The Dominion Post



her younger sisters in their Wainuiomat­a home while her parents worked.

As they’ve matured and had children over the years, they’ve shared their favourite Laotian recipes. Seven years ago, Phonevilay shifted to Melbourne to work in banking, and for all those years the friends kept in touch, cooking together and sharing recipes through Skype or facetime.

They also began a combined food blog, – the dilemma was that they were ‘‘nobodies’’, as Phonevilay puts it. ‘‘Dal suggested that if My Kitchen Rules came to New Zealand we should apply to use it as a platform to launch our products.’’

Looking back to the show which finished filming in September and airing in October, Philavong says that while they didn’t get as far as they might have hoped, it was an opportunit­y to showcase Laotian flavours in a new way. They’re making Laotian food accessible for second-generation Laotians and New Zealanders – keeping the flavours authentic but cutting out more labour-intensive cooking techniques which can take three days.

Her chatty friend juggles her daughter, Philavong’s goddaughte­r, as she talks about spending her first three years of life in a refugee camp in Thailand, before arriving in New Zealand in 1984 at the age of 3. ‘‘We had a roof over our heads, running water, and food on the table. Our parents gave us so much to be able to give us a new life here.’’

Philavong, who came to Wellington as a 1-year-old refugee, also works in her partner’s plastering business, while raising their two daughters, Pearl, 15, and Ava, 3, and son Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes Ready time: 40 minutes This is Dai and Dal’s signature dish from the TV show My Kitchen Rules: Laos Pork Larb with Glutinous Rice. They were the only team on the show to score two 10/10s from the judges, with this stunning dish. GRILLED PORK LARB 250g pork fillet 2 tablespoon­s oil Pinch of salt and pepper to season pork 2cm galangal, peeled chopped 2 cloves garlic 1 lemongrass stalks chopped 1 red chilli 1 shallot 2 coriander roots 2 tablespoon­s fish sauce 1 lemon juiced 1 Tbsp brown sugar 1 kaffir lime leaf cup mint leaves cup coriander cup bean sprouts 1 tablespoon ground glutinous rice Combine galangal, garlic, lemongrass, chillies, shallots and coriander roots in a food processor, Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the pork for 3 minutes on each side until brown. Put in preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) for 10-15 minutes. We want the pork to be a little pink. Save any meat juices from the pan for later. Take out and rest for 5 minutes then slice thinly.

Fry off the larb paste and add in the fish sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar. Add the paste to the pork. Thinly slice the kaffir lime leaf and add to the mixture, then add the mint, coriander and bean sprouts and finish off with the ground glutinous rice. STICKY RICE 3 cups glutinous rice In a bowl wash the rice and rinse this out twice. You can use a sieve for this if you want. Soak rice for at least 1 hour in water. When rice has soaked for at least an hour. Put the rice into a bamboo rice steamer and place over a pot of boiling water. Cover with a lid.

After 20 minutes take the lid off and check the top layer of rice, it should be sticky and clear. Flip the rice over bottom to top and cook further 5 minutes with lid on.

Turn off heat, lift rice steamer and turn rice onto a clean surface with a little water for splashing. (Water is to help rice not stick so much to the surface).

Gently bring together with your hands and carefully put into rice baskets.

This will keep warm until ready to eat.

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