Quick Dressings for Vegetables, Salads, Meat, or Fish: Southeast Asian

Simple Thai:
2 tablespoons Thai oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon Thai thin soy sauce
Small pinch ground white pepper

Spicy Thai:
8 teaspoons finely minced garlic (about 8 medium cloves)
4 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
4 tablespoons fresh juice from about 4 limes
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems
1 teaspoon chili flakes

Another Spicy Thai:
1/2 cup water boiled with 1/2 cup sugar (use to taste; you will not need all)
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
1 fresh hot red or green pepper, preferably Thai, deseeded and thinly sliced

Thai Coconut Curry:
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh juice from 1 lime
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon grated fresh peeled ginger

Thai Chili Vinegar:
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon red medium-sized thai chilies
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon white sugar

Sweet and Tangy Thai:
10-15 dried whole red hot chillies
4-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
3 or more tbsp fish sauce (nahm bplah), to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, to desired sweetness
A few cilantro leaves and/or a 1-inch section of green onion, chopped (optional)

Thai Tamarind:
(Bring to a boil, then simmer until sugars dissolve)
1/4 lb palm sugar, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
1 oz seedless tamarind pulp (paste)
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Thai Yellow Bean:
2 tablespoons Thai oyster sauce
Scant tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon Thai yellow bean sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Thai Citrus Dressing:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced serrano or jalapeno
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Thai Gremolata:
2 small shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, minced
Zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup minced cilantro, packed

Vietnamese Chili Garlic:
(use raw, or simmer for five minutes)
6 ounces hot chiles (e.g., cayenne, Fresnos, habanero, jalapeno, long, serrano, Thai, or a combination of them), stemmed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Vietnamese Nuoc Cham:
3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
Optional additions:
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon homemade chili garlic sauce or store bought (tuong ot toi)

Vietnamese Ginger Lime:
Chubby 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 or 3 limes)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce

Vietnamese Tomato Chili:
(Warm through, purée, then strain)
1 large clove garlic
1 medium (3 to 4 ounc) Roma tomato, chopped
6 ounces Fresno or other kinds of moderately-hot chiles
Brimming 1?2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar, preferably organic
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water, plus more as needed

Vietnamese Orange Almond:
1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon honey or coconut nectar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon wheat-free tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

Hmong Chili Peanut:
2 T fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp MSG, optional
1-2 fresh red chile peppers, minced
1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
4 green onions, white and green parts
1 small tomato, chopped (or 6 cherry tomatoes or 15 grape tomatoes)u
2 T chopped raw peanuts
1 T peanut butter

Cambodian:
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 red hot peppers, chopped
3 teaspoons roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 limes, squeezed
7 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons water

Isaan:
1/2 tbsp chili flakes
1 Tbsp roasted rice
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 finely chopped coriander stalks (with leaf)
2 teaspoons of palm sugar

Nyonya:
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sacue
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 red holland chili,thinly sliced on the diagonal.

Hainanese:
2-inch chubby section ginger (about 2 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3 tablespoon chicken stock

Singapore Sweet Soy:
1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 -1/2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce, such as Sriracha

Singapore Chili:
2 or 3 large red chiles, such as Fresno, cayenne, or long chile, coarsely chopped
2 or 3 hot Thai chiles, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon hot chicken broth

Indonesian Sos Chili Padi:
5-10 small red or green Thai chilies, very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

Indonesian Soy Lime:
3 red Holland chilies, stemmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon lime juice

Indonesian Lemongrass Shallot:
1 meaty stalk of fresh lemongrass
2 fresh red Holland chiles or other fresh long or short hot red chiles, such as Fresno or Thai, stemmed and very finely chopped (for a milder sambal, seed the chiles)
2 shallots, peeled and very finely chopped (about 1 ounce total)
3 teaspoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Javanese:
(Combine and saute in peanut oil)
5 shallots (about 3 3/4 ounces/110 grams total), coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
12 fresh red Holland chiles or other fresh long, red chiles such as Fresno or cayenne, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon palm sugar, thinly sliced, or dark brown sugar (for a slightly sweeter sambal, increase the sugar by 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Mee Goreng:
3 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon sesame or shallot oil
1-2 teaspoons chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Chili Ginger Sambal:
12 red serrano chiles, trimmed and blanched 1 minute
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. peeled, chopped ginger
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Chili Tomato Sambal:
6 hot red chilies, seeded and chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated gingerroot
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
grated peel and jice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Sweet and Sour Chili:
4 fresh Holland chilies
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon palm, cider, or rice vinegar
4 tablespoon warm water
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

