Oh I do LOVE a good Larb. I think in some ways it represents what I love most about Issan ( Northern Thai) Food – it’s lighter, cleaner, less creamy and not much coconut compared to dishes typical of Southern Thai Cuisine. Soups involve just stocks and lots of herbs. This dish has the perfect balance of heat, sourness, texture, intense flavour and generally is just damn yummy, the sort of salad I could happily live on should I ever be stranded on a desert island somewhere…..meanwhile it’s a stunning sunny day here in Biot, and I’m off to the Asian Marche to get everything I need to re-create this favourite salad.
Serves 2. Traditionally eaten with sticky rice.
For the rice powder:
2 T glutenous rice ( jasmine is good)
1 T galangal – toss in dry
1 lime leaf
These ingredients you toss into a dry wok on medium heat, toast until rice is brown then blend it in a spice blender till a powder. Set aside.
For the Larb:
1 C minced chicken, preferably organic or bio
2 shallots finely chopped
a couple of ladles of good quality chicken stock
3 spring onions – young bottom ends only
mint – whole leaves – 3/4 of a handful
2 – 6 dried deep fried chilli finely chop 1 chilli, leave whole the others ( for me I used 2 in total, if you want it hotter….)
1 large fresh chilli finely sliced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar to taste
1 T dried chilli flakes
1 T fish sauce
1 T lime juice
For garnish around your bowl of prepared Larb:
4 stems of saw coriander if you can get it – ( long leaves,looks like a saw) or regular coriander with stems
1/2 handful of green beans, thai basil, mint – whole and on stems
1/2 handful of carrot sticks, cucumber, cabbage, green beans
In a wok on medium heat, add a ladle of stock, shallots, chicken, salt, both the chopped fresh and dried chilli and fry
The stock will have reduced and be absorbed into the chicken, add a little more stock 1/2 a ladle, until chicken is just cooked – a few minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 ladle of stock.
Add the whole chilli and flakes, fish sauce, spring onions, fresh mint leaves, ( not the garnish mint as well!) and and then the prepared rice and herb powder bit by bit continually tossing in the wok.
Finally add the lime, sugar and fish sauce to taste.
Arrange the crudites around your dish, transfer the Larb from the wok to a bowl and devour!