March 17, 2014
A quick and satisfying dipping and marinade sauce in the broad style of the fantastic Japanese Ponzu.
When you’re not organised or don’t have the ingredients typically used to make a batch of Ponzu, here is a quick option.

  • Fish sauce (Thai or Vietnamese)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Mirin ( a sweetened dilute sake product, frequently available in the Japanese section of a supermarket or in more controlled societies within the liquor section)
  • Light soy sauce (dark would also work)

In a small bowl add:
  1. 1 tsp Fish sauce
  2. 1Tbsp of light soy
  3. 2Tbsp vinegar
  4. 2 Tbsp Mirin
  5. Mix briefly and it’s ready to use.
Works well with grilled sliced steak in Japanese style, Gyoza and as a very light dipping sauce with dim sum style dumplings.
As simple as this is, it does improve standing overnight or longer refrigerated. Scaling up the volumes doesn’t cause any problems.


Khao Pun Nam Jeow. Rice Noodles in a Clear Spicy Broth

April 10, 2012
This recipe is the same or similar to Khao Pun Nam Phik but without the addition of coconut cream. It's very spicy and extremely popular, ubiquitous, through Laos with various interpretations by different minorities. It has incarnations in Thailand througout the various regions.

  • 8 shallots
  • 3 cloves large garlic or 10 cloves small
  • 6  red Thai chillies
  • 500 g (~1 lb) belly pork in a piece
  • 1 kg (~21/4 lb) pork bones
  • 1 kg of pig offal
  • 3 litres (5 pints) water
  • 10 thin slices galangal
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 tablespoons padaek water*
  • salt to taste
  • 500 g (~1 lb) fine-fleshed fish fillets
  • 500–750 g (~1–11⁄2 lb) thin rice noodles, soaked in cold water until soft
  • 1⁄2 green papaya, peeled and julienned
  • 1 can shredded bamboo shoots (optional according to taste)
  • 1⁄2 banana flower, peeled of the red carpels and thinly sliced.
  • a few shredded and unshredded cabbage leaves.
  • 250 g (9 oz) yardbeans , cut into 5 cm (2 in) pieces
  • 1⁄2–1 bunch water convulvus (phak bong), cut into 2–5 cm (3⁄4–2 in) lengths

  1. Grill the whole unpeeled shallots, garlic and chillies either on a charcoal fire or under a grill until they are seared and brown.
  2. Remove excess fat from the pork.
  3. Place the pork hock or bones, belly pork and offal in 3 litres (5 pints) water with shallots, garlic, chillies, galangal, lime leaves, *padaek water and salt and bring to the boil, skimming oils and coagulum as it appears. Reduce the flame and simmer the stock until  the meat comes away from the bone.
  4. Take out the meat and slice  into 3 x 4 cm (1 x 11⁄2 in) slices – including the offal if used. Discard the bones, strain the stock into another saucepan and keep it hot.
  5. Put in fish fillets and poach until they are cooked. Remove and slice in 2 cm (3⁄4 in) slices. Return meat and fish to the soup.
  6. Pour boiling water over the noodles. Drain it, rinse it under a cold tap, cut it into manageable lengths with scissors and place on a cabbage-leaf lined platter.
  7. Arrange the separate piles of pawpaw and vegetables on another platter.
  8. Make up small separate bowls of condiments to be placed on the table, being ground dried chilli, sugar, fish sauce, wedges of lime, fresh chillies, mashed garlic, chopped coriander leaves, Thai sweet basil and chopped spring onion (white bulb and green shoot).
  9. To serve, put the soup into a large tureen with the cabbage leaf (or banana leaf) lined platters of noodles gathered and folded into hands or na with plates of vegetables and receptacles of condiments.
  10. Set a large soup bowl for each diner, into which they place one or two noodle hands first followed by the vegetables of their choice and then ladle meat and stock over. This is then "tossed" carefully with chopsticks in one hand and a spoon in the other.
  11. Diners choose their condiments and garnishes to taste.

