Spicy Green Mango

--Living and eating with a dash of whimsy and a sprinkling of spice--

  • I'm a budding food-tographer turned blogger who's insanely passionate about food..real food...the kind that sprouts from the earth and you have to wash it to eat it. Yes, hearty real food. I live to eat and I eat to live and am loving every bit of it! If you're here, then I suppose we share the same passion! Enjoy!

Posted by Spicy Green Mango 32 comments

 Many, many finger snaps and thanks to all of you who've supported me thus far in Project Food Blog. Alright, so the halfway mark is here and I'm calling on you to take me to the next challenge. I'll post a sneak peek very soon of what I've been up to.  To vote, follow this link and click on the little heart that says "Vote for This Entry" or simply click on my Project Food Blog widget on the right column of this screen. Voting begins now, October 18 until October 21, 2010 at 6pm (PST).  Thank you ever so much! 

A light early morning drizzle taps ever so lightly on my window panes and as I poke my head outside, I can almost taste the nippy air of early autumn.  It's mornings like this that bring back childhood memories of mom cooking a steaming basket of sticky rice and my little head peeking over the counter, with hands gripped tightly, waiting for a fistful of the tasty morsels, sprinkled with just a pinch of salt to give it that extra kick. Heaven in a handful is what I like to call it.

Through the years, these simple memories still adorn my world and make me smile. As I sat contemplating my entry for Challenge 5, which was to re-invent the pizza (loosely interpreted as having a base, sauce and at least one topping), I realized that I would use this opportunity to share with you my all-time favorite Lao breakfast: Grilled ginger-marinated pork belly atop a bed of Lao tomato jaew (pronounced "jay-ow," or otherwise known as my Motherland's version of a spicy roasted tomato sambal sauce) and warm sticky rice "pizzetas."  The dish is simple, but painfully nostalgic and brutally hearty with every bite.

Lao-style Pork Belly-Ginger "Pizzetas" with Smoky Tomato Jaew
Makes at least 10 pizzetas

STEP 1:  Sticky Rice (aka Sweet or Glutinous Rice)
Soak 2 cups of sticky rice for 2 hours. Drain rice and put in a steamer basket lined with cheesecloth. Steam rice, covered with lid, over boiling water until shiny and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Sticky rice is best served hot or warm.

For a tutorial on steaming sticky rice, please head over to Import Food.  The only difference I noted was that the site tells you to steam the rice for 45 minutes, which in my book, is too long, so go with the 20 minutes that I indicated above.

STEP 2:  Ginger-Marinated Pork Belly
  • 1/2 lb pork belly, chopped into 3 inch chunks
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 ginger slices, peeled & minced
  • 3" lemongrass stem (discard outer layer), minced
  • Combine all ingredients and coat the pork belly in the marinade.  Transfer to an air-tight bag or container and let marinade for at least 1 hour.
  • Grill or broil pork belly at 475 (degrees fahrenheit) for 30 minutes or until pork skin is crispy and sizzling. 
  • Once cooked and slightly cooled, cut pork belly into bite-sized slices
STEP 3:  Smoky Lao Tomato Sauce (Jaew Maak Len)*
  • 10 cherry tomatoes or 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, roasted
  • 6 Thai chiles; de-stemmed & charred (adjust based on your spice threshold)
  • 2 slices ginger, charred
  • 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (adjust based on your preference)
Useful Items:
  • Aluminum foil
  • 1 bamboo skewer, pre-soaked in water for 20 minutes
* Secret Tip:  Charring the vegetables for this sauce is the key to unlocking its smoky flavor

  • Heat broiler to 450 (degrees fahrenheit) ; place a rack towards the top of the oven. (You can also wrap the tomatoes in foil and place it over a grill)
  • Places the tomatoes on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes
  • Skewer and char the peppers and ginger, turning once, for about 5 minutes. Let cool.
  • Transfer peppers & ginger and  to a food processor;  pulse until chopped. Add tomatoes; pulse until chunky. Transfer sauce to a bowl; stir in chopped cilantro, fish sauce and salt.
STEP 4:  Assembling your Lao-style Pizzettas
  • Take a fistful of sticky rice, form into a ball and flatten into small round pizzettas
  • Spoon a dollop of Lao tomato jaew onto the sticky rice, spreading evenly to coat and form a layer
  • Top each pizzetta with 2-3 slices of pork belly and garnish with freshly-sliced scallions

Below, the freshness involved in making the smoky tomato jaew and Sparkling Italian blood orange soda.

And of course, for my foodie fans who are adamant about the traditional Italian-style pizza, I made those as well.  How could I forget about them, right? After slathering on a generous layer of Tuscan tomato-basil sauce, I topped them with yellow & red heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella & basil, and Columbus Italian dry salame all piled on top of a rustic pizza dough. 

