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Thai Crab Salad in Endive Leaves


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#1 Blue Heron

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 09:31 AM

Rachel asked that I post on the cooking forum the following recipe that I served at our Seattle eGullet potluck on Oct. 10 that Jason attended. These are light, refreshing and yummy! I hope others will post or link to their yummy potluck recipes, as well! Everthing there was a standout!

Thai Crab Salad in Endive Leaves - makes about 24 filled leaves

2 (or 3) red chilies, cored, seeded & finely chopped (I substituted green serrano as I couldn't find red)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 inches of lemongrass, very finely chopped (I used the inside tender part).

grated zest & juice of 1 lime (I only used the juice, but I think the zest would be a nice addition)

1 T. fish sauce

1/2 C. canned coconut milk

1 tsp. sugar

1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped, or 2 green onions finely sliced (I used shallot)

salt to taste

3 1/2 C. cooked crabmeat or shelled deveined shrimp, finely chopped (I only used crab, but I think shrimp would make a good substitute if you don't have crab)

1 bunch basil, preferably Asian basil, torn (I used Thai basil)

1 bunch cilantro leaves, torn, plus extra to top (I chopped coarsely)

Belgian endive leaves, preferably red, or mini Little Gem lettuce leaves, to serve (I used green belgian endive, as that's all I could find)

The recipe calls for putting 1 of the chopped chili, garlic, lemongrass, lime zest & juice, fish sauce, coconut milk, & sugar into a bowl & mix well until the sugar dissolves (but I used both chili's as they seemed mild enough). Taste & adjust seasonings.

Fold in the crabmeat or chopped shrimp and chopped herbs, then spoon about 1 T. in the base of each endive or lettuce leaf (I filled the entire endive with the crab mixture instead). Serve topped with finely chopped chili and torn cilantro leaves.

Tips:
When I made this salad, the coconut milk and lime juice caused it to be kind of juicy. This may have been because I used lite coconut milk (as that's what I had on hand). I think next time I would use regular coconut milk. Also next time, I would use a sieve to separate the crab salad from the marinade mix, when it comes time to fill the leaves. It's fine to make the crab salad a few hours ahead of time, although I would wait to fill the leaves just before serving, as the endive will lose crispness if filled and refrigerated too far in advance.

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Fingerfood by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern/Time-Life Books.

Below is a picture of my Thai Crab Salad in Endive Leaves.


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#2 tommy

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 09:38 AM

oh my god it looks and sounds heavenly.

i'm tempted to try this sans coconut milk. perhaps adding some lime juice and making the mixture more "larb-like." any thoughts?

#3 Blue Heron

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 09:51 AM

oh my god it looks and sounds heavenly.  

i'm tempted to try this sans coconut milk.  perhaps adding some lime juice and making the mixture more "larb-like."  any thoughts?

Thanks! However, I don't know what larb-like means. :blink:

Unless you are allergic to coconut milk, I don't think you need to skip it. When I used the lite coconut milk, I couldn't even taste it as a separate ingredient. It all melds very well into into a complex flavor with everyonce in awhile getting a tiny hit of lemongrass, chili, basil, or cilantro. In otherwords, I couldn't detect the coconut. I think you could skip it though if you like without any harm. I used a large lime rather than a small, so mine was quite limey, I think. :rolleyes:

#4 tommy

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 09:59 AM

ok, if it's not too assertive, then that's perfect. 1/2 cup does indeed seem like very little, and probably acts more as a sweetener and binder. ok then.
i'm looking forward to trying this. perfect finger foods i'd say.

#5 Blue Heron

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 10:19 AM

Now that I think about it again, I think you could also try cutting the coconut milk by half, to make it 1/4 C., and see how that works, and if you need to, then add the other 1/4 C. I think the coconut milk also acts to cut the acidity of the lime juice a bit, too. But you definitely need to strain the crab mixture a little bit from the marinade when you fill the endive, to avoid them from being too juicy, which was the only problem with them I had.

I'm going to try making them with shrimp next, and see how that tastes, too.

#6 tommy

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 11:38 AM

But you definitely need to strain the crab mixture a little bit from the marinade when you fill the endive, to avoid them from being too juicy, which was the only problem with them I had.

that was my concern. (straining)

for me, i wouldn't want to cut the acidity. although, in this application (as an app), the sweetness and creaminess might be a good idea. offsetting the bitterness of the endive is probably a good idea as well.

clearly i will be experimenting.

as an aside, i had no choice but to have larb (laab) for lunch today after reading this thread. yummy.

larb is minced pork or chicken, fish sauce, lime juice, chilis, cilantro, lettuce, and ground roasted rice. and maybe a few other things. so zippy and refreshing. and so tasty. :wacko:

#7 malarkey

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 07:33 PM

thanks for posting this BH!! I can't wait to make it at home. it was SO yummy.

