Lao streetfood: Khao nom kok

Outside the Mak Kai market, we found this seller making khao nom kok, which loosely translates as "coconut sweets". It is like a mini coconut pancake but it has a more gelatinous and less flat appearance. Khao nom kok is also popular in Thailand, and here is a Lao recipe on making them at home.

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This is Chantha and she has been making khao nom kok here for about five years. We've arrived before lunchtime and she's only just started the fire in the clay pot beneath the metal tray. She dabs a smear of oil in each cup and then pours in a dollop of ready made batter of flour and coconut cream. She then closes each cup with a tiny lid.

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We're keen to buy but "they'll take as long as they take," she tells us. "It depends on the fire." There is really no hurry with Lao streetfood, so we say that we'll take however many are ready on our return, and wander off to buy some fruit.

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Five minutes later, we returned. It was 1,000 kip (about 20 cents) for two. We bought as many as there were ready and Chantha scooped them onto a banana leave and then, before I could stop her, dumped a large spoonful of white sugar on top. The sugar seemed somewhat incongruous with the green bits you can see in the photo above: chopped spring onions.

No matter, they were hot, spongy and tasty nonetheless, if a tad sweet.