Today, I serve you this salad recipe for your tummy, and a lovely poem for your soul. It is about how good it feels to want something and pretend you don’t and to get it anyway.
Nan-Gyi-Thoak: Myanmar Chicken Noodle “Salad” for two
- 3 medium-sized pieces of chicken, preferably with cartilage for flavour
- 3-4 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1+ tablespoon of minced ginger
- 1-2 packets of Udon noodles, Tagliatelle or Pappardelle
- Coriander or parsley – however much you want
- Mid-quality olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons of gram or chickpea flour – invest in this ingredient, so healthy and so delicious, Tesco sells a huge packet for £2.5
- Spices: turmeric (1 tablespoon), paprika (2 tablespoons), chilli powder or sumac (1 teaspoon or more to taste)
- Stock flavourings: Optional cloves, cardamom, goji berries, Mirepoix, etc.
- Some diced tomatoes if desired.
- Sesame seeds if desired.
Start with sauce. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry onions till they turn translucent. Add minced onion and ginger, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder alongside 200ml of water. Salt to taste. Leave to cook over low-medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. You want serious caramelisation. It means business. Add some tomatoes if desired.
Chicken & stock. Toast the chickpea flour on stove for a couple of minutes. Repeat with sesame seeds. In a medium-sized pot, boil 1.5-2 litre of water. Then, dial down the heat to low, add chicken pieces alongside coriander or parsley, some garlic, more ginger if desired, cloves, cardamom and goji berries. If you don’t have these ingredients, do not sweat. Feel free to add Mirepoix, too. I think the kind people of Myanmar can forgive you for that. Simmer for an hour on low heat. Go get a glass of wine in the meantime.
I keep forgetting to salt things. Salt to taste.
About 15 minutes before the sauce and the stock are done, boil water to cook Udon noodles, Tagliatelle or Pappardelle per instructions. After fishing out the noodles, use the same water to boil 1-2 eggs for 8-9 minutes – safe to eat but with a fantastic gooey texture.
Assemble. Mix the sauce into the drained noodles. Fish out the chicken, shred it and throw it into the noodle mixture. Cut up the egg and park it on top. Add sesame seeds, toasted chickpea flour, chopped parsley or coriander, and some pepper if desired. Cut a lime wedge if you have it. If not, we’ll be just fine.
Enjoy with a side of hot chicken soup and perhaps some tea.
Maybe it has something to do with my very low expectations but July has not disappointed. I biked along London’s canal to Hackney Wick, randomly claiming I wanted tacos, only to run into A TACO BOAT run by a friend of a friend. Don’t you just love it when things work out, like this poem below?
My July is about retreating into literature. I’d highly recommend you to quietly read this out aloud.
July by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
The figs we ate wrapped in bacon. The gelato we consumed greedily: coconut milk, clove, fresh pear. How we'd dump hot espresso on it just to watch it melt, licking our spoons clean. The potatoes fried in duck fat, the salt we'd suck off our fingers, the eggs we'd watch get beaten 'til they were a dizzying bright yellow, how their edges crisped in the pan. The pink salt blossom of prosciutto we pulled apart with our hands, melted on our eager tongues. The green herbs with goat cheese, the aged brie paired with a small pot of strawberry jam, the final sour cherry we kept politely pushing onto each other's plate, saying, No, you. But it's so good. No, it's yours. How I finally put an end to it, plucked it from the plate, and stuck it in my mouth. How good it tasted: so sweet and so tart. How good it felt: to want something and pretend you don't, and to get it anyway.