Lao Tomato Dip “Jaiw Mak Len”


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In Laos cuisine, there are only a handful of dishes that feature some kind of meat.  Protein is never the focus of a meal and a proper Laos meal is always served with sticky rice, vegetables, and some kind of a dipping sauce.

This is a Laos Tomato Dipping Sauce that goes great with any kind of fried meat and great to dip steamed cabbage and green beans with as well as sticky rice!  The secret to this sauce is execution!  This sauce gets it’s smoky flavor by broiling or grilling all the vegetables first, before finishing the sauce.


  • ¾ to 1 lb. cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cloves garlic, halved
  • 6 Thai chiles, stemmed
  • 2 shallots, halved
  • ¼ cups chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt


Step 1

Roast all the vegetable (except cilantro) ingredients on the grill or place them on a foil lined baking pan and set your oven to broil. The goal is to achieve a nice char on all the vegetables. Let the vegetables cool down.

Step 2

Once everything is cool, transfer all the charred vegetables except the tomatoes into a food processor and pulse until nicely chopped.

Step 3

Now add the tomatoes; pulse just until chucky.

Step 4

Transfer everything to a bowl or container, and add the chopped cilantro, fish sauce and salt.

Step 5

Serve with plenty of steam cabbage or green beans.

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