Laotian Cuisine with Chef Phet of Khe-Yo

Posted on April 17, 2014 08:48 pm

<< Previous Page Next Page >>

This guest blog post comes to us from food blogger Layla Khoury-Hanold of Glass of Rosé. For serious foodporn, follow her food adventures on Twitter @glassofrose and Instagram @theglassofrose.

Chef_Phet_Steamed_Sticky_Rice.jpgThe best compliment Chef Soulayphet Schwader, better known as Chef Phet, ever received was from his mother. You might say she’s biased, but after an 18-day eating trip throughout Laos and Thailand, she told him that she likes what he cooks better.

Lucky for the rest of us, we can get a taste of Chef Phet’s skills at his restaurant Khe-Yo, New York City’s first Laotian restaurant which he opened with Marc Forgione. So what distinguishes Laotian cuisine? For Chef Phet, it’s sticky rice. And while there’s no wrong way to eat it, Chef Phet believes there’s just something about eating it with your hands that makes it taste better.

We had ample chances to test that theory as he steamed beautiful baskets of the “sweet rice” (also known as Thai glutinous rice) to serve family style with each course, starting with Khe-yo’s answer to bread service: sticky rice, smoked eggplant and bang bang sauce, a very spicy and vibrant dipping sauce.

The meal certainly started off with a bang but was a mere prelude to Chef Phet’s excellent interpretation of the Laotian cuisine he grew up eating in Kansas. Here’s how the rest of the meal went down:

 

Smashed Papaya Salad, Purple Cabbage & Chicharones

Chef Phet can’t live without his mortar and pestle, and that’s no exaggeration. He and his team make 60-70% of Khe-Yo’s dishes in it, including the smoked eggplant, bang bang sauce and this smashed papaya salad. Though papaya is a fruit, they treat it as a vegetable in this pounded salad laced with garlic, chilies, sugar, shrimp paste, lime juice, fish sauce and The Funk. The Funk is a fermented fish sauce that every Laotian household makes (even in Kansas!) and whose family recipe is jealously guarded. This dish exemplifies Chef Phet’s mastery of balancing sweet, sour and salty flavors.

As for the impossibly light chicharones (pork rinds) served as garnish, Chef Pet trims the excess fat, boils them for three to four hours, dries them in the oven at 200 for a couple more hours, then quickly fries them at 350. I think they could sell them by the bagful!

Chef_Phet_Mortar_and_Pestle.jpg

Crunchy Coconut Rice, Kaffir Lime Sausage

Speaking of marketing opportunities, these crunchy coconut rice balls could be the next big thing in food trucks. They already have a cult following at the restaurant, where the chefs fry up 50-60 orders every night. In addition to red curry and fish sauce, the key to these flavor bombs are freshly grated coconut, which Chef Phet insists upon, “I could buy frozen but I prefer fresh. It’s like making your own pasta if you own an Italian restaurant.” The staff grates two quarts daily; Chef Phet demonstrated how he gets the super fine, powdery soft snow consistency by using a rabbit, a traditional stool-scraper hybrid that Laotian women sit on while they grate. Traditionally, the rice balls are topped with uncured sausage, but at the restaurant they’re served with cooked kaffir lime sausage and garnished with honey sambal.

Chef_Phet_Coconut_Grating.jpg

Steak Tartare, Bone Marrow & Sunchoke Chips

Another flavor bomb from Khe-Yo’s menu is this steak tartare featuring modern flourishes like bone marrow and sunchoke chips. Chopped skirt steak gets an explosion of textures from jalapenos, red onion and Thai chilies, requisite saltiness from fish sauce, plus an herbaceous burst of cilantro, mint and Kaffir lime leaf. The split and roasted bone marrow makes for an impressive presentation, at once refined and Flinstonian, while toasted aromatic rice lends it a certain je ne sais quoi. Chef Phet cautions that it’s important to make this dish super fresh so that the meat doesn’t oxidize – in fact, they keep the steak on ice at the restaurant.

Steak_Tartare_w_Bone_Marrow_and_Sunchoke_Chips.jpg

Lemongrass Spare Ribs, Smashed Long Bean Salad

As someone who grew up in Kansas, Chef Phet loves his barbecue; this dish is the stuff that summer BBQ dreams are made of. These Berkshire St. Louis ribs are marinated overnight in a mixture of lemongrass, oyster sauce, garlic powder, sugar, pepper and fish sauce, given a nice char on the grill, then roasted in the oven for an hour with any leftover marinade. The result is an exceptionally flavorful, caramelized exterior and succulent, slightly chewy meat. A smashed long bean salad – made in the mortar and pestle like the papaya salad – is a refreshing, crunchy counterpoint that once again showcases Chef Phet’s deft ability to balance of sweet, sour and salty.

Chef_Phet_Grilling_Lemongrass_Spare_Ribs.jpg

Coconut Rice Pudding, Caramelized Bananas

“We don’t have a pastry chef at Khe-Yo. We can’t afford one!” laughs Chef Phet. One bite of this heavenly coconut rice pudding for dessert I say, who needs one?! Chef Phet cooks and constantly stirs Arborio (risotto-style) rice, Tahiitan vanilla bean and coconut milk over low heat until the rice is soft and becomes this insanely creamy texture. It’s topped with caramelized bananas, candied cashews and drizzled with caramel. And it was a glorious finish to a most special meal.

Coconut_Rice_Pudding.jpg




<< Previous Page Showing Page 1 of 1 Pages Next Page >>


This entry was posted in Uncategorized, De Gustibus News



There Are No Responses To Laotian Cuisine with Chef Phet of Khe-Yo


Anonymous says:

May 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

September 24, 2014 at 08:24 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

December 21, 2014 at 11:01 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

January 9, 2015 at 04:11 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

January 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

September 6, 2015 at 05:48 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

December 2, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

January 24, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 2, 2016 at 10:59 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

October 17, 2016 at 03:13 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

February 4, 2017 at 12:26 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

May 5, 2017 at 02:41 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 01:27 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 01:42 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 01:43 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 01:58 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 02:03 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 02:10 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 02:18 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 10, 2017 at 02:24 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 13, 2017 at 03:18 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

June 22, 2017 at 07:58 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

September 29, 2017 at 03:39 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

October 2, 2017 at 12:06 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Anonymous says:

February 12, 2018 at 10:11 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.




Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name*
Email*
Website
Comments:*
Security Code:*