Thursday, March 5, 2015

Recipe: Larb

Not everyday do we have the luxury to spends hours in the kitchen simmering soups or roasting delicious cuts of meat. So here is one of my quick and easy, go-to recipes that you will definitely come back to.

1/2 lb Ground Chicken
1 small Onion (1/2 large onion)
8 Mushrooms (button, crimini, baby bella)
1 large Shallot (4-5 small)
3 cloves of Garlic
1 Red Chili Pepper
Vietnamese/Thai basil
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce
Fish Sauce
Chicken Bouillon

Cornstarch Slurry (water + cornstarach)
Iceberg Lettuce
Hoisin Sauce
Sriracha Sauce

-Not a fan of spicy? Use red bell peppers instead!
-Big fan of spicy? Add more red chili peppers, hot pepper flakes, or Thai red hot pepper flakes!
-Aiming for authenticity? Add toasted sticky rice!
-Try mixing in mint to change it up!
-Have green onions? Chop them up and add them in too! Because why not?
-Not a fan of chicken? Try pork, beef or turkey!
-Prepare mise en place!

-Over do the cornstarch slurry.

The Meat:
Start by seasoning your mince with pepper, sesame oil, and chopped garlic (no salt! We're adding a good amount of salt later in this recipe, so hold off for now). Sear on high heat with your choice of cooking oil until half way cooked. Remove the meat from your pan and keep in a separate bowl for now.

The Vegetables:
Dice all of your vegetables and add them to your pan. Season with a dash of fish sauce, soy sauce, and a tsp of chicken bouillon. As soon as your vegetables begin releasing water, add your minced meat back into the pan and mix. Add in Vietnamese Basil (other aromatics of your choice). The entire dish is ready to serve as soon as everything is cooked through!

See all that liquid that has been cooked out of your vegetables? You can turn all that liquid into a delicious gravy sauce. Push all of the solid food out of the way to form a well on the bottom of the pan. Stir in some cornstarch slurry (water + cornstarch) and cook until the sauce thickens. Be careful with this stuff! It doesn't thicken right away and needs to be cooked on heat to fully take effect. Don't over do the thickening process, or you're going to end up with a gummy, jelly-like sauce.

I love eating this dish with iceberg lettuce. Simply tear off a leaf, spoon some larb on top and eat! Although not authentic, adding a bit of hoisin sauce and sriracha on each bite is absolutely amazing. The fresh crunch of the lettuce contrasts the meaty mince extremely well. Best of all? Larb can be cooked in less than 30 minutes, holds well in the refrigerator, and can be served on rice, tofu, and noodles (the possibilities are endless)!

On a side note, Larb is a great dish to add to any diet, providing excellent sources of protein and vegetables, with a low carb count.

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