Clotilde’s Magic Sauce:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon juice may be substituted, but lime is better)
2 tablespoons fish sauce, a.k.a. nuoc mam or nam pla in its respective Vietnamese and Thai incarnations (look for it at Asian markets)
Optional additions:
2 tablespoons all-natural smooth peanut butter
chili sauce, to taste
one clove garlic, finely minced or pressed

Spicy Tamarind Sauce:
3 ounces tamarind pulp (3-by-3-by-3/4- inch block) and 1-1/4 cups water, processed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sriracha, or to taste
5 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon MSG (optional)
2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste
4 teaspoons sugar, or to taste

Turmeric Ginger:
5 fresh turmeric fingers (about 3 ounces)
2 teaspoons minced or grated ginger (about 1 inch piece)
1 chili, such as a serrano or jalapeño, seeded and diced tiny
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Good olive oil, if needed
Sugar, if needed

Basil Peanut:
3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch green onions (green parts only), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce or 1 tsp. anchovy paste
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
3 to 4 Tbsp. olive oil

Coriander Peanut:
2 cups coarsely chopped coriander leaves and stems (about 1 large bunch)
3 to 5 green cayenne chiles, or substitute serrano chiles, seeded
2 tablespoons boiled skinned peanuts (see Glossary), or substitute unsalted roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
About 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
About 1/4 teaspoon salt

Crispy Coconut:
(Toss together and dry roast)
10 oz grated white coconut
2 duan salam leaves
1 kaffir lime leaf
1- inch galangal (bruised)
1 Tbsp sugar
Paste of 2 shallots, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, and 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds

Lime Sauce:
2 garlic cloves
4 green chilies, seeded
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1 lime

Ginger Scallion:
one bunch scallions
one knob fresh ginger, about 2 1/2 ounces
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored vegetable oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Scallion Ginger:
1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola or grape seed
1/4 cup trimmed scallions, white and green parts combined, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons good soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Ginger Coconut:
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp garlic oil
1 seeded and minced Serrano pepper
1 thinly sliced scallion
1 tbsp thinly sliced mint
2-3 tbsp of grated ginger
1/4 tsp salt
dash of red pepper

Spicy Lemon Coconut:
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 medium jalapeno (or serrano) chile, deseeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 small bunch of scallions, thinly sliced (~8 scallions)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 14-ounce can of coconut milk (full fat)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

Mango Salad With Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

Mango salad:
3 mangoes ripe, Alphonso recommended, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped

Mango Salad Dressing:
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)
2 tsp white sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil or other neutral tasting oil
Freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients for the Mango Salad in a large bowl. Toss to combine. *If making ahead, cover and refrigerate at this point, before adding the salad dressing.

Prepare the Mango Salad Dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking well to combine. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead or use immediately by drizzling over the salad and tossing to combine.

Smashed Cucumbers with Turmeric, Coconut, and Peanuts

4 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers, or 1 small English hothouse cucumber (about 12 ounces total)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper

Smash the cucumbers with the bottom of a heavy pan, then tear into one- or two-bite pieces. Place in a medium bowl, add the lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Set aside for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour, then drain and transfer to your serving plate or bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the peanuts and cook until they turn slightly darker brown, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut, turmeric, and a generous few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the coconut is lightly toasted, just 30 seconds. Immediately pour the peanut-coconut mixture on top of the cucumbers. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Summer Mango Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or regular sugar)
1 fresh red chili pepper, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
3 ripe mangoes , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves , finely chopped
2 tablespoons shallots , fried (or French fried onion)

Prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, palm sugar, chili, and salt in a small bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.

Combine the mango and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss to mix well. If you plan to serve the dish later, you should transfer everything into a sealed container and store it in the fridge, up to 1 day.

Toss in the cashews and fried shallots. Mix well.

