It always happens, you spent so much time getting your HalLaoween costume ready for the big party, you’re just about out of time to bring over a dish for the hosts? What to do, what to do? Thanks to almost a year of trial and error experiments with our families and friends (Thanks for being the test subjects!) we can present the 5-Layer Phi Dip, which isn’t “fancy” but it’s saep lai and easy to fix on the run, if you’ve got the right stuff on hand.
- 1 tub of cooked beef laab (most guests hate raw laab in this dish)
- 1 can of refried beans or a can of chili with beans
- 1 white onion diced
- 1 tomato diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1-2 Lao chili peppers, diced
- 1 dash of ghost pepper powder, if you dare.
- 1 can mango habanero salsa or whatever good brand you can find.
- 1 package of shredded cheese (unless lactose intolerance is an issue.)
Put the refried beans or chili on top of the cooked beef laab. Warm it for approximately 3-4 minutes. Combine the onion, tomato, and green pepper, and any other peppers you’re using. Put on top of the refried beans. Add the salsa. Put on the layer of shredded cheese, warm until slightly melted. Decorate with some Sriracha, if desired. If you dare, you can add a layer of sour cream with some diced chives, but this dish assumes you’re in a rush. Cover it, and head out to your party! Ha!
But, if you’ve got the time, you should definitely try your hand at the Lao American Spirit Salsa, for that extra kick.
Lao American Spirit Salsa
Named because it incorporates both the ghost pepper and the Fantome du Laos tomatoes, which are said to glow on the vine at night when spirits are present. Because many folks don’t like just the ghost pepper taste, many like to add in Lao chili peppers for flavor.
- 2 mangos, peeled and chopped
- 2 small peaches, halved and diced into 1/2-inches
- 2 Fantome du Laos tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Beefmaster tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 Ghost Pepper (Naga Bhut Jolokia) thinly diced.
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce or salt
- 2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste
- 3/4 cup coconut water
Place the mango, peach, tomatoes, ghost peppers, onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, pineapple, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Stir in the garlic, lime juice, fish sauce or salt, sugar, and coconut water. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. And watch out for ghosts, obviously. Enjoy!
~Bryan Thao Worra,
Little Laos on the Prairie