Laos – Or Lam Gai

by Fauzan Anandika

Buddhism become the oldest religion in Southeast Asia and influence most of the ancient kingdom. The Buddha teachings are shown in the temple, tradition, and ceremony in Southeast Asia countries. Laos, where their people follow the Buddha teaching, has many Buddhist festivals. One of the festivals is Wat Simeuang. A seven days event is held in the full moon on the Buddhism calendar around November or October.

The Wat Simeuang festival starts with lighting the colorful candles in the afternoon. While the pilgrims gather and walk around the Wat Simeuang dish three times. The Laos people believed Wat Simeuang as the pillar of Vientiane and has become the most visited temple by the tourist. Most people still believe in ghosts and spirits that exist around us. The Laos people believed the current temple of Wat Simeuang was protected by the holy spirit, a pregnant woman spirit named Nang Si. The Laos people make a festival to worship for her every year. So she could protect the Vientiane city from any calamity.

During the festival, Laos people served a special soup named Or Lam Gai. A complete soup with spicy taste, full of nutritions, and delicious. Or lam Gai spice blend in harmonically with a rich texture in every bite. Using beef and sweet vegetable mix with a bitter taste from the green veggies add with fresh lemon basil will become your perfect lunch. For the spice, Or Lam Gai used lemongrass, chili, pepperwood (sakhaan) boiled slowly with the meat of your choice. There are three types of meat used for Or Lam Gai. Fresh, salted, or grilled. The local people usually make Or Lam Gai with various kinds of meat like a bird, dear, beef, or chicken. Each meat will create a delicious taste of its own.

In this recipe, we will cook using chicken for four portions.


  • 500 gram of chicken breast
  • 2 liters of water
  • 5 tablespoons of salt
  • 50 gram of dried cow skin, sliced
  • 18 cm of Piper Ribesioides
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, crushed
  • 8 bird eyes chili
  • 8 apple eggplant
  • 100 gram of black ear mushroom
  • 1 piece of banana pepper
  • 1 cup of snake beans
  • 1 tablespoon of sticky rice flour, mix with water
  • 100 gram of Ivy gourd leaves
  • 100 gram of lemon basil
  • 20 gram of fresh dill

How to cook

  1. Boil salt with water.
  2. Add cow skin, boil for 20 minutes with a big fire.
  3. Remove and replace the water several times to remove the smell.
  4. Cook the skin until becoming a jelly texture.
  5. Strain and drain.
  6. Cut and peeled piper ribesioides into 4 cm shape.
  7. Boil two litter of water in a big pot.
  8. Add lemongrass and bird’s eye chili.
  9. Add piper ribesioides.
  10. Seasoned with pepper.
  11. Add fish sauce.
  12. Boil until piper ribesioides tender.
  13. Add sliced cow skin.
  14. After the broth boil, add 6 apple eggplant. Cook until eggplant tender.
  15. Remove the apple eggplant and grind with mortar and pestle.
  16. Add chicken to the broth, cook for ten minutes.
  17. Add black ear mushroom.
  18. Add sliced banana pepper.
  19. Add sliced snake beans
  20. Add two apple eggplant, cut into four parts.
  21. Cook all the vegetables for ten minutes.
  22. Add sticky rice mixture. Cook until the broth thickened.
  23. Add Ivy gourd leaves.
  24. Add ground eggplant.
  25. Boil until well cooked for 10 minutes.
  26. Add sliced lemon basil.
  27. Garnish with dill.
  28. Or Lam Gai is ready to be served.
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