Snap, Crackle and Pop

Sticky Rice is Laotian Rice and the staple of Lao cuisines.

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To cook it, it is first soaked in water then steamed in a wicker basket known as a “Huat” before being moved to another wicker container called the “Dhip Khao” (or Dip Kao) for serving. Dhip Khao come in many sizes, from cute single portions to whopping family sized versions.

It is eaten with the hands, pressed in to a ball or oblong shape.

The raw rice can also be dry roasted in a pan then crushed with a pestle and mortar in to a coarse powder. In this state it is called “Khao Kwah” and is mainly used in Larbs and gives the dish a wonderful nutty aroma. It can also be used to thicken dipping sauces made from chopped Shallots, Fish Sauce, Sugar, Chilli Flakes and Shrimp Paste, this spicy-salty-sweet dip is great with fruits like Green Mango or Grapefruit.

The combination of the dip and the fruits provide a magical blend of Spiciness, Saltiness, Sweetness and Sourness, which are the four prominent elements found in most Lao dishes. (The 5th is Bitterness, but that is an acquired taste). 🙂

Left over Laotian Rice can also be dried then deep fried.

rice-crackers

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Normally the rice would be laid out to dry in the sun on wicker mats, however, we can also achieve this in a shorter time by placing it overnight in an oven set to its lowest temperature.

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When dried the rice becomes brittle and hard.

Once deep fried in clean oil they will puff up and should be seasoned with fine salt and sugar whilst still hot.

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They make a great crunchy and crispy snack which goes down well with a chilled beer. 😎

“Rice Popcorn” is made in exactly the same way, the only difference is that it is not shaped prior to drying and is instead dried in small “chunks”.

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Sometimes we serve Rice Popcorn in small paper cones seasoned with Curry Salt.

For a real treat we also make up a batch drizzled with Orange Caramel.

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Fresh orange juice is squeezed on to brown sugar with a little water added.

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As the water evaporates the caramel becomes sticky.

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This is then spooned over the puffed rice.

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As it cools the caramel becomes hard, which adds further crunchiness to the rice puffs.

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These are great for children, and for cooks that are really “kids at heart…” 😉

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4 thoughts on “Snap, Crackle and Pop

  1. brings back memories!  I love the rice popcorn with caramel but never knew how it was made.  I will attempt to fry some up this weekend.  Thank you for this blog entry!  Pictures added excellent culinary visions as well!

  2. sure does bring back memories for me too when I was little. it was the poor man’s food. we used lard as our topping. but if you were lucky to find some caramel, you moved up in status. But I’ve always liked it soaked in egg batter the Lao version of the French toast. Damn seeing this makes me want to make some. Kao Gee Lao!

  3. Yes its true, the simplest things do evoke our memories. The fondness of not having to eat it in a long time makes you think and reflect. Ai Vienne, you wouldn’t happen to showcase how to make meing muang luang would you? I’m fond of the the meing padak, my all time favorite. its been ages since I’ve sank my mouth in meing muang luang. God what I would give to taste it again.

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