All posts filed under: Laos


Monday Meal Review: Laos

THE SCENE: Getting it right “Sometimes when I eat Asian food I get sad,” Keith says. He’s leaning on the counter. This is new. Keith is not one for drama.  I look at him, searching his face, wondering what past trauma has chosen to bubble up. I am bewildered. “Why?” “Because it reminds me of how long I waited to try it.” He stares at the cabinets, seeming to look through them. “Most of my life,” he quietly adds. I pause, staring at him, contemplating his handsome 41 year-old face. Is this possible? More than three decades without Asian food? “Didn’t you have egg rolls? Chinese buffets? Something…” “No, they were cabbagy. And no, not really.” I can’t help but feel a glimmer of pride, thinking back to moments earlier, when Ava, Keith and I sipped and slurped on our Foe – Laos’ epic “build your own” soup. Keith had happily lapped up his bowl of rice noodles, raw beef doused in boiling broth and loaded up with plenty of herbs. It doesn’t get more …

Read More

Golden Coconut Dream

I have a problem. Mangoes. I ate an entire crate of mangoes when I was pregnant with Ava. Ten mangoes in less than a week. Or was it twenty? Mangoes are so outrageously good right now. I can barely stop eating them long enough to let them soften up on the counter.  I have trouble sharing. Thankfully Laos has a dessert that showcases this crazy fruit in a fun and simple way. Remember that sticky, sticky rice? The staple of Laos? That’s your ticket. Let’s whip up a heaping bowl of warm coconut rice pudding topped with soft, sweet mango. I’m already dancing a Golden Coconut Dream. Ingredients: 4 cups cooked sticky rice (2 cups uncooked) 1 15 oz can light coconut milk 1/4 cup brown sugar, or more to taste milk for thinning, as desired 1-2 small, ripe mangoes, cubed Method: On a sweet sort of day, with just the right sort of bite in the air, when your mangoes are perfectly – tenderly – soft, cook your way to a lovely dream. Simply add the …

Read More
Planting Rice in Laos. Photo by Ondřej Žváček.

Sticky rice | Khao Neow

I used to think rice was a boring, safe choice, back before this Adventure. Then there was Persian Sour Cherry Rice. I died. Rice cooked in banana leaf tubes, called Longton. Lovely. Rainbow Rice. I smile on the inside and outside. Kushary – mixed with noodles, spaghetti and lentils. What? Coca Cola Rice. Who? Bottom line – rice is epic the world around. We’ve done a half ton of cool rice dishes on this Adventure. It goes on and on, and on, and on – no need to ever be bored with rice again. Which brings us to today’s recipe from Laos – sticky, sticky rice, a.k.a. glutinous rice. Another win. Another smile for your face. Sticky rice is a staple in Laos. The good little grains pinch together into little balls, perfect for dipping into sauces like jeow. Another finger food for the win. Traditionally one would use a special basket to steam the rice, but I found a bamboo steamer lined with cheesecloth works very well. Makes 4 cups Ingredients: 2 cups glutinous rice (also …

Read More

Laotian Salsa | Jeow

It took me a few tries to figure out what Jeow means. Turns out Jeow is a lot of things, but mainly any sort of dipping sauce, typically made with char-grilled veggies. Sometimes spicy. Sometimes not. Always delicious. It could be vegetarian or it could be made with crushed beetles.  Or anything in between. I’ll skip to the chase: my version is beetle free. Phew. And it’s also really easy. Recipe for a Simple Jeow 3 tomatoes 3 Thai bird chilies 1 head garlic pinch of cilantro And, if you’re not vegan, add several shakes of fish sauce. Method: Roast tomatoes, chilies, and garlic over a campfire, on a grill, in a comal  (flat pan available at Latino markets) over medium heat or in the oven until blackened and soft. Be sure to continually turn the garlic so it cooks evenly. Peel and puree  with cilantro, fish sauce and salt. That’s it! Enjoy… Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Turns out Jeow is a lot of things, but mainly any sort …

Read More

Lao Rice Noodle Soup | Foe

It’s time we take back the expression “Have it your way” from that mega corporate burger joint and put it back where it belongs – into our homes, onto our own homemade-with-love meals. Take this soup from Laos, for example. Traditionally served for breakfast, but great any time of day, Foe is a celebration of individuality, creativity and having it exactly how you want it – without chemicals, junk and gunk. Foe is a rice noodle soup from Laos, typically made with beef, pork or chicken. In Laos you might find funny organs floating in your soup and other delectables, but the real star is the bouquet of herbs, sauces, and spices which each person adds to taste, making each person’s soup bowl totally unique. Today we serve the simplest version of all – thinly sliced raw beef which cooks under the heat of the boiling broth and then topped how you’d like it. Inspired to try this soup because of the words in “Big soup, Big Love.” Serves 4 Ingredients: For the broth: 2 quarts beef broth …

Read More

Menu: Laos

Considering I knew nothing about Laos prior to this Adventure, there was quite a bit of excitement this week. The more I read about the food the more butterflies I got. Delicious. Warming. Fresh. But when I shut the books the butterflies kept coming. I thought perhaps it was because we’ve had two earthquakes in 2 days. Or because during the second earthquake we had a tornado warning. And then I realized it is because Keith is going to be a grandfather And by extension, me too – in a stepmotherly sort of way. Oh goodness. And the world keeps on turning. Or is it… as the world turns… What sounds good to you?* Jeow [Recipe] Laos’ answer to salsa. Spicy, roasted, and fingerlicking good. Instead of corn chips, however, enjoy Jeow with a happy handful of sticky, sticky rice. Sticky, Sticky Rice [Recipe] Glutinous rice is the staple of Laos. This short-grained rice is soaked overnight then steamed in a wicker basket or bamboo steamer. Because the grains stick together, the rice is typically pressed …

Read More
Child with water buffalo. Photo by Paulrudd.

About the food of Laos: Finding the Holy Grail

Sometimes I feel like a knight in shining armor, valiantly seeking to uncover the holy grail of food from each country we visit on this Adventure. A Knight of the Global Table, if you will. Well. Not two minutes into my quest to learn all about Laos I randomly ran across this popular breakfast item: baguette drizzled with sweetened condensed milk. What? How? Why? Well, the fact is it’s true and I love it! Here’s why: while not necessarily the holy grail of Laos, this unusual treat tells us two very real truths about food in Laos. First, simplicity rules all. Second, influence from her days as a French colony remains strong. For those of you shaking your heads, let me expand our discussion. I’ll be the first to admit that breakfast in Laos is much, much more than this odd treat. Perhaps the holy grail is Foe  [Recipe], or Lao rice noodle soup made with beef, chicken, or pork. The real fun is personalizing your bowl with loads of fresh herbs – anything from mint …

Read More