The Boat Landing Guest House, Luang Namtha, Laos

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Lao Food Recipes


The following recipes are a few samples from our kitchen. These are some of the local village dishes that you can enjoy in our restaurant. We are indebted to Dorothy Culloty for her efforts in recording these recipes for us. If you  would like to know more about Northern Lao Cuisine, You can contact her at: d.culloty@internet.co.nz

 

Aw Lahm (Lao Stew)

Ingredients
4 tablespoons cooked sticky rice, flattened to 1 cm/½ in. thick

Half a chicken breast (or other part), skinned, boned and flattened (You can also use beef, pork, smoked or cured meats)

Vegetables and herbs (to be soaked):
2 yard-long beans, cut in 5 cm/2 in. bits
Small handful of new pumpkin shoots

1 stalk lemon grass (bruised)

2- 3 small sprigs dill

4 leaves saw tooth herb (stinkweed)

3-4 cups water for stock

1 teaspoon salt

¼ Knorr chicken bouillon cube (or 1 Maggi chicken stock cube)

8 pieces sakhan (genus piper), each approx. 3 cm /1½ in. by 1 cm /½ in. diameter. (Optional, or make a bouquet garni of 1 tspn black peppercorns and a dried chilli).

8 Thai small round eggplants, destalked and partly cut in half vertically from the top

30- 40 cm (12- 16 in.) rattan shoot cut in 3-4 cm /1½ in. pieces

1-2 fresh chillies, 4 cm (1½ - 2 in.) long

1 large sprig holy basil (2 T), leaves only

Method

  1. Grill the flattened sticky rice and chicken over a low flame until the rice is dry and partly brown and chicken is just cooked. Cool.

  2. Wash and prepare vegetables and herbs and put in a bowl of cold water to soak.

  3. Put 3-4 cups of water in a saucepan, add the salt and crumbled stock cube and bring to the boil on a low heat.

  4. Break the sticky rice into 1 cm/½ in. pieces and add to the simmering stock. Add the lemon grass, sakhan, prepared egg plants and cut up rattan. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add chillies, and simmer for 10 minutes more.

  5. When soft. remove the eggplants and chillies from stew and set aside in a mortar (or food processor).

  6. Cut the grilled chicken into 1.5 x 4 cm (5/8 in. x 1½ in.) pieces, and add to the simmering stew together with the holy basil.

  7. Pulp the eggplants and chillies using a pestle and mortar (or food processor).

  8. Drain and add the remaining vegetables and herbs to the stew, then add the eggplant and chilli pulp. Remove bouquet garni if used. Add salt to taste and serve.

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Chicken Soop

Serves 4 as part of a Lao meal.
Recommended accompaniments are Fish Moke, Awm Wai, a jeow (spicy dipping sauce) and sticky rice.

Ingredients
2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

¼ Knorr chicken bouillon cube or 1 Maggi chicken stock cube

Half a chicken breast, cut horizontally so it lies flatter

1 stalk lemon grass

1 green chilli (or more to taste)

3 large cloves garlic

1/3 cup finely chopped saw tooth herb (stinkweed, long-leafed coriander, phak hom nhan (La))

½ cup finely sliced green tops of spring onions (scallions)

1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)

¼ cup finely sliced mint leaves

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

 

Method

  1. Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan, then add the salt and crumbled bouillon cube.

  2. Put the flattened chicken breast in the boiling stock and simmer on low for 5 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, grill the white part of the lemon grass, the green chilli and the cloves of garlic over a low flame on a splatter guard until brown and charred. Remove each from the fire as they brown. The garlic takes the longest.

  4. Peel the burnt layer from the lemon grass stem and bruise with the back of a knife. Add to simmering stock.

  5. Turn the chicken over so it simmers evenly.

  6. Peel the roasted garlic, leaving a bit of brown charring on it, place in a mortar along with the grilled chilli and using a pestle, pound together to a coarse paste (or use a food processor or blender).

  7. After 5 minutes more or when done, remove the chicken from the stock and set aside. Add the pounded garlic and chilli to the stock. Remove saucepan containing the stock from the heat and stir in the chopped stinkweed, spring onion, coriander and mint plus the lime juice.

  8. Shred the chicken into 5 cm /2 in. slivers and add to the stock, stirring to mix.

  9. Stir in 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, taste and adjust lime juice and fish sauce to suit taste.

Serve with sticky rice and other Lao dishes.

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Fish Moke

Ingredients

1 small (500-750g, 1- 1½ lb.) catfish or similar firm fish

2 stalks lemon grass, white parts finely sliced

1 chilli

1 large clove garlic

1 teaspoon salt

¼ Knorr chicken boullion cube (or 1 Maggi chicken stock cube)

2 tablespoons dill leaves

2 tablespoons holy basil leaves

1 tablespoon raw sticky rice, soaked until soft and pounded to a pulp in a mortar (or 1 tablespoon ground roasted sticky rice)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

For 2- 4 packets: Banana leaves cut into 4- 8 rectangles approx. 25- 30 cm (10 in. by 12 in.), soaked in hot water until pliable.

