Tapas

As they say, “The Honeymoon is over”…and its back to work…

Actually the Honeymoon was over some time ago, I have been occupied by the World Cup :biggrin: as well as a new menu.

Here in the summer, it gets really hot, and I mean REALLY hot, and a lot of our guests ask for lighter dishes and smaller portions.

Before the wedding I had started to plan for our new Summer Menu that would feature Tapas, small dishes that could be ordered instead of a full blown (heavy) dinner. The menu is proving to be a success, we are serving between 130 to 180 Tapas every evening.

The menu changes every two or three days, depending on what is available at the markets. It also gives us the chance to serve some traditional dishes alongside our modern ones.

To Tapear (pronounced Tah-pé-ah) informally means in Spanish ” to have some tapas” and our menu is called Tapa-Ya (pronounced the same Tapear), which is my funny way of saying “lets have tapas, already”. :biggrin:

With so many changing dishes on the menu, the “mis en place” has changed dramatically. This is a good thing as it keeps all my cooks “on their toes” and frees us from the sometimes mundane preparations that are made daily for a regular “a la carte” menu.

A lot of the inspiration for our tapas comes from Spanish dishes that I see everyday, as well as the food that we prepare for ourselves at home.

“Albondigas” are Spanish for Meatballs. Our Albondigas are made from pork.

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The meatballs are shaped by pushing them up through the hands, which is quicker than rolling them.

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This is the traditional way that meatballs are shaped “back home”. Next time you have a bowl of Pho with meatballs in Vientiane, look for a place that has the irregular shaped ones,  that proves they are “homemade” and taste so much better..

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These Albondigas will be served in a spicy curry sauce made with red spices.

“Gambas al Ajillo” is a typical Spanish dish of prawns cooked in olive oil with garlic and chilli. My version has the addition of ginger and spring onion as well as homemade roasted chilli oil. This makes the dish more spicy and aromatic.

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Spice up your life…why not?!

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Moving away from Spanish influenced dishes the next one is made from chicken.

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One night whilst having a stroll on the banks of the Mekong, I saw stalls selling BBQed Chicken Hearts, such a simple snack, grilled while you wait. The smell was wonderful, and the taste was equally so, especially with a jug of Beerlao at hand.

Back then I thought to myself that one day I could share this cheap luxury with others. I didnt know that a few years later I would be serving them in a 5 Star hotel… :biggrin:

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These chicken hearts are marinated along with the livers before being skewered then char-grilled. How wonderful simple things can be…

With some Japanese influence our next dish is Tataki.

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Briefly seared tuna is dressed with some very yummy Wasabi-Miso sauce.

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The Tataki is one of our best selling Tapas.

However, my favourite is the Lao Burger.

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I have been known to snack on 4 or 5 of these small burgers throughout the day! :biggrin: (one of the advantages of being the Chef, tasting for “quality control! :lol: ).

The Lao Burger is basically a Lao Sausage shaped in to a burger and served in a bun with Lao Tomato Chutney (Jéow Mhak Len).

This dish is fondly called a “McLao” in the kitchen………..

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8 thoughts on “Tapas

  1. Pingback: The Week That Was And Is – July 16th, 2010 « eating is the hard part

  2. I am very intrigued by the grilled chicken hearts.  What sort of marinade did you use?  I don’t ask for a recipe, but what basic flavors are involved?  Having never eaten a chicken heart I’m not sure what would complement it.  Thanks as always for the inspiration!

  3. Hi and welcome to Laocook.

    The hearts we buy are sold with the livers. For the marinade we pulse in a blender about 20g each of garlic and ginger with 10g each of coriander and lime leaves and about 50g of shallots. Then we add a mixture of mushroom soy and fish sauce along with some Maggi, sugar and salt, a little oyster sauce and a pinch of white pepper.

    I encourage you to try the hearts, they are really a treat!.

  4. Vienne, I enjoyed the chicken heart and liver myself when I visited Laos. It goes well with beer, no doubt. My wife have tried to repricate it in the U.S, but couldn’t  come close. One thing I noticed about this, eat it while it hot off the grill.

  5. the tuna looks great. but i have tried it home not really that good. i think my wasabi miso sauce is not right. tell me how to make that sauce??? thanx

  6. Hi Tseba,

    It all depends on the quality of the tuna. The sauce is a blend of light miso, sugar and grated ginger, which is warmed up to dissolve the sugar. Regular wasabi is then blended in before serving. Unfortunately I dont have the quantity at hand, but I’ll get back to you when I do.

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