Ok, I know this is probably unethical, but I won’t use any names and I’m almost sure none of my former students will ever see this.
A few months ago I gave my students the following writing exam, based on one of the lessons in our textbook:
1.) Write a letter in response to the following letter received by Annie. Give your advice.
Desperate in Love
I am a 17 year old student and I am in love with my teacher. She is a 34 year old woman from Australia. She has been my teacher for 1 year already, and I have loved her since the first day I saw her. Everytime I go to school I see her and I feel nervous. I am afraid to tell her how I feel. I don’t know if she loves me because I am not a very handsome man and I am very shy. She is single and she always smiles at me and is very kind to me. I am afraid if I tell her how I feel she will ask me to leave her class, or maybe if she loves me she might get fired from her job. Please help me and tell me what to do!
and the responses I received were beyond brillant. My favorite, written by a 13 year old boy:
I scanned these from a document I received from “Tamarind Restaurant” – where I took a Lao cooking class last August!
Koy: Minced Meat and·Herb Salad (Usually called Laap or Laab)
Served as laap in many Luang Prabang restaurants, kay is actually very different from laap Luang
Prabang style. As with most Lao dishes any meat can be used. Vegetarians might like to substitute tofu, eggplant or mushrooms. Local families have their own variations on this recipe, often made with raw meats, most commonly buffalo or fish.
1 clove garlic, chopped
150g buffalo or beef, minced, ground or finely chopped
2-3 small spring onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1/2 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped 1 cup chopped mint (see glossary)
I tsp salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon roasted sticky rice powder (see glossary)
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce” 1-2 chillies (to taste)
1 small handful fmely sliced banana flower fsee glossary)
2 snake beans (see glossary)
1/2 cup pak hom baen leaves (see glossary)
1 tablespoon of fresh galangal chopped fmely (see glossary)
• In a wok or pan, heat oil and gently saute half the garlic. Add meat, continue until lightly cooked. .
• Remove pan from heat, add remaining ingredients to combine, including remaining garlic.
• Arrange on a serving platter, garnish with greens and serve with sticky rice .
The cooking class was excellent – the best in Laos according to many people! If you are Luang Prabang, I highly reccomend it.
The other pages aren’t coming out so well with the OCR… when I have time I will post more!
Sticky Rice is an essential component of the Lao diet. It’s actually a different variety or rice and must be cooked in a different way than regular rice. Usually in a Lao home there will be a large basket full of sticky rice at any moment. The rice will be put to soak the night before, and then in the morning somebody (usually the wife.. or one of the daughters) will steam it. Lao people are convinced sticky rice tastes better if steamed over a charcoal fire. After the rice has been steamed and cooled a little, it is then put into the basket, or baskets. Most Lao people take a basket of rice like this with them for lunch when they leave the house in the morning, whether they are going to the rice paddy or to take care of the buffalo, or to the office. The rice stays fresh in the basket all day, and if there is some left over, you can re-steam it for a few minutes the following morning to freshen it up.
Lao people have a lot of sayings about sticky rice. They say it makes you stick to the ground, that’s why Lao people are short. They also say it makes you fat, and so you shouldn’t eat it at night. Sticky rice is really filling, and keeps you feeling full all day. I’m not sure where it is on the glycemic index, but I think it might be high.
Anyway, here is my recipe for sticky rice.
Firstly, you have to be sure to buy “Glutinous Rice”. This will usually be imported from Thailand if bought outside of Asia. Look for the keywords “Sticky Rice”, “Glutinous Rice”, or “Sweet Rice” on the bag. The rice grains are generally more opaque than ordinary rice and can be short or long.
Soak the rice in water at least 3 hours.
You will need a tall pot to steam the rice. In Thailand and Laos there are special narow-necked pots that are used to steam the rice, but if you can’t find one, any tall pot will do.
The essential component of making sticky rice successfully is that you have some kind of steaming basket (either wooden or metal, don’t use a plastic colander!) that is suspended OVER, not in, boiling water. Also, there should be some kind of seal around the basket, so that when the water boils, instead of escaping through a hole, most of it should be directed under and into the basket of rice. The rice/basket CANNOT be touching the water! Your rice will turn out like gooey slop.
Bring water to a boil in a pot, and steam the rice for about 15 or 20 minutes, covered. You can occasionally (2 or 3 times during the cooking process) shake the rice around to ensure even cooking. Cover it with a pot’s lid or another basket.
After 15 minutes, taste some to see if it’s fully cooked. Be careful of over cooking, the rice will become gooey.
When it’s done, put it in a basket as shown, or another almost-air tight container. It can be kept unrefrigerated for about 24 hours. Steam it for a few moments to refreshen it if you want to eat leftovers and enjoy your delicious khao niao!