offer a good environment in which to culture eels, as they grow rapidly in tropical climates, preferring a temperature range of 23-28C, and a pH rane of 7.0 – 8.0. In Fiji, when the word “duna” or “bham” is used, it is certain that the fish referred to is the so-called common eel, Anguilla, which occurs in most of the islands.

    For pond-based aquaculture, the best site is one with a constant water supply. Eels are consumed in PICTs and particularly in Fiji, where it is an important source of protein for the rural indigenous population. In some localities, high demand has led to the collection of young eels from the wold for culture in tilapia ponds.

    In Fiji, elvers and juvenile eels are caught from estuaries, mountain tributaries, swapms and ditches using various types of local gear. These eels are grown to marketable size in ponds designed for tilapia culture and solic live at Fj$ 10.00 per kg at Suva and Nausori markets.

    In PICTs, eels are caught with hand lines, spears, cane knives and push nets. This gear is designed to capture a wide range of fish and crustaceans and is not specific to capturing eels.

    Eels feed on a variety of feeds such as fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and terrestrial and aquatic insects.

    Fishing methods and gear
    The catching of eels in Fiji and other Pacific Islands normally involves inexpensive and very simple gear, which includes: baited hook and line, spears, push nets, hollow bamboo piece or PVC pipes, baited trap and seine nets. There are 3 commonly used methods, depending on materials available in villages, to catch eel.

    • Baited line
    • Eel spears
    • Push net

    Unagi RecipeAnd here are the famous Japanese Eel (Unagi) Recipes.

    # Unagi – Japanese Eel Dishes
    # Unagi (eel) Salad Recipe
    # Unagi (eel) Stir-fry Recipe

    I guess, that’s enough facts about eels. Interesting isn’t it? Well, at least it is interesting for me. Thanks Jachin and Alisi for the photos, my bossy sis for some fixes and you can read the prologue too.

    Hta Ma NhalHta Ma Nhal (Nhan Ma Nhal) is a very popular food for Burmese people especially for this time of the year. We, Burmese, have 12 special meals + celebrations for 12 special Burmese months. This month in Burmese calendar is called – “Ta Po Twal” and the special food for the month is “Hta Ma Nhal”.

    Preparing and making of Hta Ma Nhal is very significant and memorable to Burmese society. It requires a group effort to create a successful, delicious dish. It signifies unity, cooperation, team work, harmony and the ecstasy for everyone. Many teams compete against each other to make the best Hta Ma Nhal in Ta Po’ Twal month celebrations. There will be side-kick helpers, cheerers, judges and on lookers.

    myanmar-festival-htamane1The celebration has always been one of the most energetic and joyful occasions. I won’t go farther into the competitions and celebration part as I’m not sure how to explain it. I couldn’t find any photo related to “Hta Ma Nhal Pwal” but lucky enough, one post has this photo. Just for my readers to get a brief understand on what it is about, I’ve linked it here.

    A few weeks back my mom made Hta Ma Nhal and I took some photos of it; but due to lack of motivation, couldn’t type up the post to publish it. This week I’ve read two of similar posts from other Burmese blogs as I’m sure everyone’s enjoying the Hta Ma Nhal season. But both of them lack photos hence I get myself together to type up this post.

    Hta Ma Nhal is a simple meal yet a lot of hard work and sweat involved. Different people have different ways of making Hta Ma Nhal and this one is my mom’s style. So here is how it’s done for family size Hta Ma Nhal.


    • Glutinous Rice (1kg)
    • Peanuts (185kg, small peanuts better)
    • Seasame Seeds (50kg Black, 50kg White)
    • Ginger
    • Coconut (1, Medium size)
    • Sugar (3 tbl spoons)
    • Salt (a pinch/ 1 tbl spoon – depending on your taste bud)
    • Oil (300ml)

    Htama Nhal3


    1. Dip glutinous rice in water for 1 – 2 hrs.
    2. Slice up coconut into thin piceases.
    3. Slice ginger into thin pieces and pound a few more ginger for better smell.
    4. Roast black and white seaseme seeds. The black seaseme are added just for the beautification to have some mixture of colors.
    5. Crack and quarter the peanuts. The smaller peanuts are better but we only got big ones here.
    6. Raise the rice once it ready. Let the oil hot and ready to cook.