Khua Mee (Lao Dry-Fried Rice Noodles)

For the Omelet:

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil

For the Noodles:
1 1/2 pounds dried medium-wide rice noodles
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Golden Mountain brand seasoning sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups scallions, in 1-inch pieces

For Garnish

Sliced omelet
2 tablespoons fried shallots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, stems included
1 cup mung bean sprouts
Prik phong (ground toasted chile) or Sriracha

Make the omelet: Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and add the fish sauce. Beat with a fork, as if making scrambled eggs. Add the oil to an 8-inch sauté pan over medium heat. When it’s warm, pour in the egg mixture and tilt the pan to ensure the egg covers the bottom. Continue to cook over gentle heat for about 3 minutes—you’ll notice the top of the omelet firming up. (If it starts to color, it means the pan is too hot; remove the pan from the heat.)

Once the top is firm, flip and cook over low heat for another minute. Slide the omelet out of the pan and onto a plate to cool. Slice into ¼-inch slivers and reserve for garnishing.

Make the noodles: Start by soaking the noodles in cold water according to the package directions—when done, they should be opaque white and firm yet flexible. Transfer to a colander and drain well.

Meanwhile, add the oil and sugar to a saucepan with a wide diameter and mix well; set over medium-high heat. As the oil gets hot, the sugar will caramelize. Cook until the caramel turns a deep amber. Once it has reached the desired color, turn off the heat, carefully add the shallots and garlic, and give it a stir with a spoon to sweat the aromatics—at this point, your kitchen should smell very good.

Sweat the aromatics for 1 minute, deglaze with the water and stir well. Add the seasonings (oyster sauce, seasoning sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, black pepper and MSG, if using) and mix well.

Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the drained noodles and cook, stirring constantly with a pair of tongs. Move the noodles as if tossing a salad—they’ll wilt and slowly soak up the sauce. When the noodles have absorbed all the sauce and the pan is dry, with no residual sauce remaining, turn off the heat and fold in the bean sprouts and scallions, again like tossing a salad.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Scatter the top with the omelet slices, fried shallots and chopped cilantro, with a side of extra mung bean sprouts. Serve with prik phong or Sriracha.

Pandan Juice and Extract

INGREDIENTS:
30 gr pandan leaves (screwpine leaves) fresh or frozen
1 cup water

RECOMMENDED TOOLS:
Kitchen shears
Cheese cloth
Fine strainer
Blender

Wash the pandan leaves to get rid of sands or dirt.

Cut into a 1-inch piece with kitchen shears. Do not put into the blender whole. Pandan leaves are very fibrous and need to be broken down into smaller pieces.

FOR PANDAN JUICE:
Blitz away until the leaves are reduced to pulps.

Transfer to a cheesecloth, which I used. You can use fine mesh strainer too. Squeeze all the juice out as much as you can.

Transfer to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After that, they will start to smell bad. You can even go two more rounds with the pulps and add more water to get a more diluted version of pandan juice if you want.

FOR PANDAN EXTRACT:
Once you transfer the pandan juice to the glass jar and store in the refrigerator, let them sit undisturbed for 18-20 hours. The green sediment will start to accumulate at the bottom of the jar. This is your extract. Discard the liquid layer on the top and you can use the extract at the bottom.

WHEN TO USE PANDAN JUICE AND WHEN TO USE PANDAN EXTRACT

Pandan juice is a watery version of pandan extract. You can use this to flavor rice, or desserts that allows more liquid/water for example: cendol, agar agar jelly cake, pandan mille crepe cake, pandan cinnamon rolls, pandan liu sha bao.

Pandan extract is a concentrated and has very little water in it. You can pretty much use it in recipes that needs very little water/liquid for example: French macarons, cakes recipes, etc. Pandan extract tastes more bitter because it is concentrated. So, be aware of not using too much in the recipe or you will taste that bitter taste.

Alison’s Edamame

1 bag frozen edamame

Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar to taste
Dash of black vinegar to taste
Dash of toasted sesame oil to taste

Steam or boil edamame until just done.

Mix sauce ingredients to taste.

Serve edamame with sauce on the side.

Laotian Duck and Cucumber Stir-Fry

5 medium cucumbers or 2 telegraph cucumbers, washed (choose young ones with thin, edible skin and small seed core if possible)
1/2 duck breast with skin (or equivalent in thigh meat and skin)
1 T garlic, chopped
2 T fish sauce
2 T thin soy sauce
1 T chicken stock powder (optional)
3 T oyster sauce
1/2 t sugar
1 t chilli paste to taste (optional)
1/4 C spring onion greens, finely sliced

Method

Separate the duck skin from the flesh, reserving fat. Slice the fat into 1 cm (1/2 in) pieces and the skin into 2 cm (1 in) slices. Set aside. Slice the duck meat finely across the grain. Set aside.