 

Method
  1. Cut the fleshy fish parts into chunks
    approximately 2 cm by 4 cm (1 x 1½ in.).
  2. Put the sliced lemon grass, chilli and garlic in a mortar together with the salt and crumbled stock cube.
  3. Pound ingredients using a pestle until they are broken down and sticking together juicily (or use a blender or food processor).
  4. Finely chop the dill leaves and add to the mortar. Pound until all ingredients form a rough paste.
  5. Transfer the pounded paste to a larger bowl then toss the chunks of fish into the paste. Add the holy basil leaves. Mix together with a spoon until the fish is well coated with the paste and basil leaves.
  6. Add the prepared sticky rice and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. If you like, also add the chopped fish head, tail piece, and fin wings. Mix together. If adding the extra fish, add more finely sliced green herbs, another tablespoon each of pounded or ground sticky rice and fish sauce and another stock cube.Take two crosswise (X) arranged pieces of banana leaf and spoon about a cup of fish mixture into the middle. Do this until the mixture is used up (2- 4 packets).
  7. Fold the leaves so the two opposite sides parallel to you meet with the V at the top. Hold them together while folding up the other two sides (on your left and right) to also meet at the top of the filling. This forms a pouch around the filling that looks like a collapsed umbrella. Fold the left side 'wings' around the filling, then wrap the right side 'wings' around to form a pyramid shape. Secure the top with a bamboo toothpick, and trim the top off with scissors. (Or simply gather the banana leaf together and tie it with a string.)
  8. Steam the packets in a covered steamer over boiling
    water for 30 minutes. Remove the packets from the steamer, open them on individual plates and trim bamboo leaves round to fit plates.
  9. Serves 4- 6 as part of a Lao meal or 1- 2 with sticky rice.Take two crosswise (X) arranged pieces of banana leaf and spoon about a cup of fish mixture into the middle. Do this until the mixture is used up (2- 4 packets).
  10. Fold the leaves so the two opposite sides parallel to you meet with the V at the top. Hold them together while folding up the other two sides (on your left and right) to also meet at the top of the filling. This forms a pouch around the filling that looks like a collapsed umbrella. Fold the left side 'wings' around the filling, then wrap the right side 'wings' around to form a pyramid shape. Secure the top with a bamboo toothpick, and trim the top off with scissors. (Or simply gather the banana leaf together and tie it with a string.)
  11. Steam the packets in a covered steamer over boiling
    water for 30 minutes. Remove the packets from the steamer, open them on individual plates and trim bamboo leaves round to fit plates.

Serves 4- 6 as part of a Lao meal. Recommended accompaniments are Fish Moke, Chicken Soop, a jeow (spicy dipping sauce) and sticky rice.

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Kao Soi
(Northern Lao Noodles)

Ingredients
Pork sauce (enough for 5 servings):

10 large dried red chillies

2 cups water

3 medium (or 5 small) cloves garlic, peeled

10 small brown shallots (onion type) thumb-joint sized, peeled

Generous pinch salt

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons fermented bean paste (with chilli), or substitute miso or yellow bean sauce squashed to a paste)

200 gr. (8 oz.) pork, chopped very finely to a coarse mince texture (about 1 cup)

1- 1½ cups water

1 chicken bouillon cube

½ teaspoon salt

For serving 5 bowls of noodles:

Fresh or 375 g (12 oz) dried flat rice noodles (at least 6 mm (¼ in.) wide when dry)

2 litres (9 cups) water (for cooking noodles)

6 cups water (for stock)

Large handful of chicken pieces such as the chopped chicken back

1 teaspoon salt (or less to taste)

3 cups seasonal green vegetables, e.g: 3 yard-long beans (or 5 small French green beans), cut in 5 cm /2 in. lengths and a small bunch of watercress or water spinach, washed & trimmed of longer stalks and old leaves

5 small spring onions, including 8 cm /3 in. green tops, finely sliced

5 small sprigs of coriander leaves (cilantro) including stems, finely chopped

 

Method
  1. Deseed and destem the dried chillies, place in saucepan with 2 cups of water, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until chillies are soft and swollen.
  2. Cool, remove and drain chillies. Align on a chopping board. Chop chillies finely, starting from their tips, gradually working in more chilli up to their tops until a fine paste is made, about 5 minutes. (Or use a blender or food processor.) Set paste aside on a plate.
  3. Place garlic and shallots in a mortar, add salt and pound until a mixture of slightly opaque
  4. paste and pieces is formed (about 2 minutes).
  5. Heat wok, add oil. When hot, add shallot and garlic mix, stir fry on high heat for 2 minutes then lower heat, stir frying continually until onion goes opaque, starts to brown and the oil starts returning. Add chilli paste, continue to stir fry, then add fermented bean paste, squashing the mixture down and scraping the sides and bottom of the wok where it sticks occasionally. This takes about 2 minutes.
  6. Add pork to mixture, and stir fry 2- 3 minutes, then add 1- 1½ cups of water. Continue to cook on low heat until the mixture reduces and thickens. Add crumbled bouillon cube and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  7. Bring 2 litres of water to the boil in a saucepan. Add noodles, and boil until al dente (soft but still firm to bite). Time will vary depending on whether fresh or dried flat rice noodles are used (see Note). Drain the noodles and set aside.
  8. In a separate pan, bring 6 cups of water to the boil, add chicken pieces and salt, and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add all the vegetables except spring onions and chopped coriander. Simmer for 2 minutes more.
  9. Divide noodles into 5 noodle bowls (each half full). Add 2- 3 heaped Chinese soup spoons full of meat sauce mixture (about ½ cup) to each bowl. Top this with a generous sprinkling of sliced spring onion and chopped coriander (cilantro). Place one third of the vegetables on top of the noodles to one side of each bowl. Discard the chicken pieces, and carefully pour the chicken stock over the noodles in each bowl.
  10. Serve with table accompaniments of soy sauce, chilli flakes, sugar and wedges of lime, to personal taste.

