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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

International Children’s Day Recipe: Ping Gai

Ping Gai recipe/

In 1925, the World Conference for the Well-Being of Children claimed that June 1 would become International Children’s Day. There are a few theories as to why this date was selected, one being that many Chinese orphans gathered in San Francisco on June 1 of that year to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival. Regardless of the differing beliefs about the origin, the tenant behind the holiday remains steadfast. International Children’s Day celebrates children’s rights and well-being.

In Laos, the children are heralded on Children’s Day as the future of the nation. There are many speeches and parades throughout the nation. While no one dish marks a traditional International Children’s Day meal in Laos, the dishes served are generally Laotian staples. Ping Gai, a street food staple, is an amazing addition to any family’s grill repertoire. This grilled chicken is off-the-charts tasty and fairly simple to make.

8 pieces of chicken legs or thighs, bone in
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon fish sauce
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon chili paste, such as Sriracha
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

1. Blend all ingredients, other than chicken and cilantro, in a food processor. Once blended, add cilantro and pulse until just chopped. Marinate chicken overnight, turning once.

2. Place on indirect heat in a covered grill, skin-side down, for 15 minutes. Turn over, recover grill, and cook another 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

3. Serve with jasmine rice.

© 2012, Lauren Capitani. All rights reserved.

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Lauren Capitani was an early foodie. While her friends were busy watching Family Ties , she was tuned into Graham Kerr and Yan Can Cook, and served her friends and family dishes such as beef wellington and baked alaska while still a teen. After college, Lauren received Masters' degrees in both journalism and business and worked in both subsequent fields. At 29, she decided to rewrite her life and became an assistant teacher. For the first time, her vocation became her avocation. She now has certification in both both elementary and early childhood education and has taught at seven schools on both coasts (and in between). Lauren has lived summers in France, England, Spain, Japan, and Thailand, and has visited more than a dozen other countries. When her own children start limiting their food choices, Lauren turned it into a teaching moment and created One World Whisk, a global cooking initiative for children. The project garnered more than 200 followers before its one-month charter was complete.

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