Thursday, August 14, 2014

Larb, Hollywood, and Fast Friday!


It's been a long time since I've done a Fast Friday but I find myself again in Phoenix. We are making headway and managed to clear out many of the garage cabinets. I think my mother must have saved every vase that was ever given to her. She also had numerous clay pots of every size and shape. And yes, many of them, never held a plant! I don't even want to go into the carry on bags that accumulated over the years before wheels on bags had yet to be invented. But that is behind us now and tomorrow we can move into the air conditioning! Thank goodness for that!

Recently my mom found out that she is prediabetic which means no sugar, flour or grains. I am not quite understanding the rationale of some of this, but she is doing what she is told. She finds breakfast the hardest meal to eat, because she misses her toast. I am going to make her this egg casserole, which I think will be a nice change from scrambled eggs. And I am going to make her today's recipe, just because it is so good.



Larb isn't an easy sell when it comes to its name. Really Hollywood does a much better job promoting second rate actors. Larb just sounds kind of lardy and who wants to eat that. But after one bite, you will love me. I promise. This is a great dish. Now if one could just think of a better way to promote it. Perhaps Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt feeding each other spoonfuls of larb? Maybe...

Larb is a minced meat salad, often thought to be from Thailand but it is actually the national dish of Laos. Frankly, I don't care where it's from, as long as I can eat it. This is a great summer dish and so easily prepared. It is perfect to keep in your fridge for something healthy and easily snacked on. Perfect wrapped in a lettuce leaf or even in a tortilla; it can also be served over steamed rice. Dice up a few mangoes for a side salad and one has a perfect meal on a hot summer's day! 

Feel free to use any ground meat in this dish. You could use already ground chicken, beef, pork or turkey if you want to skip the food processor, but I like the grinding of the chicken with all the spices. It seems to blend everything together well. This dish has lots of salty tanginess and frankly makes the best lettuce wrap I've had in awhile. However I must tell you that it also tasted great straight out of a container that sat in the fridge for a few days. Nothing was lost in translation! Just add a squirt of sriracha and a few ground peanuts and you won't need air conditioning any more! 



Chicken Larb
From: From Away
Yield: About 4 servings
Ingredients:
Dressing:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar


For the chicken:
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons lemongrass paste
Zest from one lime
1 small red Thai chile, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
8 small iceberg lettuce or hearts of romaine leaves
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Sriracha, to taste
Cilantro leaves and stems, roughly torn

Mix up dressing ingredients and set aside.
Place chicken, shallot, lemongrass paste, zest of a lime, chile, garlic, fish sauce, salt, and 1 T of oil in food processor. Pulse until meat is minced. Do not over process or this will make the mixture too fine.
Heat remaining oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken mixture and cook until chicken starts to brown, breaking up meat as it cooks. When finished cooking, stir in dressing and top with peanuts, cilantro and a good squirt of sriracha! Serve with lettuce leaves to wrap or over rice.

Other great Asian dishes:


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27 comments:

  1. No grain, no bread...that's going to be hard for your mom..and it takes time to adjust to new diet. Your ground chicken larb looks very delicious, Abbe. It reminds me of my favourite lettuce wraps.

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    1. It does take time, but hopefully she will be able to add it back! In the meantime, I think these lettuce wraps might help!

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  2. Yeah, "larb" doesn't sound nearly as appetizing as it looks! Glad you're making some progress at your parents' home. I can totally relate. The closing on my parents' house is today...bittersweet as it was where we all grew up!

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    1. Oh Liz, that's difficult! I remember when my parents sold the house I grew up in. I felt like I didn't have place to go. Good thoughts, I'm sending your way!

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  3. Cleaning out a garage in a hot Phoenix summer? You are a trooper! Since you're up to speed on this cleaning out thing, we've got a basement you could tackle. In case you need additional amusement. ;-) Anyway, great dish! I've had it, but for some reason have never made it. Need to add it to that long list of things I'll make someday. I hope. ;-) Good post -- thanks.

