Goi Pa, Laotian Fish Salad

Goi Pa. A Laotian ceviche of some sort? Or is ceviche a South American version of Goi Pa?

Who cares? Its yummy :biggrin: and easy to make!

Like many Laotian salads or “Larbs”, Goi Pa is raw, or almost raw, cured and briefly marinated, it must be served as soon as its made.

You need fresh fish, I find white fish is the best for this dish, but you could use salmon or tuna, it really doesn’t matter, as long as the fish is fresh.

There are different ways to prepare this dish, this is my way. The fish is ever so briefly heated, glazed in its own juices actually, this gives it a wonderful texture, semi raw if you like. You have to try it to appreciate it.
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Malt Brulee

Malt Brulee or to give it its full title, Malt Flavoured Crème Brûlée is a new dessert that is now a regular fixture on my small “Sweet Things I like” menu.

I love a good crème brûlée, and trust me, I have tried many! It´s essentially a rich custard with a crunchy caramel lid or topping. I love the smooth silky texture of the set custard and the sweet bitterness of the caramel.

The name Crème Brûlée is 100% French (though that does not mean it was invented in France, if you believe everything that you read it can either be British or Spanish in origin! 😯 ), in Spanish it can be called “Crema Quemada”, both translate to “Burnt Cream”.

It is similar to its culinary cousin “Crema Catalana”, which is sometimes incorrectly referred to the Spanish version of crème brûlée, when in fact it is a different dessert, flavoured differently and cooked differently. The similarity lies in the texture of the custard and the burnt sugar topping, which is achieved by using a hot iron for the crema catalana and a grill or blowtorch in the case of the crème brûlée.

Commonly the dessert is flavoured with vanilla, however it can also be found on menus flavoured with coffee, chocolate, mango, orange, jasmine etc…

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Like a lot of my recipes, ideas come from things that “I miss”.

I remember (back in the old days) my mother warming up some steamed rice and placing a few pieces of smoked mackerel on top. The heat of the rice would warm the smoked fish through. That resulted in smokey and fatty tasting flakes of fish, best enjoyed with some “Jeow Bong”. A remedy for a quick fix when you were hungry, or in our case, living on a tight budget.

Mackerel is much underrated. In my opinion it should get more attention on restaurant menus. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce cholesterol levels, but above all, its tasty and cheap.

When we think of smoking (no, not cigarettes, pipes or weed!), there are two techniques. Hot and Cold. Not only is smoking a way of preserving foods, it also imparts a wonderful aroma and taste.

Cold smoking basically involves applying smoke to food without heat. Hot smoking, as the name suggests, involves applying smoke and heat, thereby cooking the food.

Many types of ingredients can be smoked, meats, fowl, vegetables, fish etc.. Mackerel is a great protagonist because of its oiliness.

Smoking foods at home is pretty easy, just make sure that you have enough ventilation to avoid setting off your smoke alarms!

I use rice and a few other ingredients to generate the smoke, but if you can get your hands on some wood chips, even better!.

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Smile and Say Cheese

Three Cheeses walked in to a crowded bar. The bar went silent.

“Why has everyone gone quiet?”, asked the new barman.

The manager called him over and whispered in his ear, “Everyone knows the Cheeses, don’t mess with them, they´re NUTS!“…. 😆

Okay, okay, its a bad joke, but I couldn’t think of another way to start this post, and when I came up with the punchline, I had a few laughs myself…

Cheese. Made from nuts. Nut Cheese. They´re NUTS! (lol again).

Ok, seriously though, they are made from Cashew Nuts.

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King Burger

The absence of updates can be attributed to “not much happening in the kitchens“…

Over the past month (and up until the end of February) we have been catering to groups of international journalist that are at the hotel to attend a launch of a new car by a large motor company. Everyday different journalist arrive for the presentation, to test drive the cars, take photos and make films. Every night dinner is served in the restaurant, every night the food is the same. Its an easy month or so for the cooks!

However culinary mundane it appears, I take great pride that some Laotian dishes are being served day in and day out. The international reporters get to feast upon Larb Gai, Nham Dok, a very spicy Pad Kemou, and a whole host of other Asian treats.

January also saw the time when the Spanish give out their festive presents. On the morning of the 6th, wide eyed children wake to see what The Three Kings have left them. The Three Kings are more famous than Santa, who may leave them a small gesture on the 25th of December, but its the 6th of January that is the most important day for the children….. and adults!

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Meat and Bones

Firstly, let me wish everyone a very happy 2010!

Now that all the hotel Gala Dinners throughout the festive season are finally over, I can spend a week or so relaxing! :biggrin:

This past month has been busy, however with careful planning ahead, it was relatively easy. Once all the Gala Dinner menus were confirmed, it was all a case of getting things ready on time. The only obstacle that we faced were the deliveries of the ingredients. The working week is cut short when Christmas and New Years Eve fall on weekdays.

Talking about “planning ahead”, I have been making lots of Cured beef..

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New Style Goong Che Nam Pa (or Laotian Prawn Carpaccio)

I would like to share with you the recipe for one of my Signature Dishes. :cheerful:

.This dish has been on my menu since the beginning of my culinary adventure in Spain, and remains our most ordered Starter.

The translation of “Goong Che Nam Pa” would be “Fish Sauce Soaked Prawns”, which doesn’t sound so inviting to the palate! In fact the prawns are not marinated in purely Fish Sauce!, that would be far too salty, instead they are soused in a special salty-sweet-sour dressing.

The traditional version of this dish has the prawns butterflied, briefly marinated and served with various condiments. To make it more adaptable to our diners palates I decided to have the prawns served paper thin, similar to a Carpaccio and added new condiments that would complement the interesting and natural sweetness of the prawns.

There are various stages of preparation and method required for this dish, but do not be put off by the long list of ingredients and instructions. Once everything has been made, it only takes a few minutes to get the dish ready for serving. Every component can be made in advance and kept frozen or chilled until needed.

The recipe is for five servings, though the recipes for the Dressing and Crystal Shallots will produce far more than what is needed, however these can be stored in the fridge, the Sauce for ten days and the Crystal Shallots for up to three weeks.

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Clear Tomato Soup Recipe

I have often posted about (and get emails about) our chilled Clear Tomato Soup which we use as an “amuse bouche”.

When the dish is first presented on the table as “Chilled Tomato Soup”, there are glances of bewilderment on our guests faces, these glances of confusion soon turn to surprised acknowledgment when the summery taste of garden tomatoes hits the palate.

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Chilli Oil

One of my favourite food memories involves Chinese restaurants. When I was younger, a trip to London Chinatown was an event. The sight of roasted ducks, chickens and pork hanging in the restaurant windows and the aroma of spices and wok cooking were very inviting.

A weekend visit to a Dim Sum restaurant was a reward for a hard week´s work, or a impromptu family get together.

During the week, if I was in the area, I would treat myself to a take-away Roast Duck and Rice and always ask for a small pot of Chilli Oil (or Chilli in Oil).

Good Chilli Oil is wonderful, the slight sweetness that accompanies the roasted hotness is something remarkable. A good Chilli Oil has “body”.

Sadly, most restaurants no longer serve the Chilli Oil that I grew to love. They have replaced it instead with Chilli Infused Oils.

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Duck Larb Recipe

Larb´s are a type of  Laotian meat salad. The most popular is made with beef which is best served raw, so freshness is very important. For those how shy away from raw meat dishes the beef can also be cooked (but where is the fun in that? :pinch: )

Other cooked Larbs include chicken, pork, venison and duck versions. Below is our version of Duck Larb, known locally as Larb P´het.

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