Posted by Kroocrew on Thursday, March 4, 2010 Under: Laos
There are at least 101 ways of preparing this and none are wrong. If we take the simplest of all it's very close to the country Isaan or Lao country laap.
Laap is enjoyed widely in Lao, North East Thailand and Cambodia, where it may have originated
- 500 gm (~1 lb) Minced pork meat.
- Pork offal: Liver, kidney thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 Tbsp Roasted Sticky rice powder
- 4 Birds eye chillies. Sliced fairly finely. (this amount will produce a hot (spicy) laap)
- ½ lime
- 1 tsp Palm sugar
- Fish Sauce (to taste. 2 – 4 Tbsp)
- Shallots, diced
- Mint, diced
- If offal is to be included then this is sliced fnely and boiled until just cooked in water. It is then diced into small pieces and added to the cooked larp. This adds another level of flavour and texture.
- Place the minced pork meat with a dash of water into a pot and place on the heat. Stir the mixture over the heat until the pork is cooked.
- Add 2 Tbsp of Fish sauce, 1 tsp palm sugar , juice of the 1/2 lime, the diced chillies and the sticky rice powder. Mix well
- Add the diced mint leaves and the diced shallots.
- Taste to see if you would like further fish sauce.
- Serve with warm sticky rice.
This variation has a lower fat content than many great laaps. For this reason it seems to have quite direct flavours that race in from the sides. The more oily or fatty laaps have a greater savoury over-all sensation. This is one of the reasons that Laaps can taste so different at different restaurants for example.
There are variations of Laap, often with another name, that have higher fat and an addition of aromatic curries. These are sensational laaps particulalry the beef staples and I would thoroughly recommend that you experiment with and enhance the aspects that you enjoy of laap. Remember it simply isn't wrong to create variations. And i hate to say it but the chances are that someone has done just that and you may come across "your laap" published somewhere else. It's a food that is easy to play and be creative with and still come out with a fantastic dish to be enjoyed.
Laap was designed as a salad dish to accompany other dishes at the dining place. It's for this reason that a laap goes best along with other dishes (as delicious as it is)
You may be wondering how a poor family who is really in subsistence living can get their supply of minced meat?
Of course they mince it themselves but not with a relatively expensive meat grinder, rather with one or preferably two knives.
The meat or fish is sliced finely and placed on a chopping board. A knife is continally tapped onto the meat cutting it apart. The preparer uses the back of the knife to bring it all back to the centre of the board again and continues. This may take upto half an hour. Working with two knives is fascinating. The rhythm that they get going is quite hypnotic but sensibly they don't break into song and dance over this activity. (Many activities they do).
The knives are usually made by blacksmiths or the male members of a family. The steel they use is bought from the market and is generally the recycled springs of vehicles. It's a relatively high tensile steel and requires a lot of work in the firing hammering stage. The knife edge is hammered and a spike for the handle is hammered out. Then a wooden handle is fiitted and shaped and finally the edge of the blade is ground on a stone and honed. The knives are very sharp and quite large and surprisingly for us it's not uncommon to see very young children in the fields with these implements and not seen cutting themselves.
In : Laos
Tags: pork spicy chillie