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Larb Laab Larp


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#1 tommy

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 06:45 PM

this thai dish really really needs it's own thread.

finally made it again tonite.

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this was the first time i used ground roasted rice. i do love that texture.

share your larb stories.

#2 Priscilla

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Posted 27 October 2002 - 10:33 PM

Wandering around Berkeley with friends, visiting iconic locations, we opted for this Thai place, for some reason I can't recall at the moment, but boy was I glad we did, had larb for the first time...just so delicious, and well, I thought (at the time) wow one is supposed to come to Berkeley to eat other stuff besides THIS but we had clearly stumbled, as sometimes happens, into the best possible option.

Open-air second-story patio affair, as I recall, put one in mind of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse at Disneyland, in fact, well-known, as we heard later, I recall, too, although just now I cannot remember the name but I'm sure it's very very famous and respected. I feel certain.

(However, near the Seattle area airport, SeaTac, there is a restaurant, Bai Tong, which--according to my sister the Seattle-area airline employee, and regular patron--was started largely to serve Thai Airways personnel, which has delicious Thai food, and while I'm not an expert by any means, to paraphrase former Chief Justice Warren Burger, one knows it when one sees it, wow is the food delicious. Nott sure I've had larb there however, now that I remind myself of the topic.)

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#3 Blue Heron

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 08:43 AM

tommy... your larb looks better than the larb I had the other night at the thai restaurant. Did you use the recipe that you linked to on the thai crab salad thread?
This one?

Do you ever make yours with ground pork or just ground chicken? Also, do you grind your own chicken, or buy pre-ground chicken?

I think the problem with the larb I had at the Thai restaurant was that there was tooo much raw onion in it and not enough spice/heat, as well as not enough lettuce for my taste. Also I did not detect any lemongrass, which I think would be nice in it, too. Your pictures and words of encouragement have inspired me to try and make it early this week. I will let you know how it goes.

#4 tommy

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 08:55 AM

blue,

the approach i used was similar to the one you linked. 'cept i didn't/don't use kaffir and sometimes don't bother with lemongrass, and, i add cilantro, mint and some red pepper for color/texture (now i see the recipe says to garnish with cilantro).

the proportions of fish sauce/stock/lime juice are very important for the correct balance. as you can see, that recipe calls for "2-3" Tbs of each. that's a lot of room to play with. i've found that lime juice and fish sauce can be half-and-half, or maybe a bit less fish sauce, depending on your taste.

until yesterday, i'd saute the pork (i use pork, and i grind it myself - a food processer works well for this) i a little oil. now i'll "poach" it in abot 5 Tbs of chicken stock/broth. i also throw in some minced garlic.

many restaurants don't serve this dish with lettuce, or much of it. i prefer more than less, so i plate accordingly.

this recipe calls for "ground chilis." i, however, use a mix of fresh thai chilis and "pickled" thai chilis. i find the fresh add a hotter and fruitier flavor than the pickled chilis, but the pickled chilis offer a nice acidic bite.

you say that the balance was off in the version you had. thai food is all about balance. so if you don't hit it 100% the first time, try again soon.

be sure to tell us how it went.

#5 snowangel

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 08:57 AM

The larb of my childhood, eaten in northern Thailand was made with raw pork, hand chopped, by a little old Thai woman squatting on the floor (the pork, however, was on a cutting board).
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#6 Blondie

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 09:18 AM

I’ve made larb twice in the last week or so since the crab salad thread appeared. I use ground pork and a variation on both of the linked recipes. Along with the lime juice and fish sauce I used kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, fresh and dried chiles, red and green onions, cilantro and mint. I wouldn’t even think about leaving out the ground roasted rice. It's easy to do and really enhances the dish. Both times I sauteed the pork, adding chopped garlic and ginger the second time. I'll try the "poaching" method next.

not enough lettuce for my taste.  

Inspired by the other thread, I served the larb in endive leaves after forgetting to pick up lettuce. Coincidentally the fisherman just brought me home a huge pile of Jonah crab claws so I’ll try the crab salad as well.
Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

#7 johnjohn

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 09:30 AM

Tommy - what type of rice did you use, and how did you grind it.

johnjohn

#8 tommy

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 09:50 AM

Tommy - what type of rice did you use, and how did you grind it.

jasmine perhaps. i have a spice grinder. a mortar and pestle would probably work, although it would take a bit more effort. you don't need much, however.