Toss the chopped fat and skin into a heated wok set over a medium flame. Allow the fat to render down and the skin to fry until golden brown and crisp. At this stage (there will be a change in the frying sound and a fragrance released), push the crisp skin to one side. While the skin and fat are cooking, prepare the cucumbers.

Peel the cucumbers if the skin is tough and bitter; cucumber is used in this dish to impart sweetness. Slice them in thin diagonal wedges, creating slices that taper off about two-thirds of the way through the cucumber.

Add the chopped garlic to the rendered fat and then the meat. Stir fry several minutes until the colour changes. Add the crisp duck skin and then the cucumber. Mix together and stir fry until all is heated through and starting to cook. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, stock powder, oyster sauce, optional chilli paste and sugar, briefly stirring between each addition to distribute the flavours evenly and merge them together.

Cover and let cook for a few more minutes. The moisture from the cucumbers should be released to form a tasty sauce with the other flavourings, but the vegetable must not be overcooked. It should remain crisp.

Taste for flavour and adjust. Stir in the spring onion greens. Transfer to a serving bow

Lao Soop Pak

1 C Chinese cabbage, cut in small, loose leaf pieces 7 cm (2 – 3in)
1 C cauliflower flowerets (or other white vegetable)
3 fingers sized amount of bamboo shoots, pre-cooked, finely sliced (optional)
3 long beans, cut into 4 cm (1½ in) pieces (or 10 green beans)
1 bunch sawtooth herb, three fingers-width, tailed and cut in half (or coriander leaves)
1/2 – 1 C collard greens (or bok choi ), cut in 4 cm (1½ in) pieces
2 – 3 stems dill, cut into 4 cm (1½ in) lengths
2 very large or 4 medium oyster mushrooms, torn in 1 – 2 cm (½ in) wide shreds
1 large bowlful water with 1 teaspoon of salt for refreshing vegetables
1/2 large head garlic, strung on toothpicks or satay sticks for grilling
3 or more red chillies (amount to taste or omit), strung on toothpicks for grilling
2 thin slices galangal or ginger
2 T to 1/3 C sesame seeds, dry roasted. A mixture of white and black seeds is desirable, although white alone is fine.
2 T soy sauce, padek or fish sauce (or to taste)
8 C water

Method

Prepare the vegetables as described, placing the readied ones in a large bowl. Add water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Rinse vegetables in the brine, picking off any wilting pieces. Let soak briefly.

Put fresh water into the bottom of a steamer or a sticky rice pot and bring to the boil.

Toast the sesame seeds. Place in a mortar. Pound until most of the seeds are broken. Remove and set aside.

When the water comes to the boil, tip the vegetables into the steamer, allow them to drain and then place the steamer over the boiling water. Steam for 10 – 15 minutes depending on preferred crispness.

Roast the garlic and chillies. Cool. Remove their charred skins. Add the peeled garlic, chillies and galangal/ ginger to the mortar. Pound until a paste forms. Adding a dash of salt helps the blending.

When the vegetables are ready, toss them briefly in the steamer to expel the steam. Invert the steamer over a low-sided, wide bowl. Let the vegetables cool. Sprinkle them with the pounded sesame seeds and the pounded galangal/ginger and garlic paste. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Gently use your hands to mix the ingredients together well. Taste and adjust with sauce if needed.

Turn into a serving bowl, garnish with coriander and serve as part of a Lao meal. This dish goes well with sticky rice or can be used as a picnic dish.

Luang Prabang Watercress Salad

Salad

1 large bunch watercress (or 1 cup Chinese or regular celery leaves or 1 cup rocket)
4 eggs, hard-boiled, whites only; reserve the yolks for the dressing
2 C mesclun using whatever greens are available
1/2 C coriander leaves
1/2 C mint leaves
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
10 cherry tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes

Dressing

1/3 C light oil
4 T garlic, chopped
4 egg yolks, chopped
3 T sugar
2 T fish sauce
2 T soy sauce
4 T lime juice

To finish

1/4 C dry-fried peanuts, chopped

Method

Heat a wok or pan and dry fry the peanuts. Set the nuts aside to cool. When cool, chop.

