Saturday, March 18, 2017

Laos, 2017: Bamboo Tree Cooking Class

I did a cooking class today [Dec. 31, 2016] at Bamboo Tree which began at 9:00, with 14 students. The first two hours involved signing in, waiting then traveling across town to the large wet market. I saw a couple of new things, notably a wood called "pepper tree root" which tastes of black pepper, and a hairy stick called ratan used in soups. It is a fair sized market.

The specific things mentioned are my first two pics:

The assembled group is watching Lao sticky rice in process. Well-washed glutinous rice is soaked for ten hours to overnight, then steamed for twenty minutes. The shape of the steaming basket comes into play as you must flip the rice over before steaming for another five minutes or so.

Rice is served in a little basket (or a big one if it's for a group) with a cover. I bought a couple of them, and you can see them on the little shelf by the microwave in the recent post about my new apartment. Anyway, I have posted probably hundreds of shots of wet markets around Asia, so I'll only add a few more.

We returned to individual chopping blocks to prep the ingredients for our dishes. We selected as a group: green papaya salad, LP beef soup, chicken in coconut milk soup, spicy chicken salad (laap), steamed chicken or fish wrapped in banana leaf, stuffed bamboo sprouts, sweet sticky rice with mango. We chopped and peeled, minced and cubed, pounded the spice mixtures with mortar and pestle, etc. One new thing I learned was to slice near the bottom of a stalk, as of bamboo or lemongrass, spread it to make a cage into which to put a ball of minced meat mixture. This was then floured, egg washed and breaded before we moved on to the frying station.

Here we are, assembled and ready to prep. But first, Linda will give some background on Lao cooking and some of the key ingredients.

The result of all our peeling and chopping and shredding:

Here I am frying the stuffed bamboo sprouts (only we used lemongrass instead of bamboo). I recently had the same dish in Hoi An, Vietnam, with pork and actual bamboo--both were terrific.

I think I look pretty good in a toque!

The final product, with the sweet sticky rice and fruit they love for dessert--the same name as in Thai: khao neow.


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