Happy Lao New Year 2554

Happy New Year to all the Lao people around the globe, may you be blessed with happiness and health!

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In the kitchen this week I have been continuing my experiments with nut cheese, Cashew Nut Cheese to be precise.

Earlier in the week a small packet arrived and in this package was some Probiotics that I purchased online. Probiotics are basically friendly bacteria found in the body. I am not taking these supplements for any health reasons, I bought them to ferment my cashew cheese.

Though my previous and basic recipes for this cheese tasted good, adding the probiotics took it to another level. Its hard to describe the improvement, its like playing for years on a Playstation 2 then discovering the Playstation 3! :biggrin:

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It does take longer to make, but the results are well worth the wait.

I still soak my raw cashews overnight, then I blitz them with a small amount of water that has had two probiotic capsules emptied and dissolved in to it, then I let it ferment in a warm place overnight, in my case I just leave it in the pastry kitchen, which is always nice and warm.

Next day the paste is mixed with a little salt, onion powder and nutritional yeast flakes. Thereafter it is rolled in chopped almonds, chopped tarragon and dried hibiscus leaves, the latter giving the cheese a tangy sharp bite.

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It is then left to rest in the fridge for a few hours to firm up, which makes it easier to cut. It seems like a lot of work for a simple nut cheese, but like most good things in life, its worth waiting for.

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This week also saw me playing around with my Dtom Khem Ravioli. Having taken the elements of the original dish (Pork, Soy, Ginger, Sugar etc…) I had never found a way to incorporate the egg, which is normally hard boiled and stewed together with the rest of the ingredients. The long cooking time obviously makes the egg overcooked and rubbery. Well, I set myself a challenge to rectify that.

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A quail egg is cooked in a water bath for 22 minutes at 62ºC. It is then cracked out of its shell and placed on to a warm plate. The reason I choose a quail egg is because this dish is served as a starter, in small portions. If I was making a bigger plate, then I would definitely use a normal sized egg.

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The egg is hidden by three ravioli, browned butter and Dtom Khem Jus.

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Cutting in to the ravioli not only releases its sauce, it also breaks the quail egg. I´ll need to test this on a few more customers to get their opinions before I decide to fully incorporate the updated version on my menu.

Its not only me who has been experimenting this week. Reka and Leon worked on some Coconut Chocolate Sushi Rice.

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White, Milk and Dark Chocolate Sushi Rice.

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Sushi rice is cooked with sweetened coconut milk then dipped in melted chocolate and allowed to cool. The first idea was to serve it with freshly cut fruits “a la nigiri“, however, it tasted just great on its own.

It´s not all work and no play at the restaurant, to celebrate the New Year we had an informal lunch with some good old fashioned home cooking.

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True to the phrase that nothing should go to waste, off cuts of pork are marinated then deep fried and served as a snack.

These were followed by one of my favourite pieces of beef, the tongue.

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A simple marinade of soy sauce, garlic and black pepper followed by a searing in a hot pan results in a mouth watering dish.

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Overcooking the tongue is a crime. Juicy and soft is what it should be. Hmmm. Lovely. :biggrin:

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This plastic container contains Padek, this homemade fermented fish and liquid has travelled to Spain all the way from Vientiane!.

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Pungent, aromatic or just plain smelly?. You choose!

No Lao celebratory meal would be complete without a Papaya Salad!.

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Spicy! :biggrin:

After the meal there was music and singing, courtesy of Leon.

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Leon not only plays well, he also writes his own songs!

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Fun is had by everyone. Unfortunately there was no Beerlao to toast this event, however everyone enjoyed the local brew…

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Sokdee Pi Mai or Souk Dee Bee Mai or Chokdee Pee Mai. You choose, but you know what I mean…. :biggrin:

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6 thoughts on “Happy Lao New Year 2554

  1. Hi Linh-Dang,

    Yes you are right, the end result is more tart, with that “fermented” taste which resembles dairy produce made cheeses (this taste result cannot be achieved by just adding lemon or lime juice).

    You should definately try it!

  2. happy new year 2011

    i am in laos we also celebrate so big event for lao people

    how about you who are away from home?

    cheers,

  3. Hi Sila!
    Thanks for your comment, hope you had a great time.
    I dont think that it matters how far people are from home, as long as they never forget where they are from!
    We had a great time!

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