Model, DJ, and home-cook Marayah Ananda has us over to her place for a full Laotian lunch made up of recipes she grew up loving. We talked about the connective power food has to tether us to our ancestry and bring us closer to present-day friends. For Marayah, home cooking is a source of “pure love” that was born from her curious nature.
What is your food heritage?
My mom is from Laos and my dad is Spanish and Black Carribean (from St. Martin). It’s so cool that I am the single accumulation of all these beautiful cultures. Lots of food to taste!
What is your personal mission? Or what do you want your impact on the world to be?
Once I made my friend a quick garlicy sourdough, and after her first bite, she went quiet. I asked if she was okay and she said: This taste is just like what my mom used to make in Israel, and I haven’t had this flavor in so long. My personal mission is to awaken tradition, curiosity, and creativity through food. Food is a language, it’s the same thread we all uniquely sow.
What have you prepared today and what does it mean to you?
While I am a brew of cultures, I mostly relate to my Laotian roots. I made my grandma’s omelette with khao niew (sticky rice) and galabao, Laotian steamed buns. These recipes help me return to a heritage that was long celebrated before my existence. It’s honoring my ancestors through food. It’s funny, I actually remembered this omelette recipe preparing for this shoot! I hadn’t had it in so long, my grandma would make it for breakfast and sometimes lunch.
What makes a Place Ours?
What makes a place ours is opening your heart to the magic of sharing, listening, collaborating, and learning within the same time and space. On the other side of the same coin, what also makes a place ours is showing up exactly how you are in that moment because to feel like a space is ours we need to feel comfortable to exist in said space where all versions of ourselves are embraced.
What are your Always (go-to) foods?
I just cook whatever I have on hand, so it's pretty different everyday. Usually I’m cooking with vegetables from the local market. A go-to ingredient for me is lemons! They can be used in a variety of ways and you can never really go wrong with a squeeze of lemon over a dish.
Marayah’s Galabao, Khau Niew, & Laotian Omelette
GALABAO INGREDIENTS (DOUGH)
- 300 g. cake flour
- 1 tsp. dry yeast
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. cooking oil
- 140 ml. lukewarm water
GALABAO DIRECTIONS (DOUGH)
- Mix flour, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Add oil.
- Add water little by little.
- Combine and knead (by hand or with a stand mixer) until the dough is very smooth. About 5 minutes.
- Place in a warm area and allow it to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
GALABAO INGREDIENTS (FILLING)
- 2-3 cups oyster mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 5 garlic cloves
- Sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
- Pinch of white pepper
- 1/2 tbsp. sriracha
- Green onion to taste
GALABAO DIRECTIONS (FILLING)
- Finely chop mushrooms, dice onion, mince garlic.
- Add sesame oil to Always Pan on medium heat.
- Once oil is hot, add mushrooms, onion, and garlic.
- Once lightly browned, add hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, sriracha, and sliced green onion.
- Cook for 5 minutes until mixture is fully combined and reaches an almost sticky consistency.
- Add sauce to taste.
GALABAO DIRECTIONS (FINAL ASSEMBLY)
- Roll dough into a log and cut 8-10 pieces.
- Roll dough pieces into 5 in. circles leaving the center slightly thicker than the edges.
- Scoop a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of the dough and pleat.
- Steam for 15 minutes.
GRANDMA’S LAOTIAN OMELETTE INGREDIENTS
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp. sriracha
- 1 onion cut in half rings
- Cooking oil
GRANDMA’S LAOTIAN OMELETTE DIRECTIONS
- Mix together eggs, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, and sliced onion cut in half rings.
- Bring a pan to medium heat with neutral oil.
- Once oil is hot add egg mixture
- Allow to fully cook and get brown on one side. Then carefully flip the entire omelette on to the other side so that it retains its circular shape. Allow to get slightly brown.
- Once everything is cooked, carefully slide the omelette onto a plate and eat with sticky rice.
KHAO NIEW INGREDIENTS
- 2 cups sticky rice
KHAO NIEW DIRECTIONS
Using a Sticky Rice Steamer Pot and Basket
- Wash rice until water runs clear (about 5-6 times)
- Cover rice in warm water until about an inch of water is above the surface. Let it soak for a minimum of 3 hours, but ideally overnight.
- Fill the steamer pot a little more than halfway with water, place the bamboo steamer on top. (If water is touching the bottom of the steamer, pour some out. You want the water to be just under the steamer). Bring water to a boil.
- Once rice is finished soaking and the water is boiling, dump rice into the bamboo basket and immediately cover with a lid. The lid is placed on top of the rice to capture the steam.
- Steam for 10 minutes, uncover and flip the ball of rice over so the top of the rice is now at the bottom.
- Turn the heat off, place the steamer back in the basket and place the lid back on top. Steam for about 3-5 more minutes and your sticky rice is done!