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Burmese potato curry, ginger salad, vegetable pakoras as prepared in a cooking class at Borderline Cafe, Mae Sot, Thailand



Burmese Ginger Salad

We learned how to make this delicious salad at the Borderline Cafe in Mae Sot, Thailand, on the Burmese border.



8 T peeled ginger

IMG_07941 cup peanuts

2 T chickpea flour (optional)

2 T sesame seeds

2 large limes

2 t salt
1/4-1 green chili, chopped fine

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, sliced

12 leaves green cabbage, well shredded

2 T vegetable oil

2 t sugar

Julienne the ginger and squeeze all the limes over it.  Add salt, mix, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. If using chickpea flour, heat briefly in a dry pan.  Fry the peanuts and sesame seeds in a dry pan (with or without the chickpea flour).  Remove from pan.  Fry the garlic in oil until crispy.  Mix all ingredients and add the sugar to taste.





Mexican Coffee Flan

Mexican Coffee Flan

Flan is a popular dessert in México and can be found in many varieties. Our favorite is coffee flavored. This flan is really easy to make—takes about 10 minutes to put together, and is light and delicious.

1 cup sugar

Coffee flan served on Oaxacan black pottery

Coffee flan served on Oaxacan black pottery

3 whole eggs plus
3 egg yolks
1 cup milk (skim or 1% is okay)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 heaping teaspoons instant espresso

Preheat oven to 325. Place sugar in a 2 quart baking dish and heat in the oven until the sugar has melted. Swirl around the bottom of the pan so it is completely covered, and set aside.

Beat the rest of the ingredients in a mixer for about a minute until they are well-blended. Pour into the pan and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Place pan in a larger pan and fill with hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the flan pan. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until a knife comes out clean.

Chill for several hours. Loosen the sides, place a plate over the top, and invert. Flan will slide right out. It can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, and freezes well.


Chilaquiles (from Mexico)

This is a very popular breakfast dish in Mexico, similar to nachos, but warm and delicious.  It’s a good lunch or snack, and kids love it!


Vegetarian Chilaquiles


— 16 ounces of your favorite salsa

— Shredded chicken (optional) OR

— Fried egg (1 per person)

— 2 large handfuls of corn tortilla chips (see ** NOTE below for instructions on using tortillas)

— 1-2 cups of cheese (Queso Blanco, or shredded Monterey Jack, cheddar, mozzarella, or a mix)

— A little cream (optional)

— 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion

— 1 avocado, sliced or chopped


Warm salsa in a 9” round pan (I like to use an iron pan with high sides).  Add chicken if using, and cook until hot.  Add the tortillas and toss until they are all coated in salsa.  Cook 4-5 minutes for crispier chilaquiles, or 9-10 minutes for a softer dish.  (This is a matter of personal preference.)  Sprinkle with cheese, and cover or stick under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.  Drizzle with cream, and sprinkle with onion and avocado.  (Place the fried egg on top before serving if you’re adding the egg.) Serve warm with refried beans on the side.


** NOTE My favorite way to make chilaquiles is with fresh corn tortillas.  I cut them into 6 triangles each, and fry them in a little vegetable oil until they are a bit crisp.  Then add the rest of the ingredients, but only cook it until hot.  This recipe would use 6-8 taco-size tortillas.

Chilaquiles with fried egg

Chilaquiles with fried egg









Panellets (from Spain)

This healthy treat is made from potatoes and nuts, with dozens of variations.  Panellets are traditionally served in the Catalonian region of Spain on Saint’s Day (November 1), along with sweet potatoes and roasted chestnuts.  This version is courtesy of Sol Peñafiel, owner of Cooking Languages in Barcelona. Sol is a fun and creative chef who takes a unique approach by teaching healthy cooking and language together in her classes. (If you’re in Barcelona don’t miss the opportunity to take a cooking class with her!)


Panellets with chocolate,  cinnamon and sugar, cherry jam, and pecan

Panellets with chocolate, cinnamon and sugar, cherry jam, and pecan

This is how I made the panellets:

— 1 large sweet potato, baked or boiled (you can also use white potatoes– 2 medium)

— 2 cups almonds, ground (you can use any nut–pecans would also be delicious, or coconut)

— 1/2 cup sugar (add more to taste if using white potatoes)

–1/4-1/2 cup coconut flakes

— 1 egg yolk (optional)


Panellets dipped in Mexican chocolate

Panellets dipped in Mexican chocolate

Some flavoring options:

  • Cocoa
  • Lime juice and zest
  • Instant coffee
  • Chocolate chips
  • Pine nuts
  • Melted chocolate
  • Jam
  • Cinnamon


Mash the cooked potato and allow it to cool.  Combine it with the rest of the ingredients and adjust to taste. If the dough is still sticky, add more almond meal and/or coconut. Cover and allow to sit for at least several hours, overnight if possible.  When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  You can divide the dough to mix with different flavorings (see above).  Roll into balls or ovals, press an indent if you would like to add something after baking (like a dollop of jam), and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  If using egg, brush the top of each cookie.  Bake 10-15 minutes.  The egg-brushed version will brown in about 10 minutes– be careful they don’t burn.  Bake the eggless version another 5 minutes.

We dipped some of the panellets in melted Mexican chocolate flavored with cinnamon.  Delicious!

Yields about 2 dozen cookies.  Gluten free and vegan (without the egg wash).