This cool and spicy dish, especially refreshing in summer, comes to us from the kitchen of our dear friend and excellent cook, Dolkar. A cold jelly noodle dish — originally called liang fen in Sichuan cuisine — laping would not traditionally be made at home. Most people in Lhasa, for example, would buy it from little stalls on the street. Tibetans outside Tibet do make this at home, as there are no laping stalls on most of our city streets!
For 6-8 people
Note: The laping requires at least 4-5 hours to set, and can be prepared the night before and left to set overnight.
Ingredients for the Laping
- 1 cup of potato or mung-bean starch (For the images here we used potato starch, but we’ve also made it with mung bean starch, and those noodles turn out much stiffer, which you may like, as a matter of personal taste. Mung-bean starch can be found in Korean stores and some other Asian markets.)
- 5 cups of water
Ingredients for the Sauce
- 7 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 stalk green onion, chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup crushed dried red pepper (We bought this at an Asian store. If you can’t find this, you can cut up dried red pepper, or use chili powder, or a bit of chili sauce. )
Preparing the Clear Noodles
Before heating, stir the starch and water together until you get an even texture.
Heat the mixture on stove top to medium, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, or until the mixture is so thick you can barely stir it. If the mixture is boiling before it thickens, turn down the heat until it stops boiling. When done the texture will be very thick, almost like jello, but it still needs to set.
Transfer the cooked mixture into a clean bowl and let it sit overnight at room temperature. In order to shorten the time for cooling, it can also be placed in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.
After the laping has set, remove it from the bowl. It should stand up by itself, like a very firm jello.
In Tibet, people grate the laping with a very large grater, but our grater was too small and didn’t really work, so we did what many Tibetans do, and just cut the laping with a large knife into long strips.
Prepare the Sauce and Combine with Noodles
- Mince 7 cloves of garlic
- Chop 1 stalk green onion
- Chop ¼ cup cilantro
- Combine garlic, onion and cilantro with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, ¼ cup sesame oil, ¼ cup soy sauce, and ¼ cup crushed dried red pepper in a small bowl and stir well. This amount of pepper makes it VERY spicy. If you’re not accustomed to spicy food, just add the pepper in very small increments until you hit the right amount for you.)
- Drizzle the sauce over the laping, then mix gently with a spatula or other flat utensil until the laping is well-coated with the sauce.
Serve as a side dish with any meat or veggie entree, or as a tasty snack on its own.
- Strips of cucumber make a fresh, crunchy addition.
- Some readers have reported success also with using corn starch and potato starch if you don’t have mung bean starch.
As always, we love to hear what you think and how this recipe worked for you in the comments section below. Please share with us your experiments with traditional Tibetan foods or your ideas for Nouveau Tibetan ;-) recipes.
If you’d like some help with more traditional Tibetan cooking, check out our Tibetan Home Cooking eBook and video series.
And if you found this post useful, we would really love it if you share it with your Facebook fans or Twitter followers today. All it takes is a simple click on the “like,” “share,” or “tweet” buttons to the left of the post. Thanks!
By Lobsang Wangdu