Articles & Reviews

Cookbook Review - Food From Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook

Author: Dorothy Culloty (Photography: Kees Sprengers)
Cuisine: Lao

1/28/2011
Reviewed By: Chris Hornbeck

Food From Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook is a culinary journey into one of the forgotten places of Asia; an ethnically diverse province in Northern Laos called Luang Namtha, a community of subsistence-farming and simple rural lifestyle. Bordered by both Burma and China, Luang Namtha province is home to over 29 ethnic groups, only a small minority of Lao descent, the blending of which provides a unique local variation on the themes of the cuisine of Northern Laos and Luang Prabang.

The Boat Landing is an eco-lodge and restaurant located on the Nam Tha river in Luang Namthat. The authors spent 7 years working with employees of the lodge, local villagers, and friends to develop an inside look at an interesting and extraordinary food culture. Well-researched sections include an extensive exposition on rare ingredients, of which there are many in Lao cooking, in-depth discussion of Lao cooking techniques (with great photos), and a thorough history of the region and its peoples. Learn about interesting ingredients such as mai sakahn, a forest wood with a peppery flavor, and exotic dishes such as aw lahm (or lam) and tofu lahp. The book also contains great chapters on jeows (Lao dipping sauces essential at every meal), soups, salads, and more; all, of course, served with the ubiquitous staple food of the region, sticky rice.

We love Lao cuisine and highly recommend this cookbook for anyone interested in learning more about this wonderful culuture and its food. The photographs are amazing, truly capturing the essence of the people, their daily lives, and especially their wide and varied diets. We must mention that not all of the recipes in this book are vegetarian. The people of Laos are mostly subsistence farmers who, by nature, are almost exclusively omnivorous, though vegetarianism is not unheard of due to the region's Buddhist roots. The large majority of the recipes from this book can be easily translated to vegetarian version through the use of tofu, vegetables, or other meat substitutes.

You can pick up a copy of the cookbook at Amazon.com and visit the authors' website at www.foodfromnorthernlaos.com.

Check out this recipe for Akha Beans from the cookbook!

New Recipes From Sri Lanka, India, Eastern Europe, and More

We've just received a wonderful batch of new vegetarian recipes from one of our readers, Miep. These recipes come from interesting and exotic locales across Africa, Asia, and Europe, including Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Ukraine, and more. We especially like the Sri Lankan sambolas, which can be simply served with fresh roti or chappati for a great snack.

Thanks again to Miep for the great recipes! We always love to post your favorite vegetarian recipes, so send us your favorite recipes today!

Morel Season in the Mountains!

It's springtime in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and that means all kinds of wild, wonderful produce including fresh peas and beans, wild ramps, spring onions, asparagus, and the most prized Spring treat of all, morel mushrooms. After a long trek through the hills, we came back with one tiny, wonderful grey morel; a great find, but not quite enough for a feast. Lucky for me, a week or so later, Alan Muskat, who leads wonderful wild food tours in Western North Carolina (check his site out for lots of great info on mushroom and wild foods foraging), emailed to announce that the season was finally upon us and that he had a pound of freshly picked morels to fix my jones!

The "3-way" amuse bouche is the first of five courses I ended up making using the morels; serving them this way allows you to really enjoy the mushroom's woody aromas and intoxicating flavors without a lot of interference. The ragout celebrates fresh fava beans and spring onions, other local springtime delicacies, and the crunchy, nicely browned pizza is terrific with the woody morels.

If you can't find morels in your area, you can order them online, the best price we've found is $35/pound from Midwest Morels.

Recipe: Morels 3 Ways: Soy Sauce Pickle, Caraway Cream, En Papillote
Recipe: Morel, Fava Bean, and Spring Onion Ragout
Recipe: Morel & Fontina Pizza


New Ethiopian Vegetarian Recipes

We've just posted a great new collection of delicious Ethiopian recipes, again from our friend Miep. These very authentic vegetarian recipes incorporate many staples of the Ethiopian diet, which is quite vegetarian-friendly, including peas, lentils, beans, spicy stews, and the ubiquitous injera flatbread.

Recipe: Azife (Lentil Salad)
Recipe: Injera (Ethiopian Flatbread)
Recipe: K'Wot (Hot Red Lentil Stew)
Recipe: Afer Kik Alecha We't (Mildly Spiced Split Pea Stew)
Recipe: But'echa' (Chick Pea Stew)
Recipe: Yedubba Qwant'a Wot (Dry Pumpkin Stew)


Fast Food Porn: "Peanut Butter & Jelly" French Fries

Depending on the observer, this peculiar, yet eerily comforting, combination may be a match made in heaven, or an unholy alliance of snack food, but one thing is clear; this improbable marriage of two of America's favorite childhood comfort foods definitely wins an award for creativity. In this "stoned college kid" meets "hipster gourmet" mashup, "peanut butter and jelly" are represented by a savory Indonesian peanut satay sauce and a spicy raspberry-chipotle compote, both served drizzled over crispy, hand-cut french fries. Thanks to our friends at Etourandtravel for passing along this recipe!

Read the full article with recipes

10menus: The World's Best Restaurant Menus

Visit our new site - 10menus.com - to view a gallery of some of the world's best restaurant menus. We like to flip through these menus for culinary inspiration, we hope you'll enjoy!

We've included a vegetarian section, but you can obviously check out all the restaurants for ideas and flavor combinations that you can apply to vegetarian cooking.

New Orleans Vegetarian Cuisine

We recently traveled to the Big Easy on a New Orleans vacation package and discovered some of the city's most famous dishes, vegetarian-style!

Check out our vegetarian recipes for Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo, Maque Choux, and Muffuletta Sandwiches to get a true taste of New Orleans!