Luang Prabang garden salad


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Watercress, something we think of as being so cool-climate British, grows effortlessly and in quantity in Luang Prabang’s vegetable plots. It’s one of their best-loved leaves, just like it is ours. It’s their dressing that makes this wondrous - the mix of toasted garlic oil and creamed egg yolk. A splosh of the old soy sauce is good in it too. Swap the cucumber for sliced Asian pear, if you know where to get it: very Laos.


  • 4 free-range eggs, hard-boiled and separated into yolks and whites
  • 1 small ridged cucumber, finely sliced
  • 8 small plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 bunches watercress, any coarse stems removed
  • small bunch each of mint and coriander, leaves only
  • small bunch of spring onions, chopped


  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
  • 2 cooked egg yolks (from the eggs above), crushed to a paste
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • salt and white pepper


To make the dressing, fry the garlic in the oil until it turns a nut brown (but don’t scorch it, otherwise it will turn bitter), then leave the oil to go cold. Next, add the remaining dressing ingredients to the garlic oil and pound or beat together until the liquids have homogenized with the egg yolks. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if needed.

To assemble the salad, slice the egg whites into halves or quarters, then pile with the remaining ingredients into shallow bowls or on to plates, then spoon over the garlic and egg dressing.