    Htama Nhal - Sticky Rice

    Htama Nhal - Coconut

    Making It

    1. Fry coconut pieces in deep oil until it golden brown. Raise it from oil.
    2. Fry ginger pieces till it brown. Raise it from oil.
    3. Fry peanuts, raise it from oil – fried peanuts has a better chance of preserving the food.
    4. Fry raisen rice till it brown.
    5. Once the rice is brownish in color, put water till rice submerges. Cover and cook it for a few minute.
    6. Start stirring the rice just before all water dry out.
    7. Stir well till the rice gets mashed up and let water dries up.
    8. Once the rice been mashed enough put all fried ingredients, sugar, salt and mix it all well.
    9. Save some seaseme seeds for later decorations.

    Step 1 + 2

    Step 3 + 4

    You will need a strong arm to mix it as the rice become stickier once it’s been mashed and once all ingredients been placed into it. There is a tendency of burning the bottom parts as you mix the top layers. So you must have a strong fast hand to turn the mixture in many different directions and lower the heat to save some time from burning.
    When you are satisfied with your mixing, tasting, sweating and weary yourself out, Hta Ma Nhal is ready.

    Hta Ma Nhal - Big Plate Hta Ma Nhal - Small Bowl

    You can preserve Hta Ma Nhal up to 2-3 weeks (may be more). Keep it in a fridge and heat up in microwave whenever you want to serve it.

    Hta Ma Nhal is 0% cholesterol, 100% calories, a bit of protein and very good to fatten/cure anorexia. Definitely not the choice for obese ofcos.

    So there you have it. Enjoy trying out.


    Hta Ma Nhal is it also known as “Nhan Ma Nhal”. “Nhan” means sesame seeds cos’ it uses lots of sesame seeds.
    Hta Ma Nhal is a food,
    Hta Ma Nhal Pwal is a celebration/competition,
    Ta Po’ Twal La is a Burmese month. La = month

    The Food and I

    FoodI don’t feel like eating these days. I lost interest in eating especially while I’m into something I won’t even bother to look at the food.

    It’s not that I’m dieting or anything. I never have in mind to diet and I don’t need to as I’m genetically structured as a tiny-thin homo sepian. Just that, these days I’m having very bad eating habit. When I eat, I eat alot and when I don’t, I don’t touch a thing.

    Am I sick? No, I’m just fine. Physically I’m all set. May be I’m mentally sick. :D

    The most common element surrounding ALL Eating Disorders is the inherent presence of a low self esteem.

    OUCH! It hurts yet so true. What kind of “low self-esteem”, I’m yet to discover.

    I’m 5’2″ with 46kg. It’s been a few years my height and weight never go over that limit. I guess it’s normal that I stop growing in height but the weight is limitless so should fluctuate from time to time.

    According to some standard weight vs height charts, I got to have around 52kg for my height. So I’m surely under weight. I do some checking and found out these common types of eating disorders and their symptoms.

    Anorexia Nervosa
    Anorexia nervosa is an extremely dangerous, life-threatening eating disorder in which a person intentionally deprives themselves of food and can literally starve to death in an attempt to be what they consider “thin.”

    Out-of-control episodes of consuming abnormally large amounts of food. People with this disorder eat whether they are hungry or not and continue eating well past being uncomfortably full.

    Compulsive Eating Disorder
    Compulsive eaters feel incapable of controlling how much or how often they eat. They may feel unable to stop eating, eat very fast, eat when they’re not hungry, eat when they’re only alone, or eat nearly non-stop throughout the day.

    Bulimia Nervosa
    Consuming large amounts of food in a very short period of time, and immediately “purge,” ridding their bodies of the just-eaten food by self-inducing vomiting, taking enemas, or abusing laxatives or other medications.

    obesity leads to chronic and often life-threatening eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.


