How to Make Or Lam | Spicy Lao Beef Stew | Lao Food

by Saeng Douangdara
Or Lam
How to make Or Lam

Or Lam is a very traditional Lao stew. It is usually made with ox and one of the unique components is the mai sakahn. It is a wood chili vine that adds spice and a slight numbing of the tongue. This stew is very delicious and helps the padaek unfiltered fish sauce shine. Make sure to have some dill and Lao basil on hand since it helps spread the delicious herb fragrance all over the stew. I love eating it with Lao sticky rice. Your stomach will be so happy. Enjoy!

If you get a chance to visit Luang Prabang Laos, this is a stew you want to order. I recommend heading to the morning market in LP and see all the fresh produce used in this stew especially the fresh mai sakahn wood chili vine. Outside of Laos, it is hard to source Lao wood chili and the Lao basil. Some alternatives are whole black peppercorn and Szechuan peppercorn.

In my recipe video below, I used a delicious new padaek called Ling Tue Krok. I would highly recommend it as it is full of flavor and is delicious! Check out the caption in the video to grab your own bottle of padaek. Let me know if you all try making this stew and I would love to see your recipe remake!

How to make Or Lam

Or Lam | Spicy Lao Beef Stew

A traditional Lao stew of Luang Prabang.
Course: dinner, stew
Cuisine: Lao, laotian
Keyword: lao food, lao stew, or lam
Servings: 4 people
Author: Saeng Douangdara



  • 1 soft lemongrass inside
  • 3 bird eye chilies
  • 2 inch galangal
  • 3 small shallots


  • cup dry sticky rice rinse and soak
  • 1 tbsp water


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 7 cups water
  • 1.4 lb beef chuck
  • 6 oz cow skin
  • 4 bird eye chili
  • 15 pieces of 1 inch sa-kahn peel off and discard rough outer skin and divide into smaller
  • 1 stalk lemongrass sear and then wash
  • 2 cups wood ear mushroom
  • 1 cup oyster mushroom
  • 6 round eggplants
  • 1 handful green onions
  • 1 handful yam leaves
  • 1 handful Lao basil leaves
  • 1 handful of dill chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp padaek
  • 2 tbsp Fish sauce


  • Rinse and soak sticky rice in warm water for 1 hour
  • Prepare the cow skin: rinse with cold water, dry the skin then burn over the stove to get rid of the hair then boil water, add salt, and cook skin for 15 mins on medium heat. Pour out the water into a strainer and soak in cold water. Use a spoon to scrape off charred parts then rinse. Cut into small pieces.
  • Wash sakhaan with warm water and let soak as you prepare the other ingredients
  • Prepare the aromatic mixture and the sticky rice paste
  • Heat a large pot with vegetable oil and saute the aromatics for a few minutes.
  • Add the diced beef chuck and saute for a few seconds then add the water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the lemongrass and then the sakhaan
  • Boil on low for 30 mins
  • Add oyster mushroom, wood ear, cow skin and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cover for 15 mins on low heat.
  • Add eggplant, padaek, fish sauce, and mix, then add rice paste and mix. Cover and cook for 5 mins on low heat.
  • Add green onion, yam leaves, mix, then add dill, and lao basil and turn off heat
  • Garnish with chopped dill and Lao basil

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