Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Khao Sung Ga Ya : Purple Rice Custard Dessert

Sometimes I get a craving for sweets and one of my favorite desserts is khao sung ga ya. I always referred to it as 'the purple rice dessert'. It's so delicious. It's baked black glutinous rice with a custard on top. I've been hesitant to buy any from the Asian grocery stores since they don't don't like they are prepared the same way my mom makes hers. (And mom's cooking is the BEST). This is my interpretation of my mom's khao sung ga ya. This was my first time cooking this and I think I may adjust the recipe slightly.

Khao Sung Ga Ya:
For the rice part -
1 cup uncooked black glutinous rice
1 cup uncooked sweet white rice
1/2 can to 1 can of coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 t salt
For the custard topping -
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 large pkg Jello brand custard
5 whole eggs
5 egg yolks

The first thing to do is to take the uncooked black rice and place in a pot covered with water and let it boil for 5 minutes then remove from the heat to cool. Once cooled, add the uncooked white rice and stir. Add more water to cover the rice and let the rice soak over night. The next day you will steam the rice mixture just like you would regular glutinous rice. Once the rice is cooked, I remove it to a baking dish (9x13) to cool. In a sauce pan, I heated the coconut milk, sugar, and salt then poured it over the cooked rice. I was worried that my rice would turn out too firm once I baked the dish, that is the reason for the coconut milk. I think in my mom's version, the rice is much sweeter and firmer.

The next step is to prepare the custard topping. In a large pot over medium/low heat, I wisked together the coconut milk, sugar, and custard mix. Then I added the eggs and yolks. You will have to wisk this mixture over medium heat for 20-25 minutes until is reached the desired consistency (until the custard is thick).

Once the custard is ready, it is poured over the rice. The baking dish goes into a water bath and placed in the oven at 350 degrees until the custard browns.

You should let it cool for awhile after taking it out of the oven. I couldn't wait so I cut a piece. It's so good when it's still warm. I just love coconut milk, rice, and custard! In my mom's version, she adds carmelized/fried shallots on top of the custard. I've never liked that so I didn't add it to my recipe.

I decided to blog about this for a few reasons. Being Laotian, I'm always looking on the internet for Lao recipes. I had a hard time finding a recipe for this dessert. Manivan Larprom has a recipe on her blog ( ). I love sharing recipes that I grew up eating. This dessert brings back so many fond childhood memories. I always watched my mom cooking it, but I never helped her with it. I'm amazed that mine turned out so good. I covered the leftovers and put it in the fridge. The next day, I heated up individual servings in the microwave for about 40 seconds and it tasted as good as yesterday.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sabaidee Bpee Mai!!

Lao New Year 2551
At Market Creek Plaza
310 Euclid Avenue, San Diego, CA
April 5th 10:00am-5:00pm
April 6th 10:00am-5:00pm

I missed the opening ceremony this year. There was a speech from the Chairman and the American and Lao National Anthems were played followed by a parade, the Baci ceremony, and the releasing of doves. Here is a picture of young Lao children performing a song.
It was somewhat disorganized but very cute.
This young boy reminded me of my brother so much.

This was the end of their performance. Afterwards there was live music, a talent show, and then the Miss Lao New Year Pageant.
Here are the Miss Lao New Year San Diego 2008 finalists. What a wide range of beauties.

I think there were 9-10 food vending tents. They seem to be serving all the same things. I didn't get to try all of them. I meant to try the kanom krok but completely forgot to. I have been craving them. I might have to go back tomorrow. Everything was made fresh in front of you like the grilled meat skewers, grilled sausages, papaya salad, and eggrolls. And there were different kinds of drinks such as Thia Iced Tea and different desserts such as fried taro/bananas/yams. I was surprised that there wasn't som moo or purple rice desserts at any of the vendors.
There were many vendors selling prepared fried pork rinds (or was it ears?), jaew bong, beef jerky, and I think toasted rice powder.
I've never seen this before. I think it looks like deep fried anchovies?
I tried all kinds of foods at the festival but this is what I took home with me to snack on. I had a great time and met many nice people. There is a very nice Lao community in San Diego.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beef Lettuce Wraps

My parents always had a garden at every house we lived in. They enjoyed growing their own produce and maintaining it. I remember our gardens consisted of tomatoes, cucumber, all kinds of hot peppers, long green beans, eggplants, mustard greens, mint, cilantro, thai basil, basil, dill, vietnamese coriander, mixed lettuce, and many other vegetables. We even grew different kinds of melons and squash. One of the dishes I remember eating is this one. I don't know the proper Lao name for it, but it's a 'beef lettuce wrap' similiar to Thai chicken lettuce wraps, however in my family we put it all inside a spring roll wrapper and dip it in a sauce made of peanut butter, hoisen sauce, and coconut milk.I tried to copy my mom's recipe, but this is my version of it. Her cooking always tastes so much better.
For the dipping sauce:
1 minced shallot
vegetable oil
coconut milk
crunchy peanut butter
hoisen sauce
chili garlic sauce

I heated up some vegetable oil to sautee the shallot. I added some chili garlic sauce, the hoisen sauce, and peanut butter. The amounts vary according to taste. Then I added 1/4 of the coconut milk and mixed while still on the burner. I added enough water for the desired consistency.
I took 1.5lbs of thinly sliced beef and marinated it with sugar, soy sauce, and ground tumeric. I sliced 1/2 a white onion and 3 garlic cloves.
I sauteed the onions and garlic in vegetable oil and added the meat.
Here is the spring roll wrapper. You just dip it into water and let it sit on a flat surface until it's pliable. Then that's when you start building the spring roll. I usually add some rice vermicelli, lettuce, green onion, mint leaves, cilantro, cucumber, and shredded carrots. And I roll it like an eggroll.