Heat the oil on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and fry until golden brown, stirring frequently so it does not burn (about 2 minutes).

While the garlic is frying, mix together the chopped egg yolks, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce in a deep bowl or screw-top jar. When the garlic is ready, remove it from the heat and cool. Add the garlic and its cooking oil to the mixture. Whisk or shake to blend well.

Add the lime juice and mix. Taste and adjust the sugar and lime juice.

Wash the watercress thoroughly in clean water; drain and discard any thick stems. Cut cherry tomatoes in halves. If using larger tomatoes, cut into wedges about 1 cm (½ in) thick at the widest part.

Assemble the salad on a large, flat plate or in a bowl by forming a bed of watercress which is topped with the other herbs and leaves, tomatoes and sliced egg whites in a nice pattern. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the whole. Serve the salad immediately, as it will quickly wilt.

Variations

For a sweeter version, reduce the lime juice; for a sourer version, increase the lime juice. Do not reduce the sugar amount. Equal or other sugar substitute may be used as a replacement sweetener.

The number of eggs can be reduced to 2 or 3. The dressing will be thinner.

Save any remaining dressing in a screw-top jar and refrigerate for later use.

Jeow Bong (Luang Prabang Chili Sauce)

3 large heads of garlic (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup shallots
1 thumb-size piece of galangal chopped into small pieces
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
1 – 2 tablespoons dark red, roasted chilli flakes
2 teaspoons palm sugar
Water or fish sauce to thin, if needed

Roast or grill the garlic and shallots until cooked through. Meanwhile, in a mortar pound the galangal.

Peel the garlic cloves and shallots, add to the mortar along with the salt and pound to a paste. Stir in the chilli flakes. Add the sugar and pound to mix. Taste and add water, fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarians) or more chilli flakes.

Transfer the mixture to a small frying pan and dry fry on a very low heat for 10 minutes until rich, dark and aromatic. The flavour develops over time.

Khao Soi Meat Sauce (Lao Pork Sauce) for Soup

4 big cloves garlic
1 cup fermented soybean paste (actually 3 heaped Chinese soup spoons)
3 – 4 tablespoons (actually 2 heaped Chinese soup spoons) mild chilli powder, brightly coloured – not from bird’s eye chillies
3 – 4 tablespoons (actually 2 heaped Chinese soup spoons) coarser dried chilli flakes
750 g fatty pork such as belly pork, minced (3 big handfuls when minced), or a mix of pork and beef which is evidently especially delicious.
1 cup palm oil (or other vegetable oil, but not coconut, mustard or olive oil)
Salt to taste
MSG to personal taste
2 tomatoes, sliced in small wedges

Put the garlic cloves and ½ teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pound for a minute.

In a hot wok or frying pan, add the cup of oil. When heated, slip in the garlic mixture and fry while moving it about until the garlic is browned. Before it burns (!!), add about 1 cup of tua nao paste and stir to mix. Continue to fry together until the oil returns.

Add the two types of chilli and keep on frying, while moving the sauce around the pan.

Add the tomato slices and stir fry until the moisture comes out. The paste is ready when it smells good and the tomato has started disintegrating.

Add the minced pork, 2 teaspoons more salt (or to taste) and 1 – 2 tablespoons of MSG. (Remember, this is a very concentrated sauce expected to last a few days refrigerated (hence the oil, salt and pork fat) and to serve many people).

Keep on frying until the meat is thoroughly cooked then thin with water to a thick Western savory mince consistency. Then, um, add another tablespoon of MSG and stir to mix in. Continue to cook until the oil returns again and then transfer to a deep bowl to cool. In the cold, the fat in the sauce will solidify. It is the oil, chilli and reduced water content that preserves the sauce.

For soup:

Rice noodles

250 g pork bits

Half a pot of water (2 – 4 litres depending on how many people you have to feed, ours fed four with plenty left over. Don’t worry about the quantity because all the flavour comes from the sauce and condiments added later. This bland soup is to heat the noodles and cook the pork which is added to the dish when serving.)

Bring the water to the boil. Add the slices of fatty pork. Simmer away while preparing the accompaniments until the meat is cooked.

