Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I love you, Larb

No, not lard. Not lard, everyone. Don't make that face... I'm trying to help you!

If you love Thai food you might know all about larb.

Ground meat--turkey, pork , chicken, beef or sometimes fish--in a savory citrusy fish sauce dressing typically served with sticky rice and sometimes eaten in lettuce cups. And hey, remember ceviche de soya made with reconstituted soya meat? You can substitute soya meat for ground pork, etc. and make this dish vegetarian. Vegan, even. There is no lard in this recipe. Now you know.

I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this recipe as a quick, weeknight alternative to take-out Thai larb and decided to give it a go. Believe it or not, it is just as good, if not better than any larb I've had in a Thai restaurant. Adam sure thinks so.

He set the table too. One spoon and a plate. Pretty good, huh?

So go ahead and try making larb at home on a Monday night like we always do. It isn't as complicated as many Thai dishes. It isn't like curry, for example, which requires 10 million ingredients. You can't mess it up, guys.

Closely adapted from Giada De Laurentiis via foodnetwork.com
serves 4
Adam thinks larb made with pork tastes best. On most nights, however, we try to cut down on fat by using ground turkey or chicken. If you do choose a leaner meat, keep in mind that you may need a little more oil to help it brown. Also, this recipe calls for lemongrass. Most Asian markets carry it (I actually found mine at Whole Foods) but if you absolutely cannot find any, go ahead and leave it out. This is supposed to be easy Monday night cooking, right? The lemongrass rounds this dish out and certainly makes the larb more delicious, but by no means does it make the dish. The fish sauce, however, does. Don't even think about leaving that out! It may smell weird out of the bottle, but trust me, it will all taste very yummy in the end.

• 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, from about 5 limes
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• 2 tablespoons honey

• 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
• 1/2 red onion, diced
• 3 shallots, thinly sliced
• 1 (4-inch) piece lemongrass, minced (about 1/4 cup)
• 1 Thai chile, such as prik kee noo, or 1 serrano chile, stemmed and thinly sliced
• Kosher salt
• 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, pork, chicken beef, or reconstituted soy meat
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated


Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, fish sauce and honey. Set aside.

Larb: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, lemongrass, chile, and salt, to taste. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat and vegetables are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the dressing to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mint. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon the turkey mixture onto the lettuce leaves and arrange on a serving platter. Serve with sticky rice or plain white rice.


b the b said...

Mmm...I'm not big on Thai food, but this looks delicious. Filipinos call fish sauce "patis." I grew up with the Rufina and Squid Brands, and always imagined that liquor tasted like patis because I would see both bottles wrapped in brown paper bags. Actually, I still kind of wish liquor tasted like patis....

kate said...

I've totally made this with tofu substitute! So tasty.

Andrea said...

Haha! Fish sauce winos. I like that.

Paul Anka said...

Omg Andrea, this is my new favorite dish. I've never had larb at a restaurant but I can't imagine it being better. Thank you for sharing!!

Paul Anka said...

Sorry Paul Anka is Vivian :-)Randomly gmail assigned it to me and I just kept it lol.

Andrea said...

haha! I'm glad you like it Vivian! :)

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