Saturday, October 22, 2016
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Ratatouille with a garlicky tang

In this week's cooking adventure, Phyo cuts through culture to reveal life's true taste

This vegetarian recipe combines a popular French dish, ratatouille, with a touch of Myanmar sichet (fried garlic in garlic oil). My husband is a huge fan of garlic sichet, which he drizzles on most of the dishes I cook. When he did this with my ratatouille, I decided to copy his creation and sprinkle the sichet directly into the pot. Since then we have enjoyed this twist, with the aroma of the garlic combining nicely with the taste of the ratatouille.

Ratatouille with sichet


(6 servings)

  1. 1 big onion (diced)
  2. 2 eggplants (cut into 3cm cubes)
  3. 3 small green peppers (cut into 3cm squares)
  4. 1 big zucchini (cut into 3cm cubes)
  5. 8 ripe tomatoes
  6. ½ teaspoon of thyme (dried)
  7. ½ teaspoon of oregano (dried)
  8. 1/3 cup of olive oil and extra to drizzle
  9. 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)


  • Peel the eggplants and cut into 3cm cubes. Washed and soak in water. Drain just 1 or 2 minutes before you use them.
  • Boil the tomatoes until the skin is broken. When they are cool, peel and cut them roughly.
  • Sauté the diced onion in half of the olive oil with medium heat, using a saucepan or heavy-base pot.
  • When the onions are translucent, add the other half of the olive oil and the eggplants, and fry them for 5 minutes.
  • Add the green peppers and zucchini into the pot and fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Add oregano, thyme leaves and garlic, and stir for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the cut tomatoes and fry for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of water and bring it to a gentle boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes. Salt for taste.
  • Mix the garlic sichet into the vegetables. I prefer to serve the dish at room temperature when accompanied by bread, or a little warm with pasta and meat.

Garlic sichet

  1. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  2. 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • Sauté the garlic in heated oil until it turns golden yellow. Scoop the fried garlic out and set aside.
  • When the oil cools down, mix in the garlic again.
  • You can make 3 or 4 portions and keep leftovers in an airtight jar.

Caramelised onions and anchovies

Here’s a recipe for spread to add to your favourite bread: salty anchovies and sweet caramelised onions with the aroma of rosemary.


  1. 10 onions (thinly sliced in rings)
  2. 2 teaspoons of rosemary leaves (dried)
  3. 5 fillets of anchovies (mashed)
  4. ¼ cup of olive oil
  • Sauté the onions and rosemary in a covered pan (do not use nonstick). Stir frequently and do not let them burn.
  • Once the onions are translucent, add the mashed anchovies and stir thoroughly.
  • Remove the lid and caramelise the onions. When they start to caramelise they will stick to the pan, so more frequent stirring is necessary.
  • When cooking is finished, push the mixture to one side of the pan and tip the pan so the oil runs to the other side. Or lay the mixture on kitchen paper, but save some oil for the bread.


*If you can’t find zucchini you can substitute an additional eggplant or simply go without it.
*Use ripe tomatoes for flavour and colour.
*Make a little cross on the top of tomatoes before you boil them, for easier peeling afterwards.

Next Week

Rice, rice and more rice: Spanish, American and Asian flavours, and shiitake mushroom rice for Japanese flavour.