Laab (aka Larb)


The national dish of Laos, Laab, or Larb, is found all over southeast Asia. There are as many variations as there are chefs, with many recipes calling for an endless list of ingredients and lots of prep. This simplified version has a Thai leaning and delivers incredible flavor in short order. It is very spicy, so if you need to tone it down, halve the curry paste - you can always add more just before adding the lime juice.
2 tablespoons jasmine rice, or purchased toasted rice powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil (can substitute peanut or safflower oil)
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced (can substitute 1/2 teaspoon lime zest)
1 pound ground chicken, pork, or turkey
1 cup chopped mixed herbs: cilantro, mint, and basil, preferably Thai
1 tablespoon lime juice

accompaniments - any or all of the following:
lettuce leaves for cups - butter, romaine, or iceberg, shredded Napa cabbage, steamed rice, sticky rice, or cooked rice noodles
1 In a dry wok, toast rice until evenly golden. Allow to cool, then grind to a coarse powder in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Set aside for serving.

2 Over medium-high heat, add oil to wok. Add curry paste, smash and sauté for 1 minute.

3 Add shallots and lime leaves. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, taking care not to burn.

4 Add meat and stir-fry until almost all pink is gone, 5 to 7 minutes.

5 Add 1/2 the herbs to meat, along with the lime juice. Continue to stir-fry until cooked, approximately 1 to 2 minutes more.

6 Toss meat with remaining herbs. Transfer to serving plate and top with toasted rice powder.

7 Serve with accompaniments of your choice.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 4 Servings

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