Office etiquette dictates that you should never microwave fish in the office kitchen. Apparently, it’s something to do with the smell of the fish. However, I reckon this week’s dish of mohinga would smell delicious enough to override any objections to such a breach of etiquette.

Mohinga is a fish stew from Myanmar, where this week’s Home Supper Club gets its recipes. The vegan version switches out the bassa fish and fish sauce for jackfruit and soy sauce, but I honestly could not tell the difference between the two. This isn’t a criticism – the fish is mashed into a paste and forms part of a broth, which is then made into a soup that sits on top of rice vermicelli, and is served with hard-boiled eggs (removable for vegans). Thus, any intrinsic flavours of the fish or jackfruit become a part of the absolutely delicious whole. I firmly believe you could microwave this in the office and, rather than attracting outraged stares, you’d end up with colleagues falling over themselves to ask you for the recipe. This is not the first time I’ve wanted seconds from a Home Supper Club meal (I’d take seconds of any of the dishes reviewed so far), but this is the first time I’ve finished my meal so quickly that I was disappointed to discover there was nothing left in the bowl. 

Accompanying the mohinga were Mandalay bean fritters and a tea-leaf salad. Nothing to do with a Daphne du Maurier novel, the bean fritters are made from mashed kidney beans made into a batter with flour, salt, baking soda, and half a stock cube, which is then fried until crispy. This may not sound appetizing, but believe me, they’re excellent. Thick, with just the right ratio of crispy-to-chewy, perhaps things might have been better in the de Winter household if these had been on the menu. 

The tea leaf salad was a similar revelation. It’s made with jalapeno peppers, which can be removed if you’re not keen on spice. Personally, the idea of a spicy salad did take me a while to get my head around. But it was worth it. The garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, and spice all came together with the tea leaves to make the cabbage (yes, cabbage!), tomatoes and fried chana taste incredible. Eating the tea leaves, as a painfully-posh Englishman more used to seeing them steeped in hot water, was a slightly odd experience – but worth it for the delicious salad.

Dessert this time was kyauk kyaw – a jelly made with coconut milk. Yes, coconut milk. Your grandmother’s ice cream and jelly this ain’t. It’s made of water, sugar, agar agar powder, and salt, boiled until the agar and sugar dissolve and then mixed with coconut milk which also has to boil. Once that’s done, it is simmered for two minutes until the coconut milk solids separate. The mixture is then poured into molds or a pan, allowed to set, and then refrigerated. If it’s worked, it should produce a two-layered jelly: one white and one grey. As someone who didn’t have much jelly as a child, eating this was a novel sensation – but it wobbled on my plate a jelly should and tasted pretty darn good. 

It’s likely to be a long while before I ever visit Myanmar, but to show me what I’m missing, I have Home Supper Club’s recipe cards for mohinga, the bean fritters, and the tea leaf salad. Until then, what’s next chef?

Written By Nick Dunn