This is a delicious salad served all over Laos but particularly in Luang Prabang province. The watercress in LP is crisp and fiery with small round leaves, a special variety unique to the area, and dressing is made with an egg yolk base that has its origins in the French occupation. When I was served this dish it always decorated with sliced hard-boiled egg whites without the centres, no idea why but that’s how it was.
The dressing is cooked in a wok for a few seconds and then poured over the salad so you have to serve it immediately or it will wilt alarmingly.
1 crisp lettuce, such as mini cos
1 large bunch of watercress, the wilder the better
1 handful of mint leaves, stalked removed
1 small handful of coriander leaves
I small handful of dill, chopped roughly
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
4 small fragrant tomatoes, cut into eighths
6 rounds of cucumber cut in half
3 hardboiled eggs, whites only, sliced, (two yolks used in dressing, use the other for something else)
I small handful of chopped roasted peanuts
3 cloves of garlic finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp of fish sauce
A little sugar 1/2 teaspoon
The juice of two limes
2 hardboiled eggs, yolk only
1. Hard boil the eggs in advance, allow them to cool, remove the shells and cut them in half. Remove the yellow centres and then cut the egg whites into slices. Set aside.
2. Assemble the salad ingredients on a plate to your own design. I usually assemble it in layers so you have to dig in to find the surprise herbs and sprinkle the mint leaves after the dressing as my home grown mint variety turns brown when the hot sauce touches them.
3. Take a small bowl and mix the lime juice, fish sauce and the pinch of sugar (not too much please) and set aside.
5. Pour over dressing over the salad and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.