Accompaniments and garnish:

Finely chopped or sliced spring onions and coriander leaves, 1 tablespoon for each bowl being served

Pea or soy bean tendrils (or Chinese flowering cabbage), raw or blanched, to your taste

Lettuce, fresh

Coriander (cilantro), smallest you can get, roots removed, fresh

MSG or Soy sauce

lime wedges or juice

crunchy and feather-light beef rinds

Put two thirds of a bowl of noodles in each bowl and top it up with the boiling stock.

Add the pork, a good hit of the meat sauce (1 very heaped Chinese spoonful, 3 – 4 level tablespoons) and sprinkle over the chopped spring onion and coriander.

Each bowl is served piping hot and ready to doctor with any or all of the condiments and additional spicy meat sauce.

Tai Neua Jaew (Laotian Ginger, Garlic, and Soybean Paste)

1 knob ginger, the size of three fingers
6 big garlic cloves
15 small dried chillies, not bird’s eye chillies
3 – 4 tablespoons (2 rounded Chinese soup spoons) fermented tua nao paste or substitute such as miso or Korean fermented bean paste
3 tablespoons raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon MSG
Salt, added depending on the saltiness of the khao soi paste

Pound the garlic in a mortar with half a teaspoon of salt for a minute and then add the ginger. When the paste is well integrated and squishy, remove it to a bowl and set aside.

String the chillies on a skewer and roast over the fire or gas flame or under an electric grill until semi blackened but not immolated. Deskewer into the empty mortar and pound until well mixed and broken up.

Then add thefermented bean paste and pound again. Put the ginger and the garlic paste back into mortar, pound a bit and add the sugar and MSG until all is well mixed. Taste and adjust the levels of salt, sugar and MSG to suit your own taste.

Jaew Mak Len (Lao Grilled Tomato Salsa)

Jaew Mak Len

For grilling:
10 medium tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1 large shallot
chiles (your preference)

For mixing:
1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 large handful of green onions, chopped
a glug of fish sauce
squeezed lime juice to taste
pinch of salt

First grill the vegetables, skins on, until blackened. (Laos traditionally cook over an open flame, not gas.) Peel off garlic and shallot skins, as well as the most blackened parts of tomato and chile skin.

Pound the vegetables in a mortar with a pinch of salt.

Add chopped cilantro, green onion and fish sauce; pound a bit more. Taste. Add more of anything needed. If it is too sour or bitter, add a pinch of sugar. Serve with sticky rice.

Laotian Stir Fried Fish with Chili and Holy Basil

A healthy portion of white fish, thinly sliced in small pieces (anything that holds together well, without an overpowering fishy flavor)
Lots of garlic
Hot red chile, sliced thinly
Pinch of palm sugar
Pinch of bouillon or 1/4 cup soup stock
Drizzle of dark soy sauce
Heap of fresh holy basil

Heat the garlic and chile in a hot wok with oil. Stir. Toss in the fish and stir-fry quickly on high heat. Add a little water, sugar and soup or bouillon. Stir, then add basil and soy sauce, primarily for color. That’s it! It’s quick.

The dish should be hot, but not be overly sweet. It is similar to the Thai stir-fry with chile and basil, “but different cooking. In Thai, more oil, more sugar. In Lao, little oil, little sugar, more chile.”

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Laotian Chili Paste

6 medium or 9 small shallots, unpeeled
1 1/2 cups garlic cloves (from 3 to 4 heads), unpeeled
6 (or up to 10) Thai dried red chiles
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped galangal
Several pinches of salt
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce, or more to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the shallots and garlic in the skillet and dry-roast until browned and blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, place the skillet over medium heat, add the dried chiles, and dry-roast, turning and moving them frequently, until they start to give off an aroma; they should not blacken or burn—just heat gently until they are dried out and brittle. Alternatively, you can roast the shallots, garlic, and chiles over a charcoal or gas grill.

“Transfer the chiles to a mortar and pound them to a powder (discard any tough stems). Add the galangal and a pinch of salt and pound to a paste. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Alternatively, place the chiles and galangal in a blender or food processor and chop them as fine as possible.

Slide the peels off the shallots and garlic and discard. Coarsely chop the shallots, place them in the mortar with a pinch of salt, and pound to a smooth paste. Add the paste to the mixture in the small bowl, then place the garlic cloves and a pinch of salt in the mortar and pound to a smooth paste. Add all the pounded ingredients to the mortar and pound together. Alternatively, add the shallots and garlic to the food processor with a pinch of salt and process. Add the fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of the warm water and pound or stir to blend well. The paste should be very moist and smooth; add a little more warm water if you wish. Taste for salt and add a little more salt or fish sauce if you wish. Stir in half the coriander.

