Laos (Part 3)

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Minced chicken in lettuce wraps. Served with sticky rice, a staple in Laotian meals.

Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 1/2 cups sticky rice (sushi rice works well)
  • 1/4 cup uncooked medium grain white rice
  • 1kg boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 small red chile, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste (see previous post on this blog)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 10-12 lettuce leaves (one head of butter lettuce works well as the lettuce is flavorful and sturdy enough to make wraps)


  1. Cook sticky rice according to package instructions. We used sushi rice cooked in a rice cooker.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the uncooked white rice onto a baking sheet. Bake the rice in the oven until golden (15 minutes). Once cooled, grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Set aside.
  3. Process the chicken thigh meat in a food processor until finely minced. Set aside.
  4. Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chili, and green onions. Cook, stirring, until the garlic softens (3 minutes).
  5. Add the minced chicken and cook, stirring to break up lumps, until the meat is no longer pink (5 minutes) .
  6. Add fish sauce, shrimp paste, and sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the excess liquid has evaporated (5 minutes).
  7. Stir in the ground rice, mint, and lime juice.
  8. Serve on lettuce leaves with sticky rice.


Family Ratings

  • Mama: 5/5, my favorite dish out of all the countries so far!
  • Papa: 4.5/5
  • Girlie: 4.5/5
  • TW: 4.5/5
  • McM: 4.5/5, very interesting and exotic flavor, lettuce wraps make a great light meal!

Original recipe:

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Larb (bottom) served with sticky rice (right), papaya salad (top), and shrimp paste on crackers (left). See other posts on this blog for recipes.

Laos (Part 2)

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Papaya Salad

A traditional Laotian side dish.

Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8


  • 3 medium ripe papayas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small red chilis, deseeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons shrimp paste (see previous post on this blog)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved


  1. Peel papayas. Cut in half. Scoop out seeds and discard. Shred papaya and set aside.
  2. Mash garlic and chilis together using a meat tenderizer or mortar and pestle.
  3. Drain the excess juice from shredded papaya. Then add the mashed garlic and chilis, shrimp paste, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and cherry tomatoes. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Serve.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4/5
  • Papa: 4/5, would have liked more tomatoes and more chilis!
  • Girlie: 5/5, this is delicious!
  • TW: 4/5
  • McM: 3/5, very sweet initially with a spicy aftertaste, a little too spicy for my preference but a tasty side dish with an exotic flavour!

Original recipe:

Laos (Part 1)

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Shrimp Paste

A common ingredient in many Laotian recipes. Can be served on crackers or in sandwiches for a tasty snack.

Total time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 cup


  • 100g canned cooked shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt


  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Blend into a smooth paste.
  2. Serve on crackers or in sandwiches.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4/5
  • Papa: 4/5
  • McM: 4/5

Original recipe:

Sri Lanka (Part 3)

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Pol Sambol

Traditional Sri Lankan coconut side dish. Coconuts are a staple ingredient in most Sri Lankan meals.

Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8


  • 150g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 150g sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 medium tomato, de-seeded, finely chopped, juice reserved
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 150g cooked small shrimp, finely chopped (substituted for maldive fish)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • salt to taste


  1. In a medium bowl, combine coconut, tomato, onion, and chill powder. Mix thoroughly until ingredients have an even pink color.
  2. Add reserved tomato juice, lime juice, shrimp, and salt to taste. Mix until the symbol is moist and pale reddish in color. Serve.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4/5
  • Papa: 3.5/5, can’t wait to try this as batter for barbecued tiger prawns!
  • Girlie: 3/5
  • TW: 4.5/5
  • McM: 4/5, very interesting texture and combination of flavors! Mixing half sweetened and half unsweetened coconut is a nice blend.

Original recipes: and

Sri Lanka (Part 2)

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Gotukola Sambol

Traditional Sri Lankan salad with a strong but refreshing flavour.

Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6-8


  • 2 bunches Italian flat-leaf parsley (substituted for Sri Lankan gotukola)
  • 3 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 50g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 50g sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice, to taste


  1. Rinse parsley. Chop coarsely.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine parsley, onion, tomato, coconut, and lime juice. Use tongs to mix the salad until ingredients evenly distributed. Serve.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4.5/5, would be great as a summer salad!
  • Papa: 4/5
  • Girlie: 2/5
  • TW: 4/5
  • McM: 3/5

Original recipe:

Sri Lanka (Part 1)

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Scrambled Tofu

Vegetarian Sri Lankan meal.

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8


  • 1kg firm tofu, crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 250g fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Steam the spinach until wilted. Squeeze out excess water. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté (2 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook (2 more minutes). Add tomatoes and cook (1 more minute). Add steamed spinach and cook (2 more minutes).
  3. Add turmeric, chill powder, soy sauce. Stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add crumbled tofu. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until heated (10 minutes).
  5. Serve with additional soy sauce and hot sauce as desired.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 3.5/5, excellent with soy sauce!
  • Papa: 4/5, initially a bit bland but very tasty with soy sauce and hot sauce to add spice and flavour
  • Girlie: 3/5
  • TW: 5/5, really delicious with soy sauce added
  • McM: 4/5, could use more spice but great with soy sauce!

Original recipe:

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Scrambled tofu (left) served with pol sambol (bottom) and gotukola sambol (right) for a traditional Sri Lanka meal (see other recipe posts on this blog). We felt that this meal had some of the most interesting and exotic flavor combinations of any country so far!


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Homemade sushi is fun for the whole family with lots of opportunity to customize rolls based on individual preferences for fillings. Leftover rolls are delicious the next day!

Total time: 1 hour
1 cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced


  • 3 cups sushi rice
  • 10 nori (seaweed) sheets
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved, stoned, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 170g smoked salmon
  • 2 can tuna
  • 100g crab meat (artificial or canned)
  • 4 tablespoons spicy mayonnaise
  • 1 lettuce leaf, thinly cut
  • soy sauce (to serve)
  • pickled ginger (to serve)
  • wasabi (to serve)


  • bamboo rolling mat
  • chopsticks


  1. Cook the sushi rice according to package instructions. We used a rice cooker which worked well. More tips for cooking sushi rice are available below with the original recipe link.
  2. Shred the crabmeat and stir in mayonnaise to create a thick paste (pepper, wasabi, or sriracha sauce can be added to make a spicier version).
  3. Mix the canned tuna with mayonnaise to create a thick paste (pepper, wasabi, or sriracha can be added as above).
  4. Assemble the sushi rolls. Place a nori seaweed sheet on top of the bamboo mat. Wet your hands and scoop a small amount of cooked sushi rice (approximately 1/4 cup). Gently spread the rice evenly across the nori, leaving a small 1 inch gap without rice on the end you are rolling towards. Add the fillings (below). Folding the bamboo mat on the side closest to you, roll slowly and gently with even pressure to wrap as tightly as possible. Place the rolls in the refrigerator after rolling until they become firm (10 minutes). Use a wet sharp knife to cut rolls into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Some of our favourite flavour combinations included: creamy crab with avocado, smoked salmon with lettuce and avocado, creamy tuna with cucumber, spicy tuna with avocado. Feel free to create whichever combinations you like!
  6. Serve cold with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 5/5, a delicious meal that was a lot of fun to prepare!

Original recipe:
Sushi rice tips: