Thai cuisine is known for its balance of five fundamental flavors in each dish or the overall meal - hot ( spicy ), sour, sweet, salty and bitter. Although popularly considered as a single cuisine, Thai food is really better described as four regional cuisines corresponding to the four main regions of the country: Northern, Northeastern ( or Isan ), Central and Southern. Southern curries, for example, tend to contain coconut milk and fresh turmeric, while northeastern dishes often include lime juice.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Laab, also known as Larb and Laap, is a northeastern food. It usually eaten as a part of a set (laab, papaya salad and sticky rice.) The set is accompanied by string beans, sliver of cabbage, water spinach and Thai basil. It can be served as an appetizer. It can also be served as a main course along with other non-northeastern food.
There are variations of laab, duck laab, chicken laab. Some people like my sister love to include a few pieces of liver in laab.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, minced in food processor (do not sub ground chicken, it is too fatty!)
1 tablespoon roasted rice powder (available in Asian markets or you can make your own by roasting raw rice in a dry skillet till brown)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 spring onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste
thinly sliced cabbage or lettuce, for serving
fresh cilantro stem, for garnish
Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat, no oil necessary.
Add chicken, stir until cooked through.
Remove from heat, drain excess liquid.
Add fish sauce and lime juice.
Toss all together with cilantro, onion, shallots, mint, cayenne, rice powder, and ground chile/garlic paste.
Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve immediately over lettuce leaves or thinly sliced cabbage.
Garnish with cilantro sprigs.