Sometimes you walk into a holiday craft show and end up meeting an amazing Laotian home cook! That's what happened when we met Ilene Rouamvongsor! And we're so glad we did, because her Lao Chow was delicious! Ilene made it a family affair by inviting her mom and brother down from NC to help for the weekend!
Kour Naw Mai with Khao Niew
A fragrant bamboo shoot dish stir fry. Bamboo shoots are boiled until tender, then shredded and cooked in aromatics and herbs. Bamboo is one of my favorite vegetables and fresh bamboo shoots are nothing like the canned bamboo you’ll find in your common grocery store. I have fond memories of my mother unselfishly giving me the good end of a bamboo shoot. The ends are tender, just like her love! Served with the Laotian staple, sticky rice (khao niew), which is eaten by hand. The Lao eat more sticky rice than any other people in the world. In fact, often the Lao will refer to themselves as "luk khao niaow," which translates to "children of sticky rice."
Gluten Free and Vegan
Sai Oua with Jeow-mak Len
These herbaceous pork sausage meatballs (sai oua) have citrusy flavors of lemongrass, kaffir leaves, and cilantro that bring out a distinctive citrus flavor found in an array of Lao cuisine. Served with the ever so present side of jeow, Lao hot sauce. What makes Lao food stick out is the many varieties of condiments. You will always find jeow served on the side. There are many different types of jeow but in this dish, jeow-mak len is served on the side. The main components are Thai chili peppers and roasted tomatoes. Use your hands to dip your sticky rice in it and eat it with the complimentary Lao pork sausage!
Gluten free. Vegan Option: 2 Lao Spring Roll: Rice noodles, carrots, and lettuce wrapped in rice paper served with a sweet and salty chili sauce and crushed peanuts.
Larb (or laap) is the national dish of Laos. You can use any meat and it can be cooked or served raw. My larb features ground chicken tossed banana blossoms, lemongrass, the nutty flavors of toasted sticky rice, herbs, and fish sauce. Served with cucumbers for crunch and a slice of lime for a little acidity. Spoon your larb into the nappa cabbage "boats" and eat with your hands. Gluten Free.Vegan Option: Larb with oyster mushrooms.
Nam Vahn literally translates into “sweet water.” Served at birthday parties, weddings, and other celebrations, this dessert is a refreshing end to Lao meals. Nam Vahn consists of sweet corn and fun tapioca pearls swimming in creamy coconut milk. But don't let the name fool you, Nam Vahn is sweet without being too sweet.
Gluten-free and Vegan.