Larb may not be the most photogenic meal but what it lacks in color contrast it makes up for in taste. Larb is one of our favorite meals. You find it on the menu in Thai restaurants. Sometimes it is spelled Laap, Larp, or Laab. It is from North East Thailand. We call it Larbalicious. It is so good that it has been named the National dish of Laos. Now, that being said, my version is much better than any I have had in a Thai restaurant.
You have to use Thai Basil in this. Some recipes say you can use Italian Basil as a substitute. Wrong, wrong, wrong. There is no substitute.
Thai Basil is finally in season. When I spotted it at the Indo China Market I knew what I was making for dinner. My Larbilicious Larb.
I found these cashews at Trader Joe's and thought they would be nice for a snack before dinner. They are spicy and really yummy.
Then I gathered the fresh herbs. Thai Basil, Cilantro, and Fresh mint.
In a few months I'll have all of these growing in my garden. These hot summer days scream for spicy, tangy, Asian salads. You will see more Asian recipes as summer comes rolling in.
Once you gather all the ingredients for this dish the cooking is really quite easy. Poach ground chicken or pork in chicken broth, add shallots and Asian ingredients and then add toasted rice. The toasted rice binds it all together.
1 LB. GROUND CHICKEN OR PORK
2 TBS. GROUND TOASTED RICE
2 TBS. THAI FISH SAUCE (NUOC MAM)
3 TBSP. LIME JUICE
3 TBSP. CHICKEN STOCK
2 CHOPPED SHALLOTS
SLICED GREEN ONIONS
PINCH OF SUGAR
FINELY CHOPPED LEMON GRASS
TORN KAFFIR LIME LEAVES
LIMES WEDGES FOR GARNISH
THAI BASIL LEAVES
LETTUCE LEAVES FOR WRAPS (BUTTER)
POACH THE GROUND MEAT IN THE STOCK. WHEN JUST BARELY COOKED ADD THE FISH SAUCE, LIME JUICE, SHALLOTS, CHOPPED
, SUGAR, LEMON GRASS AND LIME LEAVES. STIR FOR A FEW MINUTES AND THEN ADD THE TOASTED RICE. COOK FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES. REMOVE THE LIME LEAVES BEFORE SERVING. GARNISH THE LARB WITH SCALLIONS. CHILES
SERVE WITH A PLATE OF LETTUCE LEAVES, BASIL, CILANTRO AND MINT.
To make toasted rice, just brown rice in dry frying pan and then put it in a spice grinder or food processor until it is almost a powder.
There are many brands of Fish Sauce. This is the brand that I like the best.
Just fill the lettuce leaf with the Larb, wrap it up and enjoy. I served this with a Tofu Salad.