I’ve once again drawn on influences from my newly acquired Northern Lao cookbook with this dish, part of the genre of Lao/Thai dips called jaew ແຈ່ວ/แจ่ว. I’ve previously blogged on one such favorite, jaewbong. Today’s iteration is made from roasted ingredients, much like a roasted salsa. The results were super.
The key ingredient of this dish is the meaty oyster mushroom. These can be found at East and Southeast Asian-focused markets across the city, from H-Mart to local Cambodian markets. Unlike mainstream supermarket mushrooms, these have a meaty flavor, and tend to grow to one side producing a fan shape. Here is an image from Flickr’s creative commons to give you a sense of what to look for. These mushrooms are widely used in Lao/Thai cooking, in soups, salads, and stir fry dishes.
The process of this dish is exceedingly simple. Simply roast oyster mushrooms, together with some (Asian) shallots and garlic cloves still in their skins, and some bird’s eye chiles. I used my oven’s broiler. Know your broiler, and keep an eye out for burning. Turn and flip items as they toast. When mushrooms are golden and peppers, shallots, and garlic a little charred, take off heat. Tear the mushrooms coarsely, skin the chiles, garlic and shallots, and pound together in a mortar and pestle with a little coarse salt. Season with fish sauce, cilantro, green onion, and a little lime juice.