Posts Categorized: Laos

Tuned down green papaya salad for tourists

Jak prepares green papaya salad  Usually my blog posts are from the opposite season from most other people. That’s because most of the time I live in the southern hemisphere. For this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Scott at Real Epicurean, Jak and I in the northern hemisphere at the Three Elephants Cooking School in Luang Prabang Laos. Unusually, we are cooperating with each other in the kitchen in what is the only food we have prepared for the past month. It’s as near as it gets to winter here being the cool dry season. Cool means about 30 degree centigrade days. Nights get down to about 10C. It’s the perfect weather for a green papaya salad. The Three Elephant cooking school subscribes to the view that Lao food isn’t as hot as Thai. I’ve found plenty of hot food here though. I’ve also noticed that the locals like to add plenty of a thermonuclear chilli paste, called Tamnak Lao Jeowbong, to their dishes. Just to make the chilli powder 50 dried red chillis are needed. Bang! This green papaya salad uses only one chilli, bottled fish sauce and a tub of shrimp paste. I’m told it is tuned-down from what the locals might eat at street stall in the capital, Vientiane. There up to ten chillis may be used in a salad plus either a raw or cooked version of home made fish sauce. The way he fish sauce is made is by adding fish to a jar and letting them rot outside the back of the house. You can see the grey stuff with chunks of fermented fish floating in it in the market. It really does look and smell pretty rough – worse than the stuff in bottles. Brown soup-like stuff at the back with silver floating bits? That’s fish sauce.  Ingredients Grated papaya (or 8 Asian snake nbeans/16 European green beans or cucumber) 6 cherry tomatoes 1 red chilli (or ten for the strong) 1 garlic clove 2 teaspoons sugar (I prefer palm sugar) Half a teaspoon shrimp paste (wimps!) Quarter a teaspoon fish sauce (Yes, wimps!) pinch of salt Juice of one lime (or a lemon) Method There’s a special device than can strip green papaya but you can also probably use a zester. Soak in water to soften (If using beans slice. this recipe doesn’t cook them but I suspect blanching them would… Read more »

Deep fried seaweed

It’s happy hour. Instead of one tumbler of rice whisky I am served two. At least a snack of deep fried Meekong seaweed helps line my stomach.