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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Lao Recipes

Larb Kai (Lao Chicken Salad)
Recipe by Viengmone Sophavandy

  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp galanga, thinly chopped or ground
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 or 1½ tbsp cooked anchovy sauce or fermented fish sauce
  • Ground chili pepper, as desired
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ½ tsp monosodium glutamate (MSG), optional
  • 2 tbsp roasted ground sweet rice
  • ½ cup of mixed herbs (such as: cilantro, spring onion, and mint)

Cut boneless chicken breast in half. In a hot pan, cook each side 2 minutes. Cut in fine pieces while the meat is still warm. Mix meat with galanga, salt, cooked anchovy sauce or fermented fish sauce, ground chili pepper, lime juice, chopped garlic, chopped shallots, and MSG (if using). Add in roasted ground rice and chopped herbs.



Khao Tom Pad ((Banana Leaf Sweet Rice)
Recipe by Viengmone Sophavandy

  • 1 cup uncooked sticky rice, soaked in water at least 2 hours, rinsed, drained
  • 1 can coconut milk (or more, to taste)
  • ½ cup sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 baby bananas, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 pack banana leaves, cut in oval shapes (two sizes: 7” x 9” and 4” x 6”), cleaned

In a large wok, heat coconut milk on high heat. Once creamy, reduce heat to medium and add salt and drained soaked rice, stirring occasionally. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until coconut milk is well absorbed. Add sugar and stir. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Rice should be half-way cooked. Pre-heat a steamer with 6 cups water. Begin wrapping by doubling two sheets of banana leaves, the larger sheet underneath the smaller one. Lay them flat on one hand. Scoop 2 tbsp of rice onto the center of the banana leaves and top with one piece of banana. Fold the long edges of the banana sheets tightly over the rice mixture. Fold the two ends of the rice log underneath, making sure the log is tightly wrapped. Place gently in the steamer tray. Repeat for rest of wraps. Steam for 35 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes. Serve by unwrapping and cutting into bite-sized pieces, or eat directly from wrapper.