And of course, who could possibly forget cute little vintage Coca Cola bottles with our pizza spread of roasted bell peppers and grilled corn?  Apparently, "Not I," says Spicy. 


32 Responses

  1. Beautiful! What a stunning and unique pizza! Gorgeous photos! Best of luck with this round - I am sure you will sail through.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Definitely an original interpretation of a pizza. Sounds absolutely delicious! Good luck in this round!

  3. Isabelle says:

    Definitely one of the more original interpretations of the the pizza theme. Love it! (Then again, I love just about anything involving pork belly... so that may have something to do with it)
    You've got my vote. Good luck!

  4. Both pizzas are stunning and currently have me wishing I was having one for dinner.
    Great photos ! Good Luck

  5. Amelia PS says:

    love the photographs!

  6. Mindy says:

    Wish I was eating this right now! Love your blog. I'm going to go vote for you, and start reading regularly.

  7. Great post! Your photos are absolutely stunning as always. And that pork belly looks irresistible. Great take on pizza! I voted for you!

    Good luck! Hope to see us both in the next round!!! =)

  8. Lori Lynn says:

    Love the color in all your photos! I like that you made two types of pizza. Good luck!
    P.S. We came up with (somewhat) similar twists on pizzette.

  9. ~Lisa~ says:

    Beautiful photos, fantastic recipes as always (= Voted!

  10. Jeanne says:

    Your pizzettas sound fabulous! I love the flavor combinations that you used. Good luck in this round!

  11. @Lisa: You are always my #1 Foodie Fan..thank you, dear!

    @Stephanie: Thanks for the tweet and yes, I really had to dig deep and try something way out of the park

    @Isabelle: Awe, I am a pork belly fan, too. My family and I have been devouring them even before the public went crazy for them.

    @Wheels/Lollipops, Amelia & Mindy: Thank you very much!

    @Jacob's Kitchen: Thanks so much! You're too kind b/c I wandered to you blog and was salivating from start to finish!

    @Lori Lynn, Lisa & Jeanne: Thanks, ladies! Good luck to all of you as well!

  12. Liren says:

    All my favorite ingredients on a pizzetta! You never, ever, ever disappoint my dear - I love both versions, classic and inspired! But right now, the Pork Belly one has my attention...wish I could have it for lunch right now!

  13. Oh, please!!! Where do you live? (I imagine...so far away from me!) I MUST try one of your pizzas before leaving this world....

  14. What a yummy idea!
    I love your philosophy on food and your pictures are gorgeous! I look forward to "following" your blog and hope to hear from you too!

  15. I agree with you in so many ways! Now pass me a coke and slice. GREG

  16. Yum! These look delicious and your photos are so, so beautiful :)


  17. Jun Belen says:

    I love how you took a dish you grew up with and made it your own in pizza form! That's what the challenge is about! Lovely post and beautiful food photographs. You could never go wrong with pork belly pizza! Well done!

  18. Neat! Beautiful photography, and I like the unique spin.

  19. I love your photos and your spin on pizza. Sending you my vote for sure.

  20. Pork Belly Pizza is one thing (amazing!) but your execution takes it to another level - when do I get to come over for some!? YUM!

  21. Gorgeous! I voted for you :)

  22. Mariko says:

    Beautiful. I love the idea of the sticky rice.

  23. Serene says:

    There are no words for the gorgeousness. Good job!

  24. Your pizzettas sound fantastic, and gorgeous photos by the way. Nicely done! :)

  25. Anonymous says:

    Ooh, can't wait to try this!

  26. If I can have that for breakfast every day, I would be a pretty happy girl. :) I need to explain this to my local bakery, so they'll stop serving all sweet stuff for breakfast. Anyway, your pizzettas look absolutely divine and I love how you adapted a traditional Lao dish into pizza format. Cheers!

  27. Winnie says:

    I love your pizzettas, and well as the nostalgia you've conveyed in telling us about your choice. Your photos are just beautiful, as well. Great job with this challenge...definitely voting for you ;)

  28. I voted for you!! Good luck :D. It sounds soo tasty!

  29. Thank you everyone for all your support--it really is a joy to blog and cook for such amazing foodie friends!

  30. Great, now I need to go to Laos to try this ridiculously awesome breakfast. That, or have you come and throw me a pizza party! Totally delish dishes and photos, you've got my vote. Cheers!

  31. daphne says:

    What a creative idea. it's making me hungry!

  32. Fantastic! This doesn't look like something I'd usually pick up but I will admit that the premise has gotten me intrigued!
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