Dear friends, I was away for a long time, so my apologies for being absent in our weekly meme. My husband and I went to Laos for a much-needed holiday. It was a great trip, albeit a tiring one. We decided to go up north of Cambodia, in Stung Treng, and then cross the border to Laos via Dang Kralor border in Champasak province, traveling to Pakse city. There we then boarded a bus that took us to Vientiane, the capital. All in all, it took us two days and two nights to complete that stage. It was then we realised that we are now too old for backpacking! But with the aching bodies aside, we did enjoy the trip. And the food.
We like a particular Laos dish so much that I made it right after returning to Phnom Penh. This is what I am blabbing about:
… and that is called chicken laap, the national dish of Laos, which my husband and I had grown fond of. So for this week’s Simply Delicious Sunday recipe, I am coming back with a recipe so easy to make and yet so tasty. I adapted this laap recipe from Kit Chan’s Classic Thai cookbook.
Chiang Mai is a city in the north-east of Thailand. The city is culturally very close to Laos and famous for its chicken salad, which was originally called laap or larp. Duck, beef or pork can be used instead of chicken.
450gms/1lb of minced chicken
1 lemon grass stalk, finely chopped
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
4 red chillies, seeded and chopped
60ml/4tbsp lime juice
30ml/2tbsp fish sauce
15ml/1tbsp roasted ground rice
2 spring onions, chopped
30ml/2tbsp coriander leaves
mixed salad leaves, to serve
cucumber and tomato slices, and a few sprigs of mint, to garnish
1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan. Add the minced chicken and a little water to moisten while cooking.
2. Stir constantly until cooked; this will take about 7-10minutes.
3. Transfer the chooked chicken to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
4. Serve on a bed of mixed salad leaves and garnish with cucumber, tomato slices and a few sprigs of mint.
And voila —
Since I adapted this from a Thai cookbook, I noticed the absence of banana bud, red onions, and black pepper in the recipe while mint was used merely for garnishing, ingredients which were very much present in the chicken laap we ate in Vientiane. So when I made mine, I just had to add about 50gms of grated/chopped banana bud and red onions and generous amounts of mint leaves and ground black pepper, for authentic Laotian taste. You may omit the ground roasted rice and chillies, to suit your taste, but my husband and I love it with chillies.
Chicken laap is very easy to prepare, great with fresh vegetables, and great as an appetizer or as a main dish, or for your husband’s beer-food.