Things That Make you Go Hmmmmm! Laotian Rice Noodle Soup.
When you are feeling down or tired, there are a few dishes that can perk you up, and make you feel warm and better.
“Khao Pe Ek” when translated means “Wet Rice”, and refers to a rice based soup. The starch content of the rice makes the soup naturally thicker than a regular broth, (Potatoes have the same effect in Country Soup).
When in Laos you can enjoy a traditional “Khao Pe Ek”, served with chopped Coriander, Roasted Chill Flakes and a whole array of other condiments. The dish is very wholesome and nourishing.
Then you have “Khao Pe Ek Sén“, when translated means “Wet Rice Noodles”. Akin to Japanese Udon Noodles, these are noodles made from a mixture of Rice Flour and Tapioc Starch, and can be found in the Morning Market, poached in a Chicken or Pork Stock.
These Noodles have a chewy yet giving texture and are served in a broth that has been thickened by the flour from the noodles (flour is used to keep them from sticking before being cooked).
Being miles from any street or market vendor in the Morning Market, we decided to make our own.
No, it is not a White Snake!
After an amount of pulling, Sous Chef Khamsene rolls out the noodles to a thickness of about 5cm.
These will now be cut in to noodle/pasta like threads.
Now they only need a few minutes poaching in our stock, then they are ready to be served.
For our Amuse Bouche we used a lightly seasoned double cooked Chicken Stock, and shredded the chicken meat and added a tiny amount of Garlic Oil.
Khamsene is now getting ready for his holidays, a very welcome and deserved two months back home with his family.
One of our new additions to the menu is “Ping Gai”, which we serve with our Laotian Style Tomato Chutney, and Sticky Rice (how much more LAO can you get!)
Our diners marvel at the novelty of Sticky Rice, which they use to enthusiastically mop up the Tomato Chutney, much like Europeans use bread to “clean” the dish (we don´t serve bread at ASIA).
Using Chicken Thigh, we have a good ratio of fat to meat, which has been marinated in our special mix. The meat remains tender after enduring a fierce heat, and the Tomato Chutney gives it an added smokey aroma.
I guess that having “Ping Gai” on my fixed menu means a turn in direction of my “train of thought”. It is an old dish, much loved by the young and old Lao. For me it evokes memories of food served at family gatherings, especially for those living abroad, who seem to cook “street foods” at these events, and perhaps “miss home”.
The Laocook Team has always missed those who have passed through our doors, whether the person in question is a Cook or a member of the Service Team.
We have always been a “family”, and like most families, there are members that “fly away from the nest”.
So, it was great to see Megumi again. After leaving us in April 2006, she and her husband and now Head Chef Kenji have traveled the world and are now preparing for a life in Bangkok.
Megumi paid a special visit to the Laocook Team before she sets off for the far east again.
Once again, the entire Laocook Team wish her and Kenji the best.