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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Roasted Maple Lotus Roots & Life in Burma - part 1

Preparation time - 25 minutes
Serves 2

The stunning Shwedagon Pagoda

So it’s been aaaaaages since I last posted! To be fair life has been full of change recently – a month ago the boyfriend, the cat and I have moved all the way from London to Myanmar (previously known as Burma) and are now living in beautiful, hot,  colourful Yangon, the country’s capital city. For the past few weeks I’ve been settling in, exploring busy markets, admiring golden pagodas, meeting new people, getting accustomed to the heat and the monsoon rains and .. of course.. trying a number of Yangon’s many local vegan-friendly dishes: from the strange sounding but delicious pickled tea leaf salad to sticky coconut sweets sold by smiling women on every street corner.  

This place already feels like home, I love it, and it helps that Yangon is a wonderful place to be a vegan. There is even a Myanma word for it ‘Tatalo’! It’s a welcome change from most of the East and West African countries I have travelled to previously where conversations in restaurants often went something like this: me: ‘But.. this is chicken, I asked for vegetables?’ waiter, hand on hip and looking at me like with barely-concealed exasperation: ‘Chicken IS vegetarian, chicken is VE-GE-TA-BLE!!’ .. Oh.Ok then, back to plain rice for lunch and dinner I guess.

By marked contrast, here the market stalls offer row upon row of exotic fruits and vegetables, bursting with color, many that I had never seen before – bright pink dragon fruits that taste like kiwis, greens of all shapes and sizes, pomelos, which are like football sized grapefruits, lotus roots and so on. 

Enjoying a late afternoon wander around the Swedagon Pagoda. 

So now that I am settled, it's back to business! I intend to get busy cooking and blogging again. It’s only fitting that my first recipe post from Burma should be inspired by this beautiful country so I've made Roasted Maple Lotus Root with, served with a steaming bowl of soba veggie noodles. I actually found this recipe in Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet  book, which I highly recommend you buy if you're interested in yummy plant-based recipes and in learning more about the links between diet, health and the environment. 

Roasted maple lotus root is super easy to make and is so more-ish I ended up eating the whole lot in one go.. so much for thinking I was making enough for the week!

Raw lotus root

1 whole lotus root, sliced into thin rounds
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 medium-sized leek, chopped into thin half-moons
1 tsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of maple, you can use honey instead
1 T olive oil

Ready for the oven!
Easy Peasy! Preheat the oven to 160°C. Combine all the ingredients together, spread out on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes or until the lotus root is golden and tender. Serve hot.

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