#9 torakris

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 04:35 AM

I LOVE LARB!!!!!

Well I have finally made it and am in love!
I used the recipe from Hot Sour Salty Sweet and again have found another winner the balance was perfect!
Lots of lettuce leaves are an absolute must, I also served it with some cucumber slices as well.
My husband raved as well.
Now I need to get in the kitchen and scrub the chicken pieces off the wall, I decided to mince the breasts myself with two knives the way I always watched Martin Yan do it.

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#10 Jason Perlow

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 05:55 AM

Seems to me, and I certainly could be, often am, wrong, but:  Could the Cham Am larb have been made with beef?  And not ground, but thinly thinly sliced?  And lots of herbs?  And could it have been more than a dozen years ago?  Imagine, the places I went as a mere child!

Larb is commonly made with Chicken, Beef or Pork. In the Pork version, little cubed peices of pork liver are also added.
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#11 mamster

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 08:03 AM

jasmine perhaps.  i have a spice grinder.  a mortar and pestle would probably work, although it would take a bit more effort.  you don't need much, however.

Tommy, you're a genius, but the truth must be known!

First of all, you can make rice powder with any rice, but the best and most widely used in Thailand is sticky rice. Toast it up in a dry pan (a little further than golden brown but not burned) and grind it in a coffee grinder. Perhaps your spice grinder is a coffee grinder.

Also, to my taste you can always improve a larb by adding thinly-sliced shallots rather than onion. Like most Thai salads, they key to great larb is seasoning it a lot--plenty of dressing, chiles, and rice powder. This is a really good larb neua recipe: http://www.recipesou...00/rec0054.html.

Have they ever made a coffee grinder that's easy to clean?
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#12 tommy

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 08:14 AM

Have they ever made a coffee grinder that's easy to clean?

my spice grinder works fine. and while we're telling the truth, i used some sort of indian rice because it's the only thing i had.

and i use shallot and not red onion. truthfully.

spice grinder:

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#13 Rhea_S

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 08:41 AM

I sometimes add thin cellophane noodles to larb. You pre-soak the noodles, cut them into short lengths and add to the meat while it's cooking. A shortcut to grinding your own rice powder is using glutinous rice flour (Mochiko). Once you toast the powder, it tastes almost exactly like the freshly ground and no messy coffee grinder.

#14 tommy

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 08:46 AM

I sometimes add thin cellophane noodles to larb. You pre-soak the noodles, cut them into short lengths and add to the meat while it's cooking. A shortcut to grinding your own rice powder is using glutinous rice flour (Mochiko). Once you toast the powder, it tastes almost exactly like the freshly ground and no messy coffee grinder.

rhea, does the rice flour offer the same texture as ground rice?

also, cellophane or glass noodles in larb is very nice.

in fact, another popular thai dish, yum woon sen, is glass noodle, ground chix or pork, with lime juice, fish sauce, shallot, etc. quite similar to larb i'd say, and very very tasty...if you like glass noodles that is.

#15 Priscilla

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 10:28 AM


Seems to me, and I certainly could be, often am, wrong, but:  Could the Cham Am larb have been made with beef?  And not ground, but thinly thinly sliced?  And lots of herbs?  And could it have been more than a dozen years ago?  Imagine, the places I went as a mere child!

Larb is commonly made with Chicken, Beef or Pork. In the Pork version, little cubed peices of pork liver are also added.

Thank you for that, Jason. I am pretty sure, peering back, back, back, through the mists of history, that this was beef. And so so so good.

Priscilla

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#16 Rhea_S

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 11:49 AM

rhea, does the rice flour offer the same texture as ground rice?

It depends on how finely you grind your rice. I usually grind mine very fine, so it ends up the same as the rice flour. Asian markets also sell toasted rice powder and it's the same texture as the home-roasted rice flour but doesn't taste nearly as good. I use home-toasted rice flour in yam neua (sp?), larb and yum woon sen more for flavour than texture. How finely do you grind your rice?

P.S. I completely forgot that larb + glass noodles = yum woon sen. And I cook the latter more frequently because I don't eat much meat.