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#8 torakris

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for posting this, My friend and I will be making it tomorrow at our Thursaday Cooking Session.

A good friend and I get together every Thursday and make lunch for ourselves (usually two dishes and a dessert) using recipes that for one reason or another we wouldn't make for our family.

We used to try to have Dinner/BBQ's together once to twice a month and try out new recipes there, but between the 2 of us we have 8 kids under the age of 6 and it just tended to get chaotic.
So so we do Thursday lunches when we each only have one child with us.

So anyway I have decided to make this crab recipe and pair it with winter squash soup with lemon grass and coconut milk (from Deborah Madison) and for dessert a mint chocolate mousse (from Nigella Lawson).

Thanks again and keep the recipes coming!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
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#9 Blue Heron

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 08:09 PM

torakris, let us know how they turn out, as well as the squash soup and mint chocolate mousse which also sound delicious. I think you will like them. If you use regular coconut milk, please let us know if you can taste the coconut flavor, or if it all melds together the way it did when I used the lite coconut milk.

I think it's great that you get together with your friend every week to try out new recipes and have lunch together. Good break for you, too!

#10 tommy

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 05:24 AM

blue, to clarify, you used canned lite coconut milk. the question is, did you shake the can or otherwise mix the milk in with the cream?

#11 Blue Heron

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 06:56 AM

blue, to clarify, you used canned lite coconut milk.  the question is, did you shake the can or otherwise mix the milk in with the cream?

Yes, I shook the can of lite coconut milk (a Thai brand) and mixed it up before I used it. It was still pretty thin though (since with the lite there's not much that separates) and maybe that is what added to the overly juiciness of the crab mixture. I'd be curious to see how it turns out with regular canned coconut milk, which I think is thicker. Either way, I don't think you can go wrong on this one.

Also, regarding the crab... I used fresh dungeness, as that's what we have on the west coast. I think any kind of fresh crab will work well... or shrimp.

Also, the larb sounds right up my alley. mmmm.

#12 tommy

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 07:11 AM

larb

larb

i'm not a religious man, but i'm pretty sure that if there is a heaven, larb came from it.

#13 Jinmyo

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 07:34 AM

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Larb!
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#14 Blue Heron

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:17 AM

I'm officially on a larb quest! I wonder why I never knew about this before? I think I need to get out more often! If I don't find this in one of our zillion local Thai restaurants I'm heading over to my Thai friend's house to make some with her. :wink:

#15 tommy

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:21 AM

you have a thai friend and never heard of larb? some friend. :wink:

larb! (laab!)

make sure it's "wet." i don't like dry larb.

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#16 Blue Heron

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:29 AM

Yikes that looks good! I'm calling her today!

#17 tommy

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:40 AM

Yikes that looks good!  I'm calling her today!

you can make it yourself you know. it's super easy. :wink:

i wouldn't be concerned with the kaffir lime leaf if you don't have any. and pickled chilis works as well in this application as fresh.

#18 nightscotsman

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 09:02 AM

Blue Heron: The new Thai restaurant on Broadway, "Simply Paradise" has larb on the menu. I hadn't had it before and I liked it, but mamster wasn't impressed (he says his is better. I say put up or shut up :wink:). Other items we had were really good and the place itself is more upscale and sophisticated feeling than the ususal Seattle Thai restaurant.

Also, if you do make it at home, Uwajimaya carries kaffer lime leaves.

#19 torakris

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 12:50 AM

torakris,  let us know how they turn out, as well as the squash soup and mint chocolate mousse which also sound delicious.  I think you will like them.  If you use regular coconut milk, please let us know if you can taste the coconut flavor, or if it all melds together the way it did when I used the lite coconut milk.

I think it's great that you get together with your friend every week to try out new recipes and have lunch together.  Good break for you, too!

Well I made them!!!

Absolutely wonderful, both my friend and I devoured them loving every bite.
I used regular coconut milk, shaking the can well before using, butter did not really detect a coconut taste. Actually no one taste was prevalent they all just blended. (Can you tell why I will never be a food writer, or any type of writer at that?) I also had almost no juice left over at the bottom of the bowl, maybe just a little more than a teaspoon.

The rest of lunch was equally fabulous. The soup, winter squash soup with lemongrass and coconut milk, complimented the crab well. I felt it could have been helped by a little kaffir lime leaf (coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal yet no lime leaf?)
The small amount leftover is going to be made into a Thai style curry with chicken, mushrooms, onion, chiles and of course a couple lime leaves thrown in.

The mint chocolate mousse was beyond words and all I can say is get Nigella Lawson's new book NOW!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
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#20 mb7o

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 01:13 AM

Tommy, Larp is actually Lao, so it's not neccessarily surprising her friend doesn't talk about it.

Here's another dish which might be Lao or Northern Thai. It's very good and easy to make.

