Why I Love This Recipe
This is the national dish of Laos. When asked which of their mother's dishes they liked the best, JR, Audrey and George all picked larb! Of course, they all had a hard time deciding the correct spelling - lap, laap, larp, laab?
Ingredients You'll Need
MEAT OF YOUR CHOICE - Approx. 1 lb.
Recommended Options: Chicken OR ground beef, pork, turkey or duck. Julie recommends boneless, skinless chicken thighs, because they are juicier, better for you and more flavorful. For ground beef, she recommends choosing the leanest you can find.
Comment: Julie does not measure anything!! The suggested measurements are added to give you some idea of what Tricia observed her adding. Julie says: balance, balance, balance.
Approx. 1 Tbsp. Kaffir leaves, thinly sliced (alternative, lime zest)
Approx. 1 Tbsp. Roasted ground sticky rice (also called glutinous rice) (See recipe below OR you can buy "Khao Khua".)
Approx. 1 Tbsp. Dried, Roasted ground Thai chilies (or red pepper).
Approx. 1 tsp. Galangal (pronounced "guh-lang-guh") powder (Do NOT substitute ginger.)
Approx. 1-2 Tbsp. Fish sauce
Approx. 1 Tbsp. Mushroom seasoning (Julie's new secret ingredient.)
Fresh Cilantro leaves (no stems), gently and roughly chopped - 1/2 bunch
Fresh Mint leaves (no stems), gently and roughly chopped - 1/2 bunch
Green onions, chopped - 4-5
Fresh lime. - 1/2 (to taste)
Toasted Ground Sticky Rice Recipe (Acts as a thickener & adds a nutty flavor.)
Heat skillet over medium-low heat
Add about 1/2 cup raw, dry sticky rice. (Do not use oil.)
Stir and shake rice every few seconds to ensure rice is evenly toasted.
After about 10-15 minutes, rice should be medium brown (should look like brown rice).
Remove from heat and allow rice to cool completely.
Grind the about 2 Tbsp. of rice at a time in a coffee grinder or with a mortar & pestle.
The texture should be similar to stoneground wholewheat flour. (Julie's comments: Be sure that the rice is not ground too fine or too rough. If the rice is to fine, it will taste like powder, and if it is to rough, it will have a gritty texture.)
Saute meat in a non-stick skillet without additional oil.
- For chicken thighs: Once cooked through, finely chopped or shred. Reserve pan drippings to add later, if desired, because larb should not be dry. (Alternatively, you can finely chop the chicken prior to cooking. Do not drain drippings.)
- For ground beef, pork or turkey: During cooking, break up chunks of meat so that is finely separated. Do not drain drippings.
Finely chop or shred the meat.
- Julie's comments: Cross cut the meat so that when the seasoning is added it can fully absorb the flavors.
Allow the meat to cool a bit before adding the seasoning.
Season meat with kaffir leaves, roasted ground Thai chilies (use the amount that you can handle), roasted ground sticky rice, galangal powder, mushroom seasoning. and fish sauce. Really work the seasoning into the meat so that it is fully flavored.
Comment: Really mix in the ground sticky rice so that it does not taste grainy. Add too much ground sticky rice, the larb will be slimy; add too little, the larb will be watery. Strike a good balance.
Once the meat is seasoned to taste, gently fold in the fresh green onion, cilantro and mint leaves. Squeeze lime juice over the dish to taste. (Julie cautions that if you add too much it will be sour.)
Serve with sticky rice.