Category Archives: main dishes

Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup

We really enjoyed this creamy soup. I didn’t have any red bell peppers, but it was fine to leave it out. I also used beef broth instead of chicken broth. I served this soup with brown rice.

You can find the recipe at:
http://www.crumblycookie.net/2011/01/27/curry-coconut-chickpea-soup/

Huevos Rancheros

When I lived in New Mexico, this was one of my favorite things to order. They made it with a sauce of green chilies on top instead of a tomato salsa, but it’s pretty much the same otherwise. This is a really fast meal if you use pre-made salsa and tortillas, but it’s a special meal for us because we make both of those from scratch. I think the next time I make huevos rancheros I’ll double the salsa recipe so that I have leftover salsa to use on other things. Continue reading

Ramen Noodles in Beef Broth

This is my first beef related recipe since we had a cow butchered! You can read more about that experience here.

Don’t skip past this post just because you think people who care about good food and health don’t eat ramen. They do! Before moving to Laos, I thought ramen noodles were sort of a lazy junk food for college students. Actually that’s not true, my mom used to serve them without the liquid as a side dish and I always loved them.

Anyway, ramen can be more than junk food. The best ramen I’ve ever eaten was from a ramen restaurant in a Japanese neighborhood of Bangkok. The noodles were handmade and served in a beef broth with leafy greens and tempura shrimp. It isn’t fancy Japanese food, but it’s real food and a good ramen shop should be appreciated.

In Laos, noodles are very popular, but the noodle shops usually specialize in straight rice noodles rather than wavy ramen noodles made of wheat. But, you can buy dry ramen packets at almost any convenience store and people do. Many Lao people usually eat ramen in a healthier way than Americans do. They cook it the same way, but at the end they pile on green vegetables – cilantro, green onions, celery leaves, Thai basil . . . They might also include tomato and a cooked egg or some meat.   Continue reading

Chana Masala – Indian Garbanzo Beans

Now this dish isn’t the most local because the beans come from India, but I really like it anyway. We can’t get garbanzos in town, but if you want them, you can find them at the Indian grocery store in Vientiane. You can also get the spices for this recipe there. I got this Chana Masala recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Continue reading

Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

It’s been chilly with a cold drizzle lately. The rainy season has mostly ended and we’re starting to get into the cool season. Somehow it feels a lot like American fall even though we don’t have leaves turning red and falling. We do have crisp cool air, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and warm drinks. What a good time for bean soup! It’s a great soup to serve with cornbread.

I invented this soup because we had some sweet potatoes from Vientiane. You can get sweet potatoes here at this time of year, but they’re not as orange and big as the kind from Vientiane. Break off a small end of a potato to make sure it’s yellow or orange inside and not purple or white. In Laos there are many kinds of potato-type vegetables! Continue reading

Linguine Carbonara and Watermelon Juice

I’m pleased to announce that this is my first guest post! My brother, Scott, is a great cook. He makes his own chicken broth, pita bread, and braided challah bread. Scott is probably a braver cook than me in some ways because I have never dealt with a whole chicken by myself. We had originally thought Scott might post his challah recipe, but it comes from a cookbook, which brings up copyright issues, so he chose to share this meal instead! I hope this will be the first of many guest posts from Scott.  Parmesan is not easily available in Laos, but you can get it in Vientiane. You could use the New Zeeland cheddar if you have to, but it won’t be as good. Usually carbonara includes ham or bacon, so add that too if you wish.

Carbonara is mac and cheese’s classy older cousin.  It’s a creamy and savory pasta dish with a pepper bite and yet will take perhaps only three or four more minutes than the blue box.  I’m not sure about the availability of parmesan in Laos, but the other 5 ingredients or substitutes should be available.

Watermelon juice compliments this dish well, it’s sweet, thirst quenching and puts out the black pepper sniffles.  I hear this drink comes from Mexico, but it could be from anywhere. Continue reading

Mongolian Dumplings

The last time we were away, our friend from Mongolia watched our house and our cat for us. When we came, we were happy to find that the cat and the house were fine, but we never expected to find food waiting for us! She made these dumplings and also something sort of like empanadas. The dumplings were frozen and I thought they were tortellini, but our friend explained that they were Russian. They tasted more Chinese than Russian to me, but whatever – they’re really good. The filling is a combination of beef and green vegetables. I can’t tell exactly which vegetables, but it tastes like celery leaves, dill, or green onions. We ate these dumplings dipped in soy sauce with ground red pepper. Maybe I could get her to teach me how to make these . . .