Bamboo Soup ( Gaeng Naw Mai)
• 1 large handful fresh yanang leaves (or use tinned yanang juice)
• 2 C cold water
• 500 g (1 lb) small long, fresh bamboo shoots (or tinned or shrink-packed, precooked ones)
• 4 red chillies water to simmer bamboo shoots
• 1 t salt (or more to taste)
• 2 t stock powder (optional)
• 2–3 T pounded, unsoaked, raw sticky rice (or use a coffee grinder to convert the rice into flour)
• ½ C padek with a piece of fish included (or substitute ¼ cup fish sauce and either fermented shrimp paste [kapi] or crab paste)
A mixture of washed, green vegetables and herbs to fill a 30 cm (12 in) bowl, comprising:
• 2–4 chilli leaves (optional)
• 2 small or one large bunch sawtooth herb; ½ cup, chopped
• 2 handfuls squash (or pumpkin) flowers, new leaves and tendrils
• 2–3 small squash (mak buab or courgettes), cut to 5 cm (2 in)
• 1 C yard-long beans, cut to 5 cm (2 in)
• 2 sprigs basil (pak i tou Lao)
Serves two to six depending on the number of dishes served.
1. In a mortar or on a chopping board, bruise the yanang leaves with a pestle or the back of a cleaver. Place leaves in a bowl along with 2 cups cold water. Rub the leaves together to release the aromatic juices. Alternatively, place the leaves and the water in a blender or food processor and work until the mixture foams. Strain the juice; discard the leaf remnants.
2. If using pre-cooked bamboo shoots, cut into 5 cm (2 in) pieces and rinse.
3. For fresh bamboo shoots only: cut shoots into 5 cm (2 in) pieces and smash lightly with a pestle or back of a knife. Cover with water, and then boil for 15 minutes. When ready, drain and set aside. Discard the bitter water.
4. Thread the chillies on a toothpick. Roast over a grill or flame until softened, crinkled and slightly charred. Put the salt, stock powder, if using, and roasted chillies in a mortar and pound for 1 minute.
5. Place these ingredients in a large pot along with the bamboo shoots, yanang juice and enough fresh water (about 4 cups) to cover by 2.5 cm (1 in). Bring to the boil. Stir in the pounded rice flour. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
6. Add padek, or its substitute, into the simmering soup, stir and then add the vegetables and herbs. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust with stock and/or salt if necessary. The flavour of the soup should be bitter and herby, with a spicy, mild chilli and sawtooth herbal note.
Information by Food from Northern Laos (The Boat Landing Cookbook)
stream pork before adding bamboo (optional)
add more herbs like, Climbing wattle or Limnophila geoffrayi