It was hardly a shocker when Nongkran Daks’s pad Thai beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s in a 2009 televised throwdown. The spirited owner of Thai Basil in Chantilly began cooking 68 years ago and has mastered a world-class repertoire of her native dishes.
A fine example is laab kai, the ubiquitous appetizer-salad whose name is often modified as “larb gai.” It seems simple enough to re-create without a recipe, with its spikes of lime juice, fish sauce and dried chili pepper in evidence among ground meat crumbles.
But Daks reveals the make-or-break ingredient in her cooking classes: toasted rice powder, which lends texture and aromatics. Follow her lead, and you’ll have enough left over to make the dish again.
For stories, features such as Date Lab, Gene Weingarten and more, visit WP Magazine.
Follow the Magazine on Twitter.
Like us on Facebook.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.