I can’t believe it’s already more then a month ago since we came back from Laos and Cambodia… I still haven’t even edited most of the photos. Guess I’ve been a little swamped with other things since coming back! One thing I do want to share with you today is a beautiful new book by the fabulous chef Luke Nguyen. I only know mr. Nguyen through his performances in Masterchef Australia. (when will the new season start anyway?? I’m having withdrawal symptoms!) and I remember being impressed by his dishes and his easy and laidback manners. So when I learned there was a book out by the name of Greater Mekong and by his hand, I just knew I wanted it.
First of all the book covers the region we had just been too and a few more countries we have visited in the past. Luke travels the region from China, through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and to end in Vietnam. When I received the book I opened it on a random page and had to laugh when I saw the recipe I opened…. You see, when we were visiting Laos, we ended up at a local market (don’t we always?) and there were large buckets full of some weird looking little eggs. We asked our guide what they were and he explained those were ant-eggs…
In Luke’s book he has a brilliant little recipe for red ants egg salad and I would have loved to share that with you, but as you might have guessed I did not take ants-eggs with me back to Holland… If only I had known… But then again, the eggs might have popped open on the way, revealing those nasty red ants inside! Also… I am not afraid to try out a weird thing now and then, but ants eggs? Maybe not…
So… no red ant salad and a couple of the lovely recipes I saw needed ingredients that I knew I wouldn’t be able to find in my local supermarket or Asian store. So I opted for one with more common ingredients called Ms Daen’s Vietnamese/Lao Ginger Chicken. I did have a bag of sticky rice that I was dying to use too, so this was my change to try both the recipe and the sticky rice.(glutinous rice)
The sticky rice is actually surprisingly easy to make and quite tasty. It works beautifully together with the spicy chicken dish and is delicious. I couldn’t find Thai basil so I used sweet basil but will definitely be making this again with the right kind of basil, as I’m pretty sure that would make it even better!
Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong is published by Hardie Grant, £25 hardback
- 2 tbsp glutinous rice, soaked in water for 2 hours
- 2 tbsp of Chicken stock
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 cm fresh ginger, peeled and julliened
- 300 gr chicken breast, finely sliced
- 1 handful Thai Basil leaves
- 1 handful lemon basil leaves
- 2 red chilies, sliced
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- pinch of caster sugar
- coriander sprigs, to garnish
- Sticky rice, to serve
- Strain the rice and place in a mortar. Pound with a pestle for 4 minutes or until crushed. Stir in the chicken stock and set aside.
- Add the vegetable oil to a hot wok. Add the garlic and ginger, then saute over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add the chicken and stirfry for 2 minutes over high heat. Now add all the basil and chili.
- Strain the stockmixture from the mortar, discarding the rice. Add to the chicken mixture and stir until combined. Now add the oyster sauce, sugar and a pinch of sea salt and stir fry for a further minute.
- Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with coriander and serve with sticky rice.