ikigai, not icky guy |||

My late father was lucky enough to remarry my stepmother, Monique. Aside from being one of the kindest people I’ve ever known, she has also led a fascinating life, living for a time as a child in a big house on the shores of the Mekong where her father was the commissioner of the French protectorate of Laos. Her peers and playmates were the Laotian royal princesses, some of whom I think I’ve met. This recipe comes our way from one of them. My father was very fond of Laotian and Thai cuisine, and many times I also enjoyed this sauce at meals with them, so he shared the recipe with me.

I finally made this recipe for the first time last week and I’m very happy with the results. Now I could stand to locate some Laotian sticky rice and all that goes along with that.

From his typewritten label:

Carefully Home Made
Guaranteed Xtramylde
From a secret #recipe
Given to Monique
by a member of the
Royal Laotian Family
Main ingrdts " bird " chillies
garlic, nuoc mam
often copied, never equalled


  • Ingredients
    • a handful of garlic (about 300 g.) Grilled on the grill. Important: must be well cooked so as not to become acidic
    • dried bird” chili pepper (300 g.)
    • galangal root passed through a mill (half of a small packet - can be kept for six months and frozen - can also be used in caramel pork). Also called kha in stores.
    • one or two sugars (preservative)
    • according to taste, a teaspoon of salt
    • glutamate
    • possibly dried shrimps (detrimental to long storage)
    • and last, nuoc mam, according to taste


  • Composants :
    • une poignée d’ail ( environ 300 g. ) grillée au gril . Important : doit être bien cuit pour ne pas devenir acide
    • piment « oiseau » séché ( 300 g.
    • racine de galanga passée à la moulinette ( la moitié d’un petit paquet — peut se garder six mois et se congeler — s’utilise également dans le porc au caramel ) . Aussi appelé kha ou rien dans les magasins .
    • un ou deux sucres ( conservateur )
    • selon goût, une cuillerée à café de sel
    • du glutamate
    • éventuellement crevettes séchées ( nuit à une longue conservation )
    • en dernier du nuoc mam, selon gout
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