*Padaek is the Lao version of fermented fish. It's a very pungent ingredient that is used as a flavour enhancer and is often referred to as "special". A very high quality fermented fish is available commercially and is marketed under a Thai name but in fact is Cambodian. Cambodian fermented fish is considered a premium version. It may be carried in a specialty area of a Supermarket or in a large Asian Grocery Store.
  • To make the Padaek Water you simply take about  1 Tbsp of fish paste with 1 cup of water and boil it covered, until you can strain out the condensed solids. Beware the aroma can be quite over-powering and needs a very forceful extractor fan system to be running to eliminate the aroma. (or do it outside on a gas barbecue griddle)

Khao Poon Nam Phik ເຂົ້າປຸ້ນ Rice Noodles with Chillie Sauce

April 8, 2012

The following recipe translated from Phia Sings recipe collection

(First) ingredients
  • 1 small rice-bowl (1/4 pint) of padek-(add 1/2 pint of water and) boil the padek until it is clear when strained *
  • 300 grams of pork, free of fat, minced, rolled into a big ball, poached in the padek liquid until cooked, and then taken out of the pot and finely pounded
  • 400 grams of pa nang (a catfish) or pa ked (any fish with scales)
  • 1 kilo of pork bones (to make pork broth)
  • 10 thin slices of galingale
  • 10 straight - bulbed spring onions, both heads and leaves (salt)

Their preparation
  1. Put 2 metal jugfuls (2 pints) of water in a pot, and put the pot on the fire.
  2. Put in the pork, the fish, the galingale, spring onions and salt. Boil until the fish is cooked.
  3. Take it out, debone it and pound the flesh finely.
Further ingredients and their preparation:
  1. 15 (small) heads of garlic, the cloves to be peeled and finely chopped, then fried in pork fat until golden, and pounded
  2. 15 (small) shallots, (peeled and) thinly sliced, fried until golden in pork fat and then pounded
  3. 3 fully grown coconuts, husked and split open-grate the meat with a ka-tai ('rabbit'), put the extraction of coconut milk into a pot and boil it until the liquid is reduced, but without letting the cream separate, then take the pot off the fire
  4. 6 red chilli peppers, grilled until they are soft-then remove the cores and pound the peppers as finely as possible before cooking them in coconut oil until a good aroma arises - do not let the mixture become overcooked or it will turn black (instead of red)
  5. salt and ground pepper
  6. chopped coriander leaves
  7. lime (juice, to taste)
Vegetables to be eaten with the dish:
  • banana 'flower' sliced into long slices
  • 7 sweet young eggplants, sliced and fried in pork fat
  • 1 bunch of water spinach (phak bong), fried until done and then cut into pieces about 3 cm long
  • 13 yard-long beans, fried and cut into pieces 3 cm long
  • 6 dried chillies, fried in pork fat until soft 2 na of rice vermicelli (cooked)

  1. Put the minced pork, the prepared fish, the pounded spring onions and the garlic in a mixing-bowl.
  2. Add the padek sauce, previously prepared, and stir until these ingredients are mixed together, then add the pork broth and the (reduced) coconut milk.
  3. Stir, taste and check the saltiness. Squeeze in some lime juice.
  4. Add the fried mixture of red chilli peppers.
  5. Transfer this whole mixture to a big bowl. Garnish with ground black pepper and chopped coriander leaves. (The sauce is now ready.)
  6. Put the rice vermicelli on a platter, in the middle. Arrange the cut-up vegetables around it, and place the whole fried chilli peppers on top. Serve the sauce separately.

* Editors' Note. Phia Sing specifies that the straining should be done with a sua pao (part of a coconut tree) and kaen fai (which means cotton seed).  {Sua pao is a natural presentation of the coconut bark which looks like a fine brown sieve, this is then topped with cotton bolls and used as a filter to clarify the broth.} Filtration through muslin cloth will clarify the
broth sufficiently.




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