NOODLE NOTE:
In Luang Namtha, freshly made noodle sheets are used. To prepare, cut sheets into thin strips, place the strips in a sieve, pour boiling water over them and steam for a few minutes. For dried noodles, follow the instructions on the packet. You may have to soak the noodles until pliable before boiling them

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Lahp Tofu

 

Ingredients

½ cup vegetable oil

500g (2 pieces) of firm tofu, cut into
approximately 2 cm /1¼ in. cubes

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

½ cup water or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Half a banana flower shaved from tip into a bowl of cold water (or substitute either green beans or green bananas with the peel still on)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons ground roasted sticky rice

2 reddish chillies, finely sliced

1/3 cup finely chopped spring onion tops (scallion tops)

3 tablespoons chopped mint

3 tablespoons coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Garnish

1-2 yard-long beans, trimmed

Cucumber, peeled, cut in 6 mm /¼ in. rounds then halved

1 red chilli (or tomato), diced

Method
  1. Heat oil in wok until hot, then add the tofu. Fry cubes over medium to hot heat, turning occasionally to ensure even browning until they are golden (about 4- 5 minutes). Remove from oil, drain and cool.
  2. Place tofu cubes on chopping board and coarsely mince with a large knife or chopper. Put the minced tofu into a large bowl for mixing with other ingredients later.
  3. Reheat 2 tablespoons of the used oil in a frying pan, and add garlic, fry until barely golden, then add water (or stock) and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
  4. Squeeze out the banana flower, add to the minced tofu and mix lightly. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, then the fried garlic and some juice from the frying pan.
  5. Sprinkle the ground roasted sticky rice over the mixture, and mix together by hand. Taste and adjust soy sauce if necessary.
  6. Add the sliced chillies and chopped spring onions, mint and coriander. Lightly mix, then pile on a serving dish.
    Garnish with cucumber slices, yard-long beans and pieces of chilli or tomato.

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Luang Prabang Fried Rice

Ingredients

1/ 4 - 1/ 3 cup oil

¼ cup chopped garlic

¼ -½ cup finely sliced boneless chicken

1 Thai small round eggplant, cut in eighths

1/ 3-½ cup sliced bamboo shoots (fingernail sized pieces)

1/ 3-½ cup cut yard-long beans (1 cm /½ in.pieces)

½ cup diced red onion, (1 cm /½ in. pieces)

1/ 3-½ cup sliced fresh oyster mushrooms

2 cups cold steamed long grain rice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1-2 tablespoons Luang Prabang chilli paste (or other sweet and mild spicy chilli paste)

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 sliced small tomato, for garnish

FOR SOUP
1 cup water or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/ 3 cup chopped Chinese cabbage or other greens ( approx. 3 cm /1¼ in pieces)

Tofu, 4 approximately 2 cm/1 in. cubes

Ground black pepper to taste

 

Method

1. Heat oil in wok until hot, then add the chopped garlic. Stir fry over medium to hot heat until garlic starts to turn golden (max 30 seconds). Toss in the chicken. Stir fry for 1 minute until colour becomes white, then add the eggplant followed by the bamboo shoots, tossing between each addition. Keeping things moving all the time, add successively the chopped yard-long beans, red onion and mushrooms.

2. Add the cooked rice, toss until mixed and warm, then sprinkle over the soy sauce, chilli paste and oyster sauce. Keep stir frying until all is hot and mingled.

3. To present, arrange some tomato in the bottom of a deep oiled bowl (e.g. rice bowl or coffee cup). Spoon the fried rice on top of the garnish and pack down firmly until bowl is full. Put a plate on top of the bowl and invert both. Lift the bowl up, leaving the moulded rice on the plate.

Soup

1. In a frypan or small pot, add the water and soy sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat so the stock simmers. Add the Chinese greens then the tofu cubes. Simmer for 3 minutes.

2. To serve, spoon soup into a small Chinese bowl and grind black pepper to taste on top. Serve as an accompaniment to the fried rice dish.

Serves one person as a complete meal

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Copyright © 2003-2006 The Boat Landing Guest House and Restaurant. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 26, 2010