#17 tommy

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 03:33 PM

rhea, i go for a big textural thing with ground rice...in this dish specifically. "flour" won't cut it for my needs. i need crunchy and stuff getting caught in my teeth. :biggrin: <== see, there's some in there right now. :smile:

#18 gknl

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Posted 11 November 2002 - 06:22 PM

Thanks for bringing the thread back up. I had larb for the first time last week at Tuk Tuk Thai in Berkeley. A Tuk Tuk is a little golf cart-type thing and they have one in the dining room. Nice place, bright, open dining room with a bar next to the open kitchen so you can see the chef cook. It's open late (rarity here in the Bay Area). Cheaper than most Thai places too. I went with my Thai friend (who I mentioned earlier) and whose roommate works there.

The Larb ($5.95) was a generous pile of chicken breast on chopped lettuce. The lime juice, chile, fish sauce, lemon grass dressing was perfectly balanced. The interspersed mint leaves gave nice flavor and textural accents.

I also had Guey Teaw Neau Sub ($5.50), a pile of sliced beef with a few vegetables in a sweet-spicey soy gravy-like sauce over rice noodles. The sweetness of that sauce contrasted nicely with the acidic bite of the larb.

We shared an order of vegetarian Tod Mun ($4.55), deep fried rounds of sweet potato in a crunchy coconut flavored batter, accompanied with a sweet dipping sauce.

I had bottled coconut palm juice ($1.50) to drink which was very good, but very sweet. It had a really nice caramelly aftertaste. My friend said it's not that common a beverage, most restaurants don't carry it. I would drink it again though.

It was great! Three things I'd never had before. The larb was the star though. It's definitely going on the must order list.

My friend works at a different Thai restaurant and said he copied down the larb recipe there, but forgot it. I should see him tomorrow though. He said I could post it because "larb is just home cooking and everyone knows how to make it in Thailand. It's nothing special." Sure tastes good though!

I also have Hot Sour Salty Sweetand will give their recipe a try too.

#19 tommy

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Posted 11 November 2002 - 06:47 PM

grant, do try to make it at home. it's simple and hard to mess up. the ingredients are available *anywhere*, which makes it even more special.

#20 torakris

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Posted 12 November 2002 - 04:21 PM

I posted it on the dinner thread, but......


I took some atsuage (thick deep fried tofu) and toasted it until it was crispy, then sliced it and topped it with red onions and garlic chives (no herbs in the house) and poured over a dressing of nampla, lime and sugar mixed with a little sweet chilli sauce.

I guess it would ahve been more larb like if I crumbled it but I wanted to make the most of the crispy exterior and the silky smooth insides.
It was really good!

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#21 tommy

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Posted 16 November 2002 - 10:57 PM

I guess it would ahve been more larb like if I crumbled it but I wanted to make the most of the crispy exterior and the silky smooth insides.

texture is more important than following rules. rules are for tourists. nicely done.

larb.

#22 snowangel

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Posted 16 November 2002 - 11:21 PM

Experience of growing up in Thailand suggests that "rules" don't necessarily apply. What applies is what sounds good, tastes good, has good texture, smells good, and is what you want. As Peter (age 6) would say "joy" -- your senses are happy.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#23 snowangel

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Posted 16 November 2002 - 11:23 PM

Meant to add that even people who profess to "hate" tofu seem to like the deep-fried version. Mouthfeel is exquistly contrasting.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#24 tommy

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Posted 16 November 2002 - 11:34 PM

Meant to add that even people who profess to "hate" tofu seem to like the deep-fried version.  Mouthfeel is exquistly contrasting.

i think tofu is one of the most important aspects of pad thai, to use that dish to bolster our collective thought. when there's not enough, it is missed. when it's there, you find yourself enjoying the dish more (well, i do anyway).

people who make proclamations and blanket statements like "i don't like tofu" probably don't like much.

no where's my damned soapbox when i need it. :wacko:

#25 snowangel

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Posted 18 November 2002 - 11:25 PM

This post has brought back an old memory. We arrived in Thailand, fresh from Nebraska, on my birthday, mid 1960's. I think it was my 8th birthday. We were whisked from Don Muang airport to the grand old Erawan hotel, from when we were whisked to the home of one of the deans at the University my father would be teaching at.

We were treated to quite a meal. I remember plate after plate after plate. My first taste of saute. My first curry. My first time to ever see a whole fish (head and all) on one plate. The list was endless.