I'm not very good at making them. My family members usually overstuff the rolls with lettuce and the vermicelli. I love this dish. It's versatile, you can use any kind of protien. Shrimp is always a good choice. And you can use any kind of dipping sauce. My mom has served it with nuoc mam and mam nem dipping sauces (I think those are the Vietnamese names).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lao New Year 2008 - San Diego

I'm excited about this event. I love meeting new people and getting to know the Lao community in San Diego.

Laotian Chicken Stew

I was raised to never waste any food. Recently, I made chicken laap and had leftover uncooked chicken breast(with bone). I decided to try to make Laotian chicken stew. I think it's called "or" (sounds like 'aw'). My parents would make this with whatever was leftover in the fridge. Usually it was leftover beef, zucchini, eggplant, bok choy, or any kind of leafy green vegetable. I feel that this is my 'Americanized' version. I don't know the proper recipe or method of cooking.

I don't have exact measurements for this recipe. For this dish, I used:
2 large skinless chicken breast w/bone chopped up
lemon grass(minced)
2 sereno peppers
sprigs of dill
2 green onions

I put the garlic, shallot(I actually used red onion here since I was out of shallots), lemon grass, and peppers into a morter and ground them up with a pestle.

I then added it to a pot with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil. Then I added the chicken, salt, and sugar.

After the chicken has browned, I add enough water to cover it. Put a lid on the pot and I let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Then I add a mixture of cornstarch and water to the pot to thicken it.

Then I add the green onions, dill, and (here I used some leftover greens). Covered the pot with a lid and let it simmer.

And this is what it looks like finished. This is when I taste it and add any additional seasoning, like fish sauce.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Can Eat 50 of These!

I remember, as a little girl, I used to watch my mom make eggrolls for parties and special occasions. I would sit at the kitchen table, watch her rolling them and talking to my dad about Laos. Those were good times, great memories, I'll cherish them forever. As I got older, my mom would let me help her. First, I was allowed to roll them, eventually I prepared the filling, and fried them myself.

The recipe hasn't changed much since I first started making them.
1 pkg. Ground Pork
2 Shredded Carrots (I cheated and used packaged shredded carrots)
1 bundle of Bean Thread noodle
Cloud Ear Mushrooms
Sliced Green Onions
1 Egg Yolk
Oyster Sauce
1 Package of Eggroll Wrappers
Egg White from 1 Egg
Makes about 25 eggrolls

To make the filling, combine the first 8 ingredients.

This is how I 'roll' them. Then I seal them with the egg white.

I had leftover wrapper so I defrosted some shrimp and wrapped them. Everything is deep fried in vegetable oil until golden then removed and drained. I serve it with a bottled sweet chili sauce.

I absolutely enjoy rolling eggrolls and can roll 150 of them at a time. I love eating them even more. Everytime I cook them, I am reminded of my childhood and my parents.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My First Attempt At Khao Tom

One of my favorite sweet snacks my mom used to make as I was growing up is khao tom. It is steamed sweet rice with bananas wrapped in banana leaves. There are many versions of it (some have red beans mixed in with the rice, some have mung bean fillings, and there are savory versions). I've watched my mom make them plenty of times but I have never attempted to make them on my own until now. This recipe is my interpretation of khao tom.

2 1/2 C sweet rice that's been soaked over night
1 can of coconut milk
3 unripe bananas
1/4 C white sugar
pinch of salt
1 package of banana leaves
cooking twine or aluminum foil
Makes 12 bundles

To a large pot, I added the coconut milk,sugar, and salt on medium-low heat. Once it started to thicken up a little bit I added my presoaked, uncooked sweet rice. I stirred it until it got thick and almost looked like porridge. I took the pot off the burner and let the mixture cool down.

Once the rice mixture was cool enough to handle, I started to assemble the khao tom. I sliced the bananas lengthwise into quarters. I placed the cleaned banana leaf down, added a layer of the rice mixture topped with a banana slice, then another layer of the rice mixture.

Then the entire thing is folded up. I somehow forgot to take a picture of this step.

I used aluminum foil, because I didn't have any twine. Both are used to secure the bundles, preventing the banana leaf to become undone while cooking. I steamed all 12 for about 35-40 minutes.

And this is how it turned out. Not bad for my first attempt. It was delicious. I love the flavors of rice with coconut milk, sugar, and banana leaf.