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Lao Recipes: Akatonbo’s Laab Kai, I finally made it!

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Lao Recipes: Akatonbo’s Laab Kai, I finally made it!

veebee | Apr 3, 2006 11:15 AM

It was fantastic, but I did a few things differently.

First of all, I don’t have the rice steamer or the Lao rice baskets and I didn’t really want to buy them due to cupboard space issues and money issues and time issues while shopping today, so I improvised. I was a little nervous since I’d invited people over for this untested meal and didn’t know if it would work, but it did—somewhat surprisingly, since I’ve never cooked sticky rice.

I used my regular metal two-decker steamer, but I put in cheesecloth so that the rice wouldn’t fall through the holes. To serve the rice I simply put it in a dishtowel lined casserole with a lid. I figured that would keep it moist but not soggy. The rice got a little dry toward the end of the meal, but it worked out quite well actually.

I also used boneless skinless chicken thighs because I prefer dark meat to white. I rendered the fat still clinging to the thighs rather than the skin as it calls for in the recipe. There was plenty of fat to cook everything and I didn’t need more oil.

Funny, I just read the correction posted a couple of days after the recipe that I hadn’t seen before. I also used more fish sauce before I even read it. It just seemed to need more.

A note on timing: It took longer to char the scallions and serranos in the foil packets than I imagined (about 20-25 minutes) The rice steaming: I wanted to time it, but forgot. I think it took about 20 minutes.

Anyway, it all came together beautifully and we really enjoyed the meal. As an accompaniment, I made some mustard greens combined with another green that I bought from the Hmong farmers at the Noe Valley Market. They were labeled Hmong greens (and had little yellow flowers attached). I braised both types together with ginger and garlic and a little sesame oil and fish sauce.

One question about the vegetable platter: I used whole lettuce leaves along with scallions, mint and cilantro. We didn’t know if we were supposed to wrap up the chicken, rice, sauce and herbs inside the lettuce leaves or what. I know you are supposed to pick up the rice and use it to eat the chicken and sauce, but then does one wrap or merely eat the raw greens with? We weren’t sure, so we just wrapped, being familiar with Vietnamese food.

Anyway, all was so delicious and I went ahead and bought the non-perishable ingredients so that I can make the Lao Chicken Noodle Soup next weekend.

Thanks so much for posting these recipes Akatonbo. I know it’s a lot of work and you waited so patiently for people to report back. This is very valuable knowledge on this site and I know others appreciate it as much as I do. They are just busy. So please post more when you have time! I’ve seen that you posted 3. Did I miss any?

Cut me some slack on the photo. I’m just learning digital.

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