Transfer the sauce to a small bowl. Sprinkle the remaining coriander over the top. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in a sealed contained in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Makes just over 1 cup thick sauce.

Jaew Bong (Laotian Chili Paste)

6 medium or 9 small shallots, unpeeled
1 1/2 cups garlic cloves (from 3 to 4 heads), unpeeled
6 (or up to 10) Thai dried red chiles
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped galangal
Several pinches of salt
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce, or more to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the shallots and garlic in the skillet and dry-roast until browned and blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, place the skillet over medium heat, add the dried chiles, and dry-roast, turning and moving them frequently, until they start to give off an aroma; they should not blacken or burn—just heat gently until they are dried out and brittle. Alternatively, you can roast the shallots, garlic, and chiles over a charcoal or gas grill.

“Transfer the chiles to a mortar and pound them to a powder (discard any tough stems). Add the galangal and a pinch of salt and pound to a paste. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Alternatively, place the chiles and galangal in a blender or food processor and chop them as fine as possible.

Slide the peels off the shallots and garlic and discard. Coarsely chop the shallots, place them in the mortar with a pinch of salt, and pound to a smooth paste. Add the paste to the mixture in the small bowl, then place the garlic cloves and a pinch of salt in the mortar and pound to a smooth paste. Add all the pounded ingredients to the mortar and pound together. Alternatively, add the shallots and garlic to the food processor with a pinch of salt and process. Add the fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of the warm water and pound or stir to blend well. The paste should be very moist and smooth; add a little more warm water if you wish. Taste for salt and add a little more salt or fish sauce if you wish. Stir in half the coriander.

Transfer the sauce to a small bowl. Sprinkle the remaining coriander over the top. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in a sealed contained in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Makes just over 1 cup thick sauce.

Luang Prabang Pork Salad

For the salad

3 to 4 large or extra-large eggs, preferably free-range
2 medium heads leaf or Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
4 scallions, trimmed, smashed flat with the side of a cleaver, cut lengthwise in half or into quarters, and then cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths
1 cup cilantro sprigs
1 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped or torn Chinese celery leaves, or substitute flat-leaf parsley sprigs

For the lime juice dressing and the cooked dressing

1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 bird or serrano chiles (optional), minced
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
9 to 10 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil or minced pork fat
1/2 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup rice or cider vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Put the eggs in a saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook at a gentle rolling boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Tear the salad greens into large coarse pieces. Place all the greens, including the scallions and herbs, in a large bowl and set aside.

Peel the hard-cooked eggs and cut crosswise in half. Transfer the yolks to a small bowl and mash; set aside. Slice the whites crosswise and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ginger, chiles, fish sauce, lime juice, and 1 to 2 cloves’ worth of minced garlic; set aside.

When you are ready to proceed, put the remaining dressing ingredients near your stovetop. Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat. Add the oil or fat and heat for 20 seconds, then add the remaining 8 cloves’ worth of minced garlic. Stir-fry briefly, until the garlic starts to change color, about 20 seconds, then toss in the pork. Use your spatula to break up the pork into small pieces as you stir-fry. Once all the pork has changed color completely, after 1 to 2 minutes, add the salt and sugar, then add the hot water and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar, add the reserved mashed egg yolks, and stir to blend.

Pour the hot liquid and pork over the prepared greens and toss gently. Pour the lime juice dressing and toss. Transfer the salad to a large flat platter (or to individual dinner plates) and mound it attractively. Sprinkle on the chopped roasted peanuts, arrange slices of egg white attractively on top, and serve immediately.

Laotian Chicken Sandwich

Four 8-inch soft baguettes, split
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sriracha (Thai hot sauce)
2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced
1/4 cup sweet red chili sauce
1 to 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
2/3 English cucumber, peeled and thickly sliced
Mint and cilantro leaves
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

To make the sandwich, spread both sides of the baguettes with mayonnaise and sriracha. Arrange chicken over the bottom halves and moisten with chili sauce. Add jalapeños, cucumber, and herbs, then drizzle with more sauce. Toss the lettuce and carrots with the vinegar, add to the sandwiches, then finish with more chili sauce, if you’d like. Add top halves and serve with lots of napkins.