Tag Archives: vegan

Peanut and Sesame Dips – healthy snacks for rural villages in Laos

clockwise from top left: jar of peanut butter, peanut dip, sesame dip (tahini)

Recently James finished co-ordinating the last in a series of 3 trainings on nutrition (each one a week long). Basically the goal was to teach Lao NGO health staff how to teach nutrition in the rural villages where they work – a training for trainers. Many poor people in Laos, especially children, do not get enough nutrients. Most people do get enough calories, but they are lacking nutrients like fat, iron, vitamin A, protein, and calcium, One way to deal with this problem is to help villages find affordable nutrient rich foods. For example, peanuts are readily available in many villages and they are a more affordable source of protein than meat.

One day there was a contest at the training to see which group could invent the healthiest snack with ingredients that are available in the villages. One group thought of fried sweet potatoes, which are good for their vitamin A, but they don’t have much else, so the teacher recommended pairing fried sweet potatoes with a nutrient rich dip. I made these dips for a snack the next day to see if they could be a healthy addition to the sweet potatoes. I thought people would like the peanut dip better because of the chili and soy sauce, but they actually really liked the tahini! Continue reading

Passion Fruit and Its Flower

James is trying to grow a different variety of passion fruit in the garden. Up here in the mountains, we have a small variety that tastes great, but doesn’t make a lot of juice. This is the larger variety of passion fruit, which grows in Vientiane.

So far, our vine has produced less than 10 fruits and some flowers that might turn into fruit. Aren’t the flowers crazy beautiful?! We hope our passion fruit vines will give us lots of passion fruit juice!

Old Newspaper Clipping – Pickled Okra Recipe

When we were visiting my parents, we went to lunch one day with them and some of their friends. One of the friends remembered that we grow okra in our garden, so she saved this clipping for us. I think she said she found it one of her mom’s cookbooks from the 50’s. I said something like, “Thank you! I’ll write it down as soon as I can so you can have the clipping back,” and she said, “No! You can keep it! I have no interest in eating okra.”

Well, sad for her that she doesn’t like okra, but I’m glad to have this little momento. I haven’t tried this recipe, but I do have another recipe for pickled okra that’s pretty good.

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it goes!

Cambodian Black Pepper Dip

Cambodia produces some of the best black peppercorns in the world – Kampot Pepper. It tastes like other black pepper, except that it’s stronger and more fragrant. A few times while we were in Cambodia, we were served a sauce made of ground black pepper, lime juice, salt, and sugar. This sauce is primarily used as a meat dip, but we like to eat it with rice and vegetables too.

Stir together:

  • 2 t freshly ground black pepper (this takes a lot of grinding, but don’t skimp on the pepper)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 2 t lime juice

Canned Tomatoes

Canning tomatoes reminds me of a small dark room in my grandparents’ basement. It had 2 walls lined with shelves that were full of canned things. I think I remember pickled okra, sweet pickles, dill pickles, tomatoes, and peppers (there was probably more too). My Grandma also had a deep freezer in that room. She grew lots of tomatoes and probably had to can them to deal with the quantity. We’ve tried twice to grow tomatoes here, but it hasn’t worked, so I canned some tomatoes from the market. In the dry season, it’s too dry and cold for tomatoes and in the rainy season, it’s too wet and buggy! This time I only canned 2 kilos, but next time I would can more to be more efficient with the water and energy used in processing the jars.

Once again, I went to the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for directions on canning. I used this recipe: Whole or Halved Tomatoes. I don’t know why the recipe specifies that the lemon juice should be bottled. Maybe it has something to do with regulating acidity. I don’t have bottled lemon juice, only juice from lemons, so I used vinegar instead to be on the safe side.

Plum Jam From Our Own Trees!

Last week our plum trees were full of ripe plums. I went out to pick them and brought in a bowl containing two and a half kilos of plums! About 30 minutes later, there was a soft knock at the door. It was some little neighbor boys asking if they could pick some plums too. So cute! They’ve been coming back almost everyday to pick more plums, but I’m pretty sure they’ve picked all of them by this point. Continue reading

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

This is my favorite way to cook tapioca. It’s a pretty basic recipe that you can find at Allrecipes.com.

I have a few modifications:

  1. Soak the tapioca in the coconut milk for a few hours before cooking. This makes the cooking go faster and gives a better texture.
  2. The egg isn’t necessary because the pudding is already thick and rich without it.
  3. I don’t add the full amount of sugar. Add 1/4 C of sugar, taste, and add more if you want to.