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Lao Tomato Salsa – Jeaw Mak Len

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Level: Easy

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Description

A Laotian dipping sauce that has a garlic spice to it that goes perfect with rice, grilled meats, and fresh garden vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Large Roma Tomatoes, Halved
  • 15 cloves Garlic, Reduce In Half If You Do Not Want As Much
  • 5 whole Thai Chili Peppers (reduce If You Want Less Heat)
  • 1 whole White Onion, Halved
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 pinch Salt To Taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • ½ cups Fresh Cilantro, Stems And All

Preparation

You have a couple of options here. You can figure out how to do all of this on a grill, over charcoal, or you can get a nice hot cast iron skillet in the oven, super hot, and roast the vegetables. Me? I do it in the oven, on high.

Begin by preparing all ingredients. Preheat oven to 475ºF with a large cast iron skillet inside.

To a mixing bowl, add everything but the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Give a good toss to make sure everything is lubricated with the oil.

Once the oven is heated, remove the cast iron skillet, obviously with a kitchen mitt, and toss in the mixture from the bowl. The sound will be like sizzling fajitas. Love it.

Return the skillet back to the oven and let this cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until things are slightly charred. Once charred, remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Now you have another couple of options: food processor, or mortar and pestle. I go with the food processor as it is less labor intensive, and heck, I can train myself to be a pulse master. Not sure if that is a good thing or what, but whatever. Toss in the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Pulse (or pound) the vegetable mixture until you have a nice, chunky consistency.

Pour into a bowl and you are ready to roll.

This is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy, so who could go wrong with that, right? This is perfect with sticky rice, but let me tell you, it goes perfect with regular rice or even tortilla chips. Don’t even start me on things like fresh cucumbers or other raw vegetables. Let’s leave it at that, and you let me know what you decide.

Note: Use caution with the garlic and chili peppers. That’s how I roll but you decide on how garlicky and spicy you like it. Hope you enjoy!

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