Imagine the tang of lime and lemon lingering with fresh flavors of basil and coriander and the heat of ginger and garlic.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Although the name of this dish- larb- leaves much to be desired, it could not be more jammed packed with flavor.
Larb has roots in Thai cooking but is easy to reproduce in North America. It is quick to make and can be served at room temperature - perfect for summer!
Here is my version of chicken larb.
Makes 4 servings
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 small red onion, minced
2 green onions, sliced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced (or 1 tsp dry)
1 (4-inch) piece lemongrass, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 Thai chile or 1 serrano chile, stemmed and thinly sliced (optional)
~600g of ground chicken (or turkey, or pork, or tofu)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
3 tbsp fresh chives, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp honey or sugar
2 cups sticky rice, prepared
20-30 leaves of lettuce like Boston or Romaine
-Heat the oil over medium heat and soften the onions, ginger, chile, lemongrass and garlic (about 5 min)
-Add the ground meat and cook until done. Season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat.-Mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the meat. Add in all the herbs and toss to mix.
-serve with sticky rice and lettuce cups. You can use Boston lettuce, romaine or even iceburg. Use the lettuce as a vehicle for rice and chicken.
Note: to be honest, I don't love spicy food, so I leave out the chile. Also, I rarely have lemongrass in the house so I substitute for lemon thyme, lemon zest or sometimes nothing at all. Lastly, I use what herbs I have on hand- so sometimes I have them all and other times I have only a few mentioned.
P.S. Don't be scared of fish sauce! It is super cheap to buy and adds a ton of flavor that is not too fishy.