Monday, July 24, 2006
I've been wanting to make Larb Gai for a while. It always appeared to be such a simple concept whenever I ordered it at Thai restaurants so I figured it wouldn't be hard to make. Once I realized that I needed to roast rice and grind it into a powder I put the idea of making Larb Gai on hold. Until I found roasted rice powder at the Asian market! After some internet research I concocted my own recipe (based on looks and taste) and came up with this:
1 pound of ground chicken (or minced chicken breasts)
2 spring onions, chopped
1 small to medium shallot, chopped
1 T. roasted rice powder
2 t. roasted red chile paste
2 thai chiles, minced (optional)
1 T. chopped lemongrass
3 T. cilantro, chopped
3 T. mint, chopped
juice of 2-3 small limes (depending on taste)
2 T. fish sauce
Lettuce or cabbage, chopped
chopped peanuts (optional), for garnish
1.) Heat up wok until smoking. Add a few tablespoons of canola oil and continue to heat. Cook ground chicken until no longer pink. If using ground chicken be sure to cut with spatula into tiny pieces.
2.) Lower heat to medium. Add roasted rice powder and cook until blended. Add shallots and lemongrass. Cook for another minute or two.
3.) Add cilantro, mint, chile, and red chile paste, and fish sauce. Cook until blended. Be sure to mix ingredients well.
4.) Once cooked, take the chicken mixture out of wok and place in bowl or plate. Squeeze lime juice on top to taste. I like my fairly sour but sometimes they over-do it at restaurants so it was great to be able to make Larb Gai exactly how I like it. Next time I will make mine spicy since my husband doesn't really like this dish. This time I omitted the chiles so it wasn't spicy at all.
5.) Serve on top of lettuce and garnish with additional cilantro leaves and peanuts if desired.
Notes: I added some shredded Kaffir lime leaves but didn't notice too much of a difference since the lime juice is such a bold flavor. I probably won't bother to add them next time.
In my opinion this dish is an acquired taste. Unless you're very familiar with Thai food you might not like it right away. Give it a chance (especially at a restaurant) and if you like it you can try it at home.