Yanang leaves are popular in Laotian and Thai cuisine. The juice is extracted by bruising the leaves than soaking them in water. Alternatively, you can purchase cans of yanang extract.
- 2 handfuls yanang leaves or canned yanang extract
- 750 ml (3 cups) cold water
- 2 cups fresh thinly sliced bamboo shoot, cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes, drained
- 250–500 ml (1–2 cups) water or pork belly stock (see Note)
- 1½ tbsp padaek (fermented fish sauce)
- 1½ tbsp fish sauce
- 1 cup diced pork belly (optional)
- 3 lemongrass stalks, chopped into 2 cm pieces
- 1 cup diced, peeled pumpkin
- ¼ cup dried fungus mushrooms, soaked in water until soft, drained
- 1 angled gourd or sponge gourd, peeled and cut into pieces
- 1 cup fresh oyster mushrooms
- 5 small hot chillies, bruised, plus extra to serve
- 2 tsp white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup Lao basil or rice paddy herb, plus extra to garnish
- 50 g (¼ cup) raw sticky rice, soaked in cold water until soft, drained and ground with enough water to make a fine paste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the yanang and water in a large bowl and scrub leaves together to extract juice. Squeeze liquid out of leaves and place all but 250 ml (1 cup) of liquid in a saucepan. Add the cooked bamboo shoot, water or pork stock, padaek and fish sauce and bring to just below the boil, without stirring (see Note). Add the pork belly, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the lemongrass, pumpkin and black fungus mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, or until pumpkin is just tender. Add the gourd, oyster mushrooms and chillies, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the reserved yanang liquid, sugar, salt, basil and sticky rice paste. Simmer gently until slightly thickened, then serve with extra chillies and herbs.
• To make pork belly stock, cover the meat in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the meat and reserve the stock.
• Keo recommends not stirring the dish too much after the padaek is added or it can impart an unpleasant taste.