Shrimp Larb – ‘Larb Goong’

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.

Shrimp Larb Recipe

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.

Ingredients:

 

  • 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
  • Water

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.

How to make shrimp larb

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!

 

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

One of my wife’s favorite Asian appetizers, besides Filipino lumpia is probably shrimp spring rolls. They are always a big hit at family gatherings, and they are pretty awesome as they are essentially a salad roll. What is also great about these, is that you can pretty much make them however you want, and I love that about them. Vietnamese spring rolls are typically served with a dipping sauce, either a peanut based sauce or nuoc cham which is the sauce that I prefer to eat with the spring rolls.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

The spring rolls do take a bit of preparation as you have to slice carrots, and rinse and dry your fresh herbs and lettuce, but trust me, it’s worth the time.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of spring roll rice paper
  • 4 bundles of Asian vermicelli noodles, cooked in hot water for 3 minutes, placed in cool water, drained
  • 1/2 head of red leaf lettuce
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julienne sliced
  • 1 pound of shrimp, tails removed, deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large bowl warm water
  • Lightly moistened paper towels

Again, the prep takes a bit of time, however if you have any helpers, you can always reward them in a short period of time.

Start by adding the soy sauce and lime juice to a bowl. Stir, then toss in the shrimp. Stir again, and let this marinate for about 20 minutes or so, covered in the refrigerator.

Next arrange all of your vegetables and herbs.

Strain the cooked vermicelli, and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.

Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, move it around, then add in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until just orangish in color and opaque on both sides, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp from the skillet, and set aside on a plate to cool.

Once cooked, slice each shrimp in half, lengthwise.

Now the fun part, wrapping.

How to make Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Get a large bowl of warm water ready.

Get a wrapping buddy if you can as it will make this go by a lot quicker. I enlisted by son who had a blast.

Take a spring roll wrapper, and gently submerge it in the warm water for about 30 seconds.

Add the wrapper to a plate and let it sit for about 45 more seconds. The coating on the wrapper that was once hard, will soften and allow you to begin working with it. I like to keep an edge of the wrapper slightly off of the plate so that I can start the folding process a lot easier.

If you let the wrapper sit in the water too long, it will get too soft and not easy to work with.

To the wrapper, add a bit of the cooked noodles, a couple of carrots, a couple of bell peppers, a couple of cucumbers, some fresh herbs, the lettuce, and  bean sprouts. Fold over, then fold over the edges. Take two of the sliced shrimps and place in the center, then continue to fold.  You can also fold them this way should you prefer. After a couple of them, you will get the hang of it.

Place these onto a plate of platter lightly moistened paper towels. This prevents the wrappers from hardening up.

Next, repeat.  Once you have another layer, add the lightly moistened paper towels once again.

Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Serve alongside nuoc cham, or if you want, make the peanut sauce. I like mine with a bit of that great garlic spice with fish sauce and vinegar, hence the nuoc cham.

If you want, go ahead and slice them in half, or serve them whole. Either way, spoon a bit of the sauce into the spring roll, and dig in. It truly is a perfect bite with the noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables, and shrimp, heck even my kid who is skeptical of vegetables, especially red bell peppers, was devouring them.

If you are looking for something to bring to your next party, give these a shot. They are a real crowd pleasure, and pretty to boot! Hope you enjoy!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizers
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of spring roll rice paper
  • 4 bundles of Asian vermicelli noodles, cooked in hot water for 3 minutes, placed in cool water, drained
  • ½ head of red leaf lettuce
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julienne sliced
  • 1 pound of shrimp, tails removed, deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large bowl warm water
  • Lightly moistened paper towels
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the soy sauce and lime juice to a bowl. Stir, then toss in the shrimp. Stir again, and let this marinate for about 20 minutes or so, covered in the refrigerator.
  2. Next arrange all of your vegetables and herbs.
  3. Strain the cooked vermicelli, and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
  4. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, move it around, then add in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until just orangish in color and opaque on both sides, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp from the skillet, and set aside on a plate to cool.
  5. Once cooked, slice each shrimp in half, lengthwise.
  6. Now the fun part, wrapping.
  7. Get a large bowl of warm water ready.
  8. Get a wrapping buddy if you can as it will make this go by a lot quicker. I enlisted by son who had a blast.
  9. Take a spring roll wrapper, and gently submerge it in the warm water for about 30 seconds.
  10. Add the wrapper to a plate and let it sit for about 45 more seconds. The coating on the wrapper that was once hard, will soften and allow you to begin working with it. I like to keep an edge of the wrapper slightly off of the plate so that I can start the folding process a lot easier.
  11. If you let the wrapper sit in the water too long, it will get too soft and not easy to work with.
  12. To the wrapper, add a bit of the cooked noodles, a couple of carrots, a couple of bell peppers, a couple of cucumbers, some fresh herbs, the lettuce, and bean sprouts. Fold over, then fold over the edges. Take two of the sliced shrimps and place in the center, then continue to fold. You can also fold them this way should you prefer. After a couple of them, you will get the hang of it.
  13. Place these onto a plate of platter lightly moistened paper towels. This prevents the wrappers from hardening up.
  14. Next, repeat. Once you have another layer, add the lightly moistened paper towels once again.
  15. Serve alongside nuoc cham, or if you want, make the peanut sauce. I like mine with a bit of that great garlic spice with fish sauce and vinegar, hence the nuoc cham.
  16. If you want, go ahead and slice them in half, or serve them whole. Either way, spoon a bit of the sauce into the spring roll, and dig in. It truly is a perfect bite with the noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables, and shrimp, heck even my kid who is skeptical of vegetables, especially red bell peppers, was devouring them.

