My dad’s a great cook! And he still is. Thank god. And so is mum. I’m so lucky to still have both of them around. They’re old now and time is creeping up fast. I think of them more often and I don’t take them for granted. I try to see them as often as I can. And I talk to them on the phone every Sunday. (I call Sunday ‘Mumday’.) It’s usually a brief conversation. But it’s good to touch base and know how they are. Time and age makes us more thoughtful and retrospective. And more responsible and wiser. I realise how hard my parents worked for me. And how lucky I am to be alive. My life is a gift from them. And life is the best gift ever. I understand that it’s not easy to be parents. And I want to make them proud by enjoying/loving the life that they’ve given me.
Back at home, growing up, dad could cook anything. And it was always so delicious. From amazing/sizzling stir fries to comforting/nourishing soups and stews. He often surprised us with new dishes and flavours. All from the Lao culinary circle. And with a distinctive Lao accent. He’s a skilled fisherman and fresh line-caught river fish from the Murray was a big part of our diet. Like it would have been in Laos. He was also good with the Lao coal fire BBQs. A fun/merry event often reserved for the weekend. Where relatives and close friends were invited. And that lasted into the night. Filled with much eating and storytelling. Dad also makes great dried meat snacks. Lao beef/venison jerky are his specialty. Delicious/moreish when fried or grilled over the barbie. I love my dad. And I look forward to learning and sharing some of his recipes. And of course, mum’s recipes too.
One day when I was young, dad asked me to cook for him an omelet. (A Lao style omelet.) It was the first time/dish that I cooked for my dad. And I think it might have been a test. I wasn’t certain what to do. So I asked and he and mum guided me along the way. Whisked eggs, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Chopped herbs, tomato, chili and garlic. I think they were the main ingredients. Fried on a hot frying pan with some oil until the underside is golden brown. And then carefully flipped over to make sure the top side is cooked too. I think it turned out alright. I served it to dad steaming hot and he enjoyed it with sticky rice. With a smile on his face if I remember correctly. Possibly a gold star.
Now, when I cook this omelet at home, both my partner and I enjoy it together. It’s perfect for breakfast or as a light meal anytime of day. Or as a delicious complement to other dishes. It’s evolved slightly too. I now like to add some milk to lighten/fluff it up a little. (A good trick to know if you’ve accidentally added too much fish sauce or salt to the egg mix.) And we often enjoy it with steamed rice instead of sticky rice because it’s more convenient for us to cook. It’s also great with toast. This Lao omelet/kua kai recipe is tried and tested. It’s easy and fast. And nutritious and comforting. I’m confident you’ll love it. And I hope you’ll give it a try. Sern sap der. Thanks dad for teaching me this recipe. And for being my father. You’re a champion and my hero. I love you dad. And I love you mum. 1
- 6 chicken eggs
- 1 Tbsp of fish sauce
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 spring onion
- 3 chilies
- 1 tomato
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup of milk (optional)
- 2 Tbsp of cooking oil
- Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk.
- Add the fish sauce, salt and pepper, milk (optional) to the whisked eggs and whisk some more. Put aside.
- Wash the spring onion, chilies and tomato. Cut the spring onion into about 5 cm lengths. Cut the thicker pieces in half lengthways if necessary. Cut the chilies in half lengthways. Cut the tomato in half lengthways and then thinly slice. Put aside.
- Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Or simply smash them with the side of a knife/cleaver.
- Put a frying pan on medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and fry until brown. Add the whisked eggs and move the pan around so that the egg mixture covers the pan.
- Evenly place the spring onion, chilies and tomato on top of the egg mixture. Fry until the edges crisp up and the egg is slightly cooked through.
- Check with an egg flipper to see if the underside is golden brown by lifting up the edge. When the underside is ready, carefully flip the omelet over to seal the top side. Don’t overcook it. When it is done, transfer to a plate and serve with rice. Enjoy your meal.
- This recipe is my version of a ‘Lao omelet’. Based on a recipe that my dad taught me. There’s a good chance that similar recipes exist in other countries. For example, Thailand. As is the case with some recipes that cross the border. An important ingredient in this recipe is the fish sauce (nam pa). It’s vital in Lao cuisine (and other south east Asian cuisines). It can be found in all Lao kitchens. If you enjoy cooking Lao food, it’s a good idea to have it in the cupboard. It provides a delicious/distinctive salty/umami element/flavour. It’s a good salt substitute. In fact, this recipe probably doesn’t need salt but I add it out of habit. You know, ‘a pinch of salt and pepper’. They just go together. There are many brands of fish sauce out there. Squid brand is a good one that I use. And get the large bottle. You’ll finish it in no time. And remember to use it sparingly too. Most supermarkets stock it. And the Asian grocery store should stock the large bottles. While you’re there, grab a bottle of soy/seasoning sauce too. It’s perfect to make dipping sauce with and to lightly splash on sunny side up fried eggs for breakfast. Delicious! Herbs is another important component of this omelet. Lao recipes use a lot of herbs. I’ve used spring onion in this recipe. But you can also use coriander or dill, as illustrated here. This recipe is adaptable and you can add other extra/favourite ingredients. Sliced mushrooms, water morning glory (Ipomoea aquatica), baby spinach or bean sprouts all work well. And so does gourmet ant eggs. A Lao delicacy. Yum! You can omit the garlic if you prefer. Eggs are good for you. It’s packed with nutrients and a good source of protein, vitamin D and more. Everything in moderation. Learn more about the health benefits of eggs here. ↩