Steamed Curry Fish (har mok plaa)

200 g freshwater fish fillet in thin slices
1 Tbsp red curry paste
2 Tbsp coconut cream (this is the fatty half of the can, don't shake it.)
1/2 a beaten egg
(1 tsp?) fish sauce
1 Kaffier lime leaf, shredded & stem removed
20 sweet basil leaves

mix together curry, coconut milk, egg, fish sauce
add fish, lime leaf, some basic leaves, mix again.
put in bowl or banana leaf basket (or foil or parchment basket. i use small ones and line the bottom with basil leaves; last time I used muffin papers, which worked but wilted)
steam for (10? 20?) minutes
remove from heat, garnish with more coconut milk and basil. (i haven't remembered to do this step yet)

i throw everything in the blender to mix it, traditionally I think it would be done with mortar and pestle.

#21 mamster

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 06:27 AM

Larb is from Laos originally, but it's extremely popular in central Thailand, so while it might not be home cooking to a Bangkokian, it's definitely something they're familiar with. mb7o, I'm going to make your recipe, but do you know if any place in Seattle serves har mok?

Actually I was just going to mention that BH's crab salad is even better than you all think it is. What a great dish.
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#22 Blue Heron

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 08:37 AM

torakris - I'm glad to hear you liked the crab salad! Thank's for the tips on Nigella's mint chocolate mousse, too.

mb7o -that Steamed Curry Fish recipe looks really good. I'd like to try it, too. Especially now I know I can get kaffir lime leaves at Uwajimaya.

nightscotsman & mamster - where on Broadway is the new "Simply Paradise" Thai restaurant? mamster, did you like it better than the other place on Broadway that you like a lot?

I talked to my Thai girlfriend from Bangkok and believe it or not she's never made larb! She said her mom has made it before, and asked me for the recipes tommy provided, so she can make some. So mamster was totally right about larb not being something a homecook in Bangkok might make regularly. I'm also sending her tommy & Jinmyo's pictures of it, too.

#23 nightscotsman

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 08:42 AM

nightscotsman & mamster - where on Broadway is the new "Simply Paradise"

It's right across from the Broadway Market, where World Wraps used to be.

#24 mb7o

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 10:35 AM

Yes, Lao or Issan food is popular in Bangkok. Som tom, certain types of grilled chicken, larp, all qualify.

And lots of people especially in the city don't cook anything at home. Apartments apparently don't even typically have kitchens, though there are stores where you can buy the latest and fanciest western kitchen equipment if you have the money.

Typhoon serves har mok talay (talay = seafood, pla = fish). But instead of being almost souflee like, it was more like a sauce on a platter. My friends and I like 'my' version much better.

Edit: To find it in your town, try Amazon Menus. Scary, but it found two more restaurants in seattle with it on the menu! (I searched for "mok")

#25 Schielke

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 10:48 AM

Im gonna get myself some Larb for lunch. I think they have it at the Thai place here in Mukilteo.

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#26 tommy

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 10:57 AM

am i sensing some sort of larb movement in the northwest? if so, i'm honored and thrilled to be a part of it, even if it's just virtually.

#27 Blue Heron

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Posted 23 October 2002 - 10:28 PM

I had my first larb tonight at the new place up on Broadway. I wasn't expecting it to be a salad. Somehow I mistakenly thought tommy's picture showed noodles. I kept asking if they make one with noodles, and the Thai fellow kept insisting no noodles ever. Anyway, I liked it, however there wasn't enough cabbage or lettuce served with mine, so I was able to take about 1/3 of it home and will supplement with more greens tomorrow. I'm anxious to try it at another place too for comparison, because as although this dish was very interesting when I first began it, I lost interest in it and it's taste somewhere along the way, and want to see if perhaps it was just this particular restaurant version that didn't keep my interest. The more I ate of this one, the more bitter or acidic or whatever, it became, I think. (and I normally like some bitter flavors). I think it might taste better wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

#28 tommy

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 05:22 AM

blue, you rarely find larb in a restaurants with noodles, despite what that picture shows. i actually make it with some noodle, as i love glass noodle, but it's not the standard.

most of the time, it will be served on a bed of lettuce. some ignore the lettuce, but i try to get some lettuce with every bite. in can range from very salad-y to being served sans lettuce altogether.

i can't think of any bitter elements in this dish. however, it's certainly sour, as a primary component is lime juice. it's one of those love-it-or-hate-it dishes i suppose. for me, i love it because of it's simplicity and sharpness. it' always a great balance (when done right) of salty, sour and hot...3 of the 5 or so primary components of most thai dish.

i hope you try it again elsewhere (and make it at home!)

#29 mamster

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 07:03 AM

I'm sensing a PNW larb-party in the works. Heck, with election day coming up, I'll vote for anyone running on the Larb Party ticket.
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Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#30 tommy

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Posted 24 October 2002 - 07:12 AM

I'm sensing a PNW larb-party in the works.

i'm in.

hell, i'd be tempted to actually fly out for that.