Tag Archives: greens

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

Seendat – Lao Barbecue

I’m having a hard time translating “seendat”. It’s inspired by Korean barbecue, so I’ll call it Lao barbecue, but using “barbecue” in this way sort of bothers me. My family is from Texas and Kansas, and to people in that region, barbecue is a very specific way of cooking beef. This dish is not at all what Texans mean when they say “barbeque”.

Maybe I should call this “Lao Grilling”, but Lao people have lots of grilled foods, and this is only one of them. Plus, seendat is not just grilled, it also includes a soup. Continue reading

Baked Eggs with Greens


My friend Emily at Paper Turtle wrote a very flexible recipe called “Baked Eggs for Breakfast”. It’s an easy way to make greens likable. I did the “industrious” version, left out the nutmeg, and used bok choy (or something like it) for the greens. There are so many kinds of dark leafy greens here I can’t keep them all straight! Oh, I also whisked the eggs because even though I like slightly soft yolks, some people don’t . . .

Amaranth Leaves

At lunch today James came home with an armful of amaranth stems. They came from the research garden at the office. I’ve heard a lot about amaranth, but have never actually eaten it. It’s a favorite plant amongst agricultural development experts. Here’s a post James wrote about it:

James’ post on amaranth

CRWRC (and other organizations) have been promoting amaranth in Africa because of it’s nutritional content and versatility. You can eat the grains or leaves of the plant, but most of the time, grain amaranth is what development people are talking about. However, Hmong people (the most common minority in our province) have been growing amaranth for a long time and eating the leaves in stir-fries and soups. So tonight we will eat amaranth leaves too! We’re having black beans and rice for dinner, so I’m going to stir the chopped amaranth leaves into our beans.

New Organic Market in Phonsavan

There is now an organic market in town! It’s on Wednesday and Saturday mornings (early mornings)  in front of the district offices on the main road. So, if you’re at the restaurants downtown, go west until you see the district offices on your left and you should see it there. It has been open for about 2 weeks now, but so far I haven’t seen it because James has gone a couple times on his early morning bike rides. I’m planning to go tomorrow morning and maybe I can get some pictures.

So far James has found:

  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • many kinds of leafy greens
  • dill
  • thai basil
  • summer squash

I’m excited about this because it’s hard to figure out what is really organic at the other markets. It will also be a great way to eat seasonally and locally since there isn’t any produce there imported from outside the province. Don’t forget to bring your own bag –  they have a policy against sellers giving out plastic bags.

Khua Phak – stir-fried greens


James made dinner this evening while I took notes and played sous chef. Stir fried greens are a very common meal in Laos, although “khua” (the stir-frying technique) actually came from China years ago.

2 C rice

1 T oil

2″ fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic

1 carrot – thinly sliced

1/2 C chopped tomatoes

1 T each – soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil

1/2 C broth

bunch of phak kat som (bok choy, spinach or other dark leafy greens would probably work) – wash, remove thick stems, and chop.

1/2 t cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Start the rice.

2. Smash ginger and garlic to a paste with a mortar and pestle. This is the easiest way, but you could chop and use a garlic press too.


3. Saute ginger and garlic in the oil

4. Add carrots, tomatoes, broth, and sauces. Cook until carrots are tender.

5. Add greens and simmer until greens wilt.


6. Stir in cayenne if you’re using it.

7. Serve over rice.

serves 4