Armstrong Adventures travel blog

Dragonfruit at the market

Market chicken reach for the sky

A butcher counts her piles of cash. Not the rubberbanded stacks of...

Voila! A splash of fish sauce, a dash of oyster sauce and...

Lunchtime with chili chicken and fried spring rolls

Delectible chicken satay

Culinary Adventurers,

While in Luang Prabang, Dana and I took a 1/2 day cooking class at a local restaurant featuring traditional recipes of Laos. The class of six included us along with 4 Brits on a quick spin through China, Cambodia and Laos. The morning event started with a trip to the market for supplies, followed by prep and cooking, and then a taste bud celebration lunch as we ate our concoctions.

We first went to the local food market where the locals shop which was outside of Luang Prabang enough that only the more adventuresome tourists would make it there. Our market guide explained what the various mystery veggies, meats and spices were which was really helpful. For example, I hadn't previously seen coagulated cow blood so I didn't know exactly what it was but definitely knew it wasn't Jell-O. I also was at a bit of a loss for all the baggies of animal fluids that were for sale. They were all the usual suspects of fluids (bile, etc.). Somehow every explanation offered by our guide ended with "...and it's delicious in soup!" which caused me to skip the soup for the rest of my stay in Laos.

After we got back from the market, we chopped and diced for awhile and then headed back to the kitchen. It turns out the restaurant cooks had prepped the majority of our items for us to keep the class moving along. We each picked a recipe for a total of 6 recipes and the kitchen brought out 6 neatly arranged plates of all the prepped items needed for each of the recipes. Our class made: fried spring rolls, lemongrass chicken, fried tofu curry with veggies (Snow's pick), chicken satay, fried chicken with red chili paste and coconut milk, and ginger fish (Dana's pick).

We then mixed and fried to our heart's content and sat down to a delicious meal.

Here's a few of the class' recipes for you to try in the comfort of your own home! You may need to find a local Asian grocery or market to buy a few of the ingredients but we assure you it's all doable and you'll like the new and exciting flavors you encounter.

By all means, if you make one, please let us know how it turns out.

Here are two of our favorite dishes from the class.

Fried Spring Rolls


300g minced chicken/pork

2 handfuls glass noodles for 3 hours in water

1 handful chopped white onion

8 egg yolks - we used 3 eggs for 6 people

1 handful finely chopped potato

1 Tsp salt

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp powder chicken stock


Knead ingredients together with hands in large bowl. Add salt, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and chicken stock powder while kneading.

Pat down firmly into dish

When ready to fry, wrap filler ingredients in rice paper.

Roll 1-2 tbsp portions in moistened rice paper. (Buy rice paper in circle, then cut circle into 3 pizza slice shaped wedges before adding filler ingredients)

To Wrap ingredients in rice paper wrapper: Start with pizza shaped wedge of rice paper. Place filler ingredients in center of curved edge of wedge. Fold in outer corners of curved side of wedge, then roll towards 3rd corner of wedge.

Heat 1L of oil in wok (medium heat)

Deep fry, turning until golden brown

Remove and drain

Spring Roll Sauce

Dissolve 300g sugar and 3 Tbsp honey in 1/2L of heated water

Leave to cool, then add:

10 small red chilies and 10 cloves of garlic, crushed in mortar + pestle

4 Tbspn fish sauce

5 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tsp salt

3 Tbsp finely chopped carrot

1 Tbsp crushed roasted peanuts to each bowl of sauce served.

Serving Suggestion

Serve large leaves of lettuce, rice noodles, watercress, tomato, cucumber and mint with the spring rolls so that guests may wrap their spring rolls in a lettuce leaf mixed with these other items.


Lemongrass Chicken


3 tbsp oil

2 handfuls chicken

8 stalks lemongrass

1 handful onion

10 slices galangals

5 shallots (crush once)

6 lime leaves

2 cups coconut milk

green peppers (cut in half)

3 Tbsp fish sauce

4 Tbsp lime juice (to taste)

1 Tsp sugar - to caramelize!

powdered chicken stock

basil leaves


In wok, in oil on high heat, add lemongrass, galangals, kaffir lime leaves.

Add onions and sugar, fry until golden brown.

Add 1 cup of coconut milk at medium heat. Add a little chili.

Add chicken

Add fish sauce (a little), oyster sauce (a lot), add powdered chicken stock, add water to keep moist.

High heat, add green peppers.

Before Serving

Let sit until ready to serve, then over medium heat, add:

Lime juice

2nd cup of coconut milk

3 pinches of white pepper

fresh lemongrass chopped thinly

3 tops of basil leaves

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |