I’m always looking for something to do with my leftovers and to be honest I am a bit surprised I had any leftovers from a recent Thai/Lao larb fest. I will also be honest and state that larb is probably one of my top 10…
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I will tell you that one of my favorite flavor combinations has to be that of the flavors of any Thai larb, or what some refer to as laap. Someone from Thailand, or from the Thai culture please chime in and let me know which it is, larb or laap. Please. I typically make pork or chicken larb as my kids totally love picking up the minced meat mixture with sticky rice, or placing it in lettuce wraps, but you can definitely go way beyond pork or chicken, and recently I decided to go with shrimp.
I’ve had larb with raw, minced beef (which was a bit of a shock but delicious), as well as cooked beef, and I will admit, however you want your larb, trust me, they are all freaking delicious. I say this because the fresh herbs and dressing that mixes into the larb is really the star of the show. I could just eat that stuff by the spoonful, or simply drizzle onto some rice, and I would be happy.
Let’s get started.
- 8-10 medium sized shrimp, peeled, and deveined
- 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, torn
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp palm sugar, or honey
- 2 tbsp fish sauce, (I like Red Boat, or 3 Crabs brand)
- 2 tbsp roasted rice powder
- 1/2 cup of shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 Thai bird chilies, diced, stems removed
- Small wedge of green cabbage
- 8-10 fresh green beans, trimmed
- Roasted Peanuts
- Sticky rice, optional
Start by adding your shrimp to a skillet. Add in water, enough to come half way up to the shrimp. Bring the heat to a medium, and simmer the shrimp, only cooking until slightly firm, and cooked through. This should only take a few minutes. Once cooked, strain and set the shrimp to a mixing bowl.
To another bowl, make the sauce.
Add the lime juice, shallot, Thai chilies, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Mix well until the sugar gets dissolved. Once dissolved, taste, and adjust any seasoning if you prefer. You might want a bit more fish sauce, sugar, or lime. The goal is a sweet, sour, spicy. Once you have achieved this, add in the mint, cilantro, and toasted rice powder. Give this a good stir.
Toss in the shrimp, and get ready to plate.
To your serving dish, add the peanuts, cabbage, and green beans. Add the shrimp larb to the other side, and eat by adding a bit to your green cabbage leaves, topping with some green beans for a slight bitter flavor, and eat with the peanuts.
The end result is nothing short of amazing in flavor. It packs the perfect punch in texture, spice, and overall balance, plus it is super fresh and healthy to boot. This is a perfect dish for any party or any day of the week. Hope you enjoy!
I was at the farmer’s market this past Saturday, browsing up and down the small parking lot. This is my Saturday routine. I love waking up early, hopefully taking a kid with me, getting on my bike, and riding a few miles to the market. As I talked to the farmers and compared prices, I was taken back by the huge bunch of Thai basil for only $1.00. I was sold. I began asking the two ladies about how they use Thai basil, my little trick to see what people are cooking. One immediately said, “I used in larb last night”. I don’t think they knew that I knew what larb was. I mean what suburban white boy knows what larb is, right? I came back and said “I love larb, did you use chicken, or beef?”. That is when she began talking about the grilled chicken larb. “The grilling adds a nice smokey flavor”. I was sold. I had grilled chicken larb on my mind.
I make larb every couple of months. Nothing beats the flavor and versatility of this minced meat dish. It’s spicy, sweet, and sour and can be eaten with regular jasmine rice, or better yet, sticky rice, or eaten alone or other ways. Let’s just say it’s great. My wife and kids really enjoy it so I wanted to see how this grilled chicken version would come out. The farmer seemed excited about it, so it had to be good.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 5 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 shallots, minced (approximately 3 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup of fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped
- 1/3 cup of toasted rice powder
- 2-5 Thai chile peppers, minced (spice to your liking)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tbsp palm sugar, or regular sugar
- 2 whole limes, juiced
- Cooked rice, jasmine or sticky rice
- Black Pepper
Get your coals nice and hot. Again, I used charcoal when cooking on the grill. Cooking over charcoal is desired for that smoky and char flavor you will not get from a gas grill.
Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Throw them on the grill and cook them, flipping every few minutes until cooked through. Remove from the grill and chop it into small pieces.
Add about 1/2 cup of uncooked jasmine rice to a skillet. Cook the rice in a dry skillet for about 15 minutes, tossing it along the way. Your goal is to brown the rice to a deep, golden color. Once you get to that state, add the rice to a coffee grinder or blender. Pulse until you have a course powder.
Add the oil to a large skillet and warm it to a medium, high heat. Once the oil is heated, add in the chopped chicken.
Add in all of the remaining ingredients, and give it a good mix. If you are serving kids, I would suggest removing the chile peppers from this recipe, or divide the mixture before adding the chile peppers. I would recommend 1-2 chile peppers for the mild at heart, and 3-4 chile peppers for those that love the heat. Regardless if it is one chile or four, the balance is perfect.
Serve the grilled chicken larb in a small bowl with a side of rice. Dig in. The sweet, salty, and spice is just something out of this world, and I think you would agree. So, the next time you are at your farmer’s market, start a conversation. You might be fortunate to learn about something new. This grilled chicken larb will be my go to larb recipe now as she was right, the grilled chicken does add great flavor. Hope you enjoy.