I also, that night, had my first larb (made with raw pork, which is what I associate with larb), as well as another salad, which is very much akin to larb -- a squid salad. It's one I make with some regularity. Chop up squid (not too fine), and boil for a couple of minutes. Mix with chopped cilantro, lots of lime juice, prik e noo peppers, some ginger, and shallots (cut lenghtwise). Great with sticky rice. While not considered larb, it can be considered another variation. I had trouble with the texture of raw pork at first, but grew to love larb.

The Thais present at this meal were rather amazed that an 8 year old girl from Nebraska would take so readily to this food.

Someone in another thread mentioned that perhaps foodies are born, not made. Now that I think of it, I was probably just an 8 year old seeking a way out of traditional, bland, cream of mushroom food that had been my diet.

Edited by snowangel, 18 November 2002 - 11:25 PM.

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#26 Blue Heron

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 03:33 PM

larb :wub: . I made larb for lunch today. It turned out really yummy and was just as easy to make as tommy promised it would be. I thought mine was far far better than the one I had in a Thai restaurant recently, too.

I made mine with ground pork, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, lemon grass, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped serrano chiles, thinly sliced chopped sweet onion, toasted basmatti rice (crushed), chopped cilantro & mint. All combined and topped on torn green leaf lettuce (actually I used the cilantro, mint and toasted rice as garnish on top, not mixed in). I thought the seasoning combo was perfect, very fresh and refreshing, but next time would add even more lime juice and fish sauce to it, so it's a little more juicy. I'd also like to see what adding kaffir lime leaves would do to it (I forgot to pick some up in Chinatown yesterday). I was surprised the recipe didn't call for any salt, thinking that the ground pork would really need it, but as I was eating it, I noticed it had plenty of flavor even without salt.

larb larb larb larb larb.....

Thanks tommy!

Edited by Blue Heron, 25 November 2002 - 03:37 PM.


#27 snowangel

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 03:40 PM

Larb is also very good when eaten with sticky rice, which is a traditional accompaniment in northern Thailand (where the larb is usually raw pork). Come to think of it, the larb is probably an accompaniment for the rice there.

Thai salads -- be they the more well-known larb and som tam -- are absolutely wonderful. David Thompson's new Thai Food book has a fab section on salads.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#28 Jason Perlow

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 03:41 PM

at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas last week, I had their "Northern Style" beef larb which is a drier and spicier kind of larb than the "Isaan" style that we eat more commonly in the US. It uses no lime juice at all, but a LOT more chiles, and and lot of mint and cilantro, as well as a lot of other stuff that I cannot easily identify. It does taste quite different.

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#29 snowangel

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 03:58 PM

at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas last week, I had their "Northern Style" beef larb which is a drier and spicier kind of larb than the "Isaan" style that we eat more commonly in the US. It uses no lime juice at all, but a LOT more chiles, and and lot of mint and cilantro, as well as a lot of other stuff that I cannot easily identify. It does taste quite different.

We often ate this style of larb in small towns in northern Thailand. Rather than being mixed with what most people traditionally associate with larb (lime juice, peppers, cilantro, mint, shallots, etc.), this one is actually prepared with a paste that is somewhat akin to curry paste.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#30 Schielke

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 10:14 PM

Larb a-hoy! I made the beef Larb recipe that Mamster posted earlier here:

Also, to my taste you can always improve a larb by adding thinly-sliced shallots rather than onion. Like most Thai salads, they key to great larb is seasoning it a lot--plenty of dressing, chiles, and rice powder. This is a really good larb neua recipe: http://www.recipesou...00/rec0054.html.


I used some shallots I had growing in a pot out back, they were pretty tiny but that is another story. The only rice I had to make the ground rice with was arborio. It turned out pretty tasty, the rice smelled kinda like peanut butter when it was being toasted. I ground the rice up in my little baby cuisinart and it scared the hell out of sophie and vinnie...they are still a little angry at me for scaring them.

I placed the cooked larb on a couple romaine lettuce leaves and dug right in. No time for pics since I was so hungry!!! :cool: I'll have to take some next time I make it since I will be making it again for sure!!! I think that my larb was a shade dry and could have used a touch more fish sauce and lime juice too. Overall though it was great and pretty simple to make, Katie loved it too. I think it will become a fairly common dish here. Thanks a bunch for the pro-larb stance that propelled me into home larb-making!

Ben
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