Clockwise from top: Broccoli Rabe with Pork Cracklings; Banana Flower Salad, Rakhine Style; Tender Greens Salad with Crispy Fried Shallots (page 49); and some tamarind liquid.

I learned this central Burmese version of the Shan dish Chinese Kale with Pork Cracklings from a friend in Rangoon. It’s very quick to make if you’ve got your pantry basics on hand, and it’s an easy and flexible dish to turn to when you have plenty of greens around. Start with any tender greens, briefly boil them to soften, and then chop and dress them. This dressing also works well for uncooked greens such as watercress or lettuce leaves (omit the fried garlic and reduce the dried shrimp powder slightly).

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Ingredients

  • About 1 pound tender greens, such as Taiwan bok choi, baby bok choi, pea tendrils, spinach, or pumpkin or cucumber vine tendrils, trimmed of tough stems and well washed
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 tablespoons Fried Garlic, or a mix of Fried Garlic and Fried Shallots
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Dried Shrimp Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Toasted Chickpea Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Shallot Oil, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or 1 teaspoon, salt or to taste
  • About 2 tablespoons Fried Shallots

Method

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Toss in the greens and boil until just tender; timing will vary with the greens, but it should take no more than 5 minutes, and in many cases (spinach, for example) much less than that. Drain the greens and press out the excess water.

When the greens are cool enough to handle, cut them into approximately -inch lengths and place in a wide shallow bowl. (You should have about 3 cups.)

Add the sliced shallots and the fried garlic or fried garlic–fried shallot mixture, and toss a little. Add the dried shrimp powder, peanuts, and toasted chickpea flour and toss. Add the shallot oil and lime juice and mix well with your hands, kneading the dressing lightly but firmly into the greens. Add the fish sauce or salt, as you wish, and mix well.

Mound the salad on a plate, top with the fried shallots, and serve.

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