    Out of those, the most relevant one would be … Anorexic? My sister teases me everyday that I’m anorexia cos’ I’m too thin compare to her (her so-called “Growing Child”, rather a little PIG!). No, I don’t think I’m Anorexia. Anorexics are those who starve themselves and dying to do anything to be thin. I’m definitely NOT anorexia, cos’ I don’t like being thin and I never starve myself.

    I prefer soup and gravy these days than solid food. I’m sick of meat, it sticks in my teeth. I hate milk, I don’t like cereal, I have a problem with butter, margarine, I dislike wheat and I’m scare of fruits. I guess my thinness is cos of deficiency in protein, vitamins, fibers, carbohydrates, etc in my diet. Haha I’ll die of malnutrition very soon.

    Nah…My guess is, I’m just having mid-20s crisis such as stress, worries, laziness, family problems, life hardships, parenting, kids, too much day dreaming, etc, which push me to have eating disorder.

    So, any of you have any irregular eating patterns or any solution to solve my eating habit, do share with me too.

    Halloween Dishes

    Oh this is…soooo gross! I’m lost for word, how can someone think up like that. I must admit her excellent imagination though. What a magnificent Halloween dishes she created. If you care to try out…I doubt it. May be a finger. Haha.

    Check out the recipes.

    Finger Cookies

    “Finger” Cookies

    makes ~ 5 dozen
    Yield: 5 dozen

    1 cup butter, softened
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp almond extract
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 2/3 cups flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
    raspberry jelly

    In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together, then add to wet and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

    Read detail recipe here.

    Panna Cotta

    Panna Cotta (brain style) with Pomegranite Sauce

    1 cup milk
    5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    4 cups heavy cream
    1 cup + 1 Tb sugar, divided
    pinch salt
    2 Tablespoons vanilla
    8 oz. pomegranite juice
    1/4 cup cornstarch

    Place milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Stir and let sit for about five minutes so the gelatin can rehydrate a bit.

    Combine cream and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the gelatin mixture and stir again until combined. Pour into (brain) mold, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or until mixture is completely set.

    To unmold, gently tilt mold so sides of the panna cotta pull away a bit, then place on platter or plate. You can also dip the bottom of the mold into warm water to help in unmolding.

    Read detail recipe here.

    Via: BoingBoing | Forum Egullet

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  • Filed under: Cooking Recipes, General, Life Style, Yummy Food
  • Google Apps for Your Domain

    Hey check this out. This is very good offer for small/medium organizations. Google is offering (rather beta testing) for google application integration with your own domain. It’s kinda like subdomain system from google. You can offer customised google services like email, chat, calander with your domain.

    Google Apps for your domain lets you offer our communication and collaboration tools to your entire organization — customizable with your branding, color scheme and content through the administrative control panel, and with no hardware or software to install or maintain.

    Well I don’t think my domain can apply for that cos’ mine is personal and definitely not an organization type. But I think InternetFiji would try to test/make use of this for some of their customers. I’m sure inet will get an account if they apply for it. Well…just a thought, since I can’t check out for myself, Ian you mind setup an account for inet so I can play with it? :D
    Anyways here are some facts.

    Quick Facts
    Cost: Organizations accepted by Google during the Google Apps for Your Domain beta period are eligible for free service for their approved beta users even beyond the end of the beta period, as described in the Terms of Service.

    Administrative control panel – Currently fully supported in English only.
    Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Page Creator – varies by product.

    Fully supported browsers

    • Microsoft IE 5.5+
    • Mozilla Firefox 0.8+
    • Safari 1.2.1+
    • Netscape 7.1+
    • JavaScript and cookies must be enabled on all browsers.

    Step 1: Sign your organization up

    Step 2: Log in to the control panel and create your user list

    Step 3: Select which services you want

    Step 4: Activate your services

    Step 5: Show your users where to find their new communication and collaboration tools

    Sweet isn’t it? K try it out.
    Links: Google Apps for your domain
    Product Tour

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