Lao Tomato Salsa – Jeaw Mak Len

My family is a pretty big fan of Thai style sticky rice. Personally, I could probably eat it every day, just a little bit, for dinner. If you have never experienced sticky rice, let’s just say that it is unlike any rice that you have probably ever had. It is not a fork or spoon kind of rice, rather a rice you eat with a few of your fingers. It’s fun to say the least, and a few of my favorite things to eat with sticky rice is larb gai, nuoc cham, and this lao tomato salsa, known as jeaw mak len.  Do not, I repeat, do not even get me started on my wicked Asian slang. Basically what ‘Jeaw Mak Len’ translates to is a bad ass tomato dipping sauce, or what I consider another Asian style salsa that will rock your world.

Jeaw Mak Len Recipe

I created a spin on a Thai salsa in the past using lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, but the jeaw mak len is a bit chunkier, and smokier in flavor, and trust me, it goes great with pretty much everything.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole, large Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled (I love garlic, reduce in half if you are the opposite)
  • 5 whole Thai chili peppers *reduce for less heat
  • 1 whole white onion, halved
  • 1 tbsp good quality fish sauce *I like Red Boat
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, stems and all
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Now you have a couple of options here. You can figure out how to do all of this on a grill, over charcoal, or you can get a nice hot cast iron skillet in the oven, super hot, and roast the vegetables. Me? In the oven, on high.

Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees with a large cast iron skillet inside.

To a mixing bowl, add everything but the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Give a good toss to make sure everything is lubricated with the oil.

How to make Lao tomato dipping sauce

Once the oven is heated, remove the cast iron skillet, obviously with a kitchen mit, and toss in the mixture from the bowl. The sound is like sizzling fajitas. Love it.

Return the skillet back to the oven and let this cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until things are slightly charred. Once charred, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Now you have another couple of options. Food processor, or mortar and pestle. I go with the food processor as it is less labor intensive, and heck, I can train myself on being a pulse master. Not sure if that is a good thing or what, but whatever. Toss in the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Pulse or mortar the vegetable mixture until you have a nice, chunky consistency.

Pour into a bowl and you are ready to roll.

This is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy, so who could go wrong with that, right? This is perfect with sticky rice, but let me tell you, it goes perfect with regular rice, heck, even tortilla chips. Don’t even start me on things like fresh cucumbers, or other raw vegetables. Let’s leave it at that, and you let me know what you decide.

*Again, use caution with the garlic an chili peppers. That’s how I roll, you decide on how garlicky and spicy you like it. Hope you enjoy!

Lao Tomato Salsa - Jeaw Mak Len
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauces
Cuisine: Lao, Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole, large Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled (I love garlic, reduce in half if you are the opposite)
  • 5 whole Thai chili peppers *reduce for less heat
  • 1 whole white onion, halved
  • 1 tbsp good quality fish sauce *I like Red Boat
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro, stems and all
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Now you have a couple of options here. You can figure out how to do all of this on a grill, over charcoal, or you can get a nice hot cast iron skillet in the oven, super hot, and roast the vegetables. Me? In the oven, on high.
  2. Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees with a large cast iron skillet inside.
  3. To a mixing bowl, add everything but the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Give a good toss to make sure everything is lubricated with the oil.
  4. Once the oven is heated, remove the cast iron skillet, obviously with a kitchen mit, and toss in the mixture from the bowl. The sound is like sizzling fajitas. Love it.
  5. Return the skillet back to the oven and let this cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until things are slightly charred. Once charred, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  6. Now you have another couple of options. Food processor, or mortar and pestle. I go with the food processor as it is less labor intensive, and heck, I can train myself on being a pulse master. Not sure if that is a good thing or what, but whatever. Toss in the salt, fish sauce, and cilantro. Pulse or mortar the vegetable mixture until you have a nice, chunky consistency.
  7. Pour into a bowl and you are ready to roll.
  8. This is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy, so who could go wrong with that, right? This is perfect with sticky rice, but let me tell you, it goes perfect with regular rice, heck, even tortilla chips. Don’t even start me on things like fresh cucumbers, or other raw vegetables. Let’s leave it at that, and you let me know what you decide.
  9. *Again, use caution with the garlic an chili peppers. That’s how I roll, you decide on how garlicky and spicy you like it. Hope you enjoy!

 

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