Khao nom kok – Lao coconut cakes are made in an eye-catching cast iron pan with half-moon indents over a charcoal brazier. The thin batter is poured into the rounds and once cooked golden brown, two of them are sandwiched together. They are served piping hot in a cup fashioned out of a banana leaf. The outsides are a little bit crisp, the insides moist, silky and melt in your mouth soft.You can find them in Luang Prabang’s morning market. Nosh on them with a cup of strong, thick Lao coffee.
This recipe was kindly provided by Maison Souvannaphoum hotel, a boutique hotel in Luang Prabang that was once the residence of Prince Souvannaphouma, four-time Prime Minister of Laos. It’s a tried and true recipe – they make these on the spot for guests as a breakfast treat every morning.
Locals in Luang Prabang would insist that a charcoal brazier is the best way to cook all meals – though it’s probably not feasible for you. It would be easiest if you bought the pan while in Laos, Thailand or Vietnam (a Vietnamese banh khot pan is similar). If you’re in Luang Prabang you can buy them at Phosi Market or Naviengkham Market. At home, you can use the more readily available Dutch pancake “poffertjes” pan, or try finding it at your Asian cookery specialty shop.