Luang Prabang stew and purple sticky rice with coconut sauce

The third and final instalment of the story of our cooking class run by Tamarind restaurant in Luang Prabang, Laos. You can read the first instalment here and the second here!

The last savoury dish we attempted was Orlam (Luang Prabang stew). According to Joy, the chef at Tamarind, this used to be a simple, fairly spartan stew, however over the years it has become popular to add vegetables and herbs. This recipe uses substitutes since many of the ingredients can’t be found in western countries. Our version used chicken but you could use pork or any meat (even dried meat or fish).


150g barbecued chicken
2 teaspoons salt
3 large round eggplants, tops cut into a grid but kept whole
20 small round pea eggplants
black peppercorns to taste
2 chilies
4 black cloud ear mushrooms
5 yard long beans, cut into 2-3cm lengths
2 lemongrass stalks
ping pong sized ball cooked sticky rice
1/2 cup basil
1 tablespoon dill
8 spring onions
2 dashes fish sauce


In a large pot, bring 900ml water to the boil, add the salt.

Add the small and large eggplants, peppercorns, mushrooms, beans and lemongrass. When this is boiling, add the chicken.

Over an open flame, briefly burn the ball of sticky rice until it is hard. Add this to the stew.

Cook until the eggplant is soft. Remove from heat.

Remove eggplants, chili, sticky rice and lemongrass from the pot and pound in using a mortar and pestle until it becomes a soft paste. Add the paste to the stew.

Boil for a few more minutes, then add fish sauce to taste. Enjoy!

Finally we moved onto dessert: Kaho Gam (purple sticky rice with coconut sauce).

Ingredients (for 300g rice)

375 ml coconut cream or milk
100g sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt


Rinse the rice until is clears.

Cover with 5cm water and soak for four hours (or overnight). Drain the rice and steam it for 30-40 minutes.

While the rice is steaming, heat the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan.

(NB: we actually made our own coconut milk by squeezing soaked coconut shreds as per the photo below.)

Remove the hot rice from the steamer.

Pour most of the sauce over the rice, reserving a few spoonfuls for serving. Let this sit for about 15 minutes so it absorbs the flavours.

Spoon the rest of the sauce over the rice to serve. Serve with sliced fruit and sprinkle with coconut.


All recipes courtesy of Tamarind Restaurant.

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