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    1. Jeez! I still have my own basement to tackle! Make this John. It doesn't disappoint!

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  4. Since my husband is on low sodium, I was going to add some fish sauce to our potstickers earlier this week - holy sodium! I think one teaspoon was 1300 mg?

    Hmm. I am not sure why your Mom can't have toast because she's prediabetic. Basically she just has to eat a protein with the carb so that she doesn't spike her blood sugar.

    So she could have 1/2 a bagel if it had an egg and cheese on it - or a schmear of cream cheese. She just shouldn't eat all carbs, like a bagel with butter, or some pasta with butter.

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    1. I believe that about fish sauce. She went to a dietician and I think I am going to call to see what the rationale is. And I am going to get her to start reading your blog!

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  5. You've sold me Abbe - it sounds pretty amazing and especially since it is a Thai recipe - love the stuff! Your mom is a very lucky lady. So happy you are able to help her and hope you get air conditioning again soon. I hear it has been hot out there. Have a great weekend!

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  6. This is way too yummy not to try. I've got this recipe saved ...and I really love the bowl, Abbe. It's beautiful!

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  7. Chicken larb is right up my alley. I love Asian food. Will you make it for me this weekend? Love, Mom

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  8. When I first heard of Larb I just did a double take. Why would anyone have something called Larb on the menu. But you are right. One bite and you are hooked.
    Sorry to hear about your mom's pre diabetes. But I think you should check with her dietician as to why she can't have wholesome grains.

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  9. I am sold on larb-- any meal that tastes just as good, if not better, after a day or so in the fridge is one for me. I tend to make meals that last me for a few days and this fits the bill perfectly.

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  10. Haha I think larb sounds super funny so I would try it because of that - and because your dish looks fantastic :D
    Wow stay hydrated, sounds like a lot of work in the heat!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  11. I love larb salad! I did scratch my head a bit about your mother's diet. Even the low GI diabetic diet allows some grains. I think she needs to talk to a dietician. :)

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  12. I've been through this so many times; moving mom from the farm to an apartment, then to assisted living; then to Nursing home. It's a big job! And in the Arizona heat? yikes. Hats off to you. This meal looks delicious, but there's nothing like a piece of toast in the morning plus the kitchen smells so good as it toasts.

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  13. I haven't had larb since going veg, but I can tell your version is quite tasty!

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  14. Sorry to hear about your Mom's prediabetes. I cannot imagine life without sugar and flour for myself so I can imagine how hard it must be to have a complete change of diet. Love the dish you are making. What gorgeous flavours!

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  15. Larb is a new word that I will now add to my vocabulary due to this post!

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  16. I LOVE larb, but you are so hilariously right about what a terrible name that is! Really - I don't think even Brad and Angelina can salvage this one! One taste is all it takes, though - something this delicious can sell itself (even with a crummy name! :D ). Definitely pinning this yumminess ... and wishing it was my dinner!

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  17. I've seen larb on Thai menus, but being vegetarian, never had it. Your egg version sounds delicious. I'm sure you mom will love it :)

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  18. never made larb before.. i definitely need to give this recipe a go. looks delicious and the flavours sound incredible.

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  19. Abbe, love those healthy colours! So sorry to hear that your mom is a prediabetic. Are you using any stevia products? I'm giving away 4 sets of NuNaturals products & I'm sure these are useful for your mom & your baking/cooking. Try your luck, you'll may walk away with an entire set!

    I'm also following you now at GFC, & would love to have you follow me too :)

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  20. I love Asian food. I am not sure I have had a dish quite like this. But I sure want to! I pinned it.

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  21. Never heard of larb before but it sounds really good, and would love to try this dish very soon! Thanks Abbe!

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  22. making laap, you shouldn't have to use more sugar since fish sauce already has it in there. Most thais making this at home will not add sugar.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. What I have found here is that there is a huge variety of fish sauces out there. Some are Vietnamese and some are Thai and some are other. It depends what you have on hand. They all taste a bit different from each other so I suppose it is what you like. By all means though, feel free to leave it out and thanks for reading!

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