Tomato sauce| ນ້ ຳ ໝາກ ເລັ່ນ|
Nam mak len
As a kid we always knew when we were having Pho for lunch because the process started early in the morning. I’d wake up to a huge pot bubbling away on the stove top. As the morning passed the smell of pho broth wafted through the house making your mouth water and your belly rumble. It was a labour of love getting the broth just right. I’d pick the tail off bean sprouts while my sister washed the herbs to garnish our Pho with, all under the watchful eye of our mum.
When it was time to eat Mum would ask how many noodles we thought we could eat and then fill the bowls with steaming broth with even amounts of meat balls for all. We’d carry the bowls to the table one by one and then it was time to season.
A little dash of soy, a spoonful of fish sauce, a bit of sugar, a sprinkle of pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a blob of tomato sauce. Tomato sauce made it sweet and tangy and oh so yum. Before I delved into the sea of noodles though I’d always ask mum to try my broth to see if it needed anything else. Sometimes I got it right, other times I’d need a little more of something to make it “Poh Dee (ພໍດີ)” which means just right in Lao, it’s that balance and sweet spot we’re all looking for.