 

Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Vietnamese shaking beef, known as Bo Luc Lac is a beef salad that you must make. I say this because it is loaded with awesome flavor, texture, and is just a great dish to share with your friends and family. Typically this beef salad uses beef tenderloin, however many Vietnamese folks might not have access to that cut of beef, and hence why I tend to use a cut such as sirloin, marinated for hours to help tenderize it, and then quickly cooked in a very hot skillet or wok.

The beef is marinated in some of my favorite Asian sauces including oyster sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce, along with garlic and lots of cracked black pepper. Trust me on this one, it is really, really good, and I haven’t even mentioned the dressing that goes along with it!

Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Let’s get started:

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp Mirin or sweet rice wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Ingredients for the beef and salad:

  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 lbs top sirloin steak, fat trimmed, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups watercress
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts

Start by marinating your meat. You can do this for four hours, or overnight, which I prefer to do. Add the cubed beef to a large ziplock bag. In a small mixing bowl, add the garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and cracked black pepper and mix until everything is incorporated. Add this to the ziplock bag, seal, and toss the beef in the marinade, gently massaging along the way. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Next, make the dressing. To a small mixing bowl, add the dressing ingredients, and mix to dissolve the sugar. Seal and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the salad.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef Ingredients

When the beef is done marinating, remove and let it come up to room temperature, or long enough to take the chill off of it.

Heat a large wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Let this heat up for a few minutes, then add in the canola oil. Let the oil heat up for about a minute, then add the beef. I should say add the beef, enough to not over crowd the skillet. You can do this in batches if you prefer.How to make Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Keep shaking the skillet, back and forth, moving the beef. Let it get a nice sear on the outside, and cook to your desired doneness. I tend to go medium on my beef. Once cooked, remove the beef onto a plate. Repeat if necessary.

To another bowl, add the watercress. Add about 5 tablespoons of the dressing onto the watercress, and give a gentle toss.

To your serving dish, add the watercress. Place the beef on top of the watercress, and add the tomatoes, peanuts, and I like to add some of the remaining shallots from the dressing on top of the beef.

The result is truly a great salad. The presentation is so inviting, and the flavors are perfectly balanced. Sweet, a bit bitter from the watercress, and then the awesome Asian flavors from the beef marinade. My wife and I devoured this salad and both agreed that it would be a hit at any dinner table. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Cucumber Salad

It’s official, it’s spring time in the United States! For you warmer climate states, that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, but to us Northerners, it means a great deal. It’s the first time we can see our yards, granted they are littered with winter debris, and the color of brown grass is not appealing, but we will take what we can get! With spring time said, it is that time where the chili dishes take a step to the side, and where other brighter dishes take a step forward, for example, this dish, the Thai cucumber salad.

I’ve made this recipe numerous times and I’m surprised I have never posted on the matter, as after all this salad is bright, diverse, easy to make, and super delicious. Need I say more?

Thai Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole cucumber, partially peeled, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Thai chili sauce
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional
  • Fresh cilantro, optional
  • roasted peanuts, optional

Start by adding the sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, add the chili sauce, and let cool.

How to make Thai Cucumber Salad

Once cooled, add the cucumbers and red onion to a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and gently stir. Let this sit for about 30 minutes, or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, feel free to sprinkle with roasted peanuts and fresh herbs such as mint, or cilantro, however without these, this salad stands tall.

The great thing about this salad is that you can serve it with practically anything. It is really perfect as an accompaniment to pretty much everything. It’s flavors are sweet with just that subtle amount of heat from the chili sauce. You can use the cucumbers and onions on sandwiches, as a side to grilled meats for vegetables, on omelets, or what I did, and serve with a side of seared tuna.

However you decide to serve it, I’m certain you are going to love this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Cucumber Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole cucumber, partially peeled, sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Thai chili sauce
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, add the chili sauce, and let cool.
  2. Once cooled, add the cucumbers and red onion to a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and gently stir. Let this sit for about 30 minutes, or overnight.
  3. When you are ready to serve, feel free to sprinkle with roasted peanuts and fresh herbs such as mint, or cilantro, however without these, this salad stands tall.
  4. The great thing about this salad is that you can serve it with practically anything. It is really perfect as an accompaniment to pretty much everything. It’s flavors are sweet with just that subtle amount of heat from the chili sauce. You can use the cucumbers and onions on sandwiches, as a side to grilled meats for vegetables, on omelets, or what I did, and serve with a side of seared tuna.