To Chef Bobby Pradachith, Lao cuisine is like a religion. At 23, he’s already made a name for himself in the Washington D.C. culinary scene as chef and co-owner ofThip Khao — the traditional Laotian restaurant he operates alongside his mother. Before he became a full-fledged evangelist, Bobby spent his first year out of culinary school absorbing the modernist food philosophy at José Andrés’ Minibar — training he now adapts to the family business. This week Bobby dropped by Ace Hotel Pittsburgh to celebrate his place amongEater’s Young Guns, taking the opportunity to proselytize about his deep passion for Laotian culture and cuisine.
When did you know you wanted to cook?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I went through some sort of an identity crisis — I didn’t know who I was as a person. Being born in American as a Laotian, I was heavily influenced by American culture. I began to lose my understanding of my family’s culture. I felt as though I was disappointing my parents because I didn’t continue learning about my family’s heritage.
You only have one day left to apply for our Secondary Education English Teaching positions in Ethiopia, so maybe you need fuel. Pick up some nice fall beets and make this Ethiopian beet and potato salad to keep you going. It’s vegan!
¼ cup canola oil
1 yellow onion, diced
½ teaspoon salt, divided, or as needed
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger (optional)
2 large beets, diced
1 cup water, or more as needed
4 large potatoes, diced
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat; add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir onion until softened and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beets and stir to combine. Pour water over beet mixture and sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt; bring to a boil.
Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until beets are easily pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.
Can you please share the recipe for the banana bread? X
3-4 large ripe bananas, mashed + extra banana for decoration
1 ¾ cups wholemeal/spelt/gluten-free flour
1/3 cup sweetener of choice (e.g. raw/coconut sugar)
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 - 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (flaxseed meal)
2 tbsp whole flaxseeds
(optional) Drizzle of maple syrup over the top
(optional extras) nuts of choice, seeds of choice, desiccated coconut,
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a medium/large size bowl, combine flour, sweetener (if using liquid sweeter like maple syrup do not add this until adding the wet ingredients (e.g. bananas), cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, flaxseeds, ground flaxseeds, baking powder & baking soda, set aside.
In a medium bowl, mash bananas.
Add the apple sauce, vanilla & mashed bananas to the dry ingredients & mix until combined - if too dry add a touch more apple sauce or mashed banana.
Pour batter into loaf pan & (optional) top with sliced bananas, drizzle of maple syrup & any other toppings of choice (e.g. nuts, seeds, berries). Bake for 50-60 minutes (mine usually takes around 55 minutes) - you can use the toothpick test in the centre of loaf, if it comes out clean it’s about ready.
Let sit for 10 minutes & then try not to devour the whole loaf by the end of the day
If making gluten free & using gluten-free flour I would recommend brands such as Organ, Luacke Easy Bakers, Bob’s Red Mill & other generic brands as their flours tend to work best for baking. Flours such as coconut flour often fail to rise & mix well, so feel free to experiment but I would not recommend coconut flour for this recipe
If you don’t have flaxseeds they aren’t necessary, but they do provide extra protein & nutrients + great taste. You can easily substitute them with whatever nuts & seeds you have & like or remove them all together.
Apple sauce is a great alternative to oil in baked recipes - for cooking recipes I highly recommend substituting oil for maple syrup (e.g. when sautéing) - it has much more nutritional value, isn’t highly processed or refined & provides an excellent flavour addition to dishes!