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tommy

Larb Laab Larp

430 posts in this topic

Thanks to this thread, I have been baptized into the religion of Larb, and here's my second offering to the Larb gods: :wub:

laarp.jpg

I posted about it on the Thai cooking thread here.


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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It is spring, and this woman's thoughts are turning to fancies of larb.

It is warm outside. I want to spend my days outside in my wreck of a yard. I have a million things to do at this most hopeful time of year.

At this time of year when I want to spend little of my time in the kitchen when the days are beautiful and the kids are in school, I still need to eat.

Larb is great to have around. I love having larb to nosh on, carry a bowl with it and lettuce leaves around as I tend to the yard, poke for new plants.

On the grocery list, ground pork. I love my new Asian market. If you want ground pork, one of the little old Hmong ladies behind the counter whack off a cut of fatty pork, take two cleavers that are almost as big as they are, and in a flurry of activity, present me with a plastic bag of beautiful chopped pork. Outside of the bird chilies, I have everything else on hand (partly because I have a kaffir lime tree).


Edited by snowangel (log)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I've been seeing this thread for ages. I start reading it and stop. Because I just can't believe Larb can be all that great. And the chicken just doesn't sound like a good idea.

I looked through Hot Sour Salty Sweet because it was mentioned somewhere in this thread. I had bought it at the suggestion of a woman I met in Dublin. We had discussed her garden and cooking. She was a huge fan of Madhur Jaffrey and Hot Sour Salty Sweet. For some reason, I never even looked through the book. Until this morning.

I found the recipe for Laab Moo Tai Yai. Pork. I love pork. The recipe didn't call for fish sauce or chicken broth but it did call for Thai red chiles. I love Thai red chiles.

I had a bag of Calrose rice in the basement. I'd never made sticky rice but I have a rice cooker and it knows what to do.

I made a trip up to Thai Grocery on Broadway. They had everything I needed. Almost. Well, they didn't have mint and I like buying meat from Whole Foods anyway so one more trip. And then I had everything. And I was determined to make it tonight.

I read the directions for making sticky rice. Rice must soak for a minimum of 3 hours. No problem. It's only 6pm. I figured I'd be eating by 10pm. Hubby's out of town so I don't have to worry about him. Except when he finds out. He hates missing out on new dishes.

Ok. So I got my mise en place in place. I hand chopped the meat. Because I could. Then I made the paste. Six chiles didn't seem like enough. But I stopped at 6. Because I was afraid that I might be making a big mistake if I added a couple more. Paste? There's no liquid. How does one call that a paste? Chopped up all my green stuff. Chopped and chopped and chopped shallots. I love shallots.

My rice was done and it was time to start cooking. Shallots browned nicely. Paste got added. Meat got added. And it all started looking so very good. Recipe said to let it simmer. How does something that has no liquid simmer? Decided not to worry about such details and continued on. Added my green stuff. Put it on a plate. And knew it was going to be good.

Grabbed a lettuce leaf. Glopped on a bunch of rice. Added a goodly amount of meat. Rolled it up like a burrito. Thought about grabbing some Sriracha but decided to just go with what I had until I knew what I had.

Sat down and took a bite. Oh. Oh. Yes. I may have found religion. Spicy? You betcha. Was 6 chiles the right number. Oh yes. Am I a convert? Absolutely. How do I spread the gospel? Let me find the ways. And I will.

- kim


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I recently dipped a toe into larb-dom as well. Using bits and pieces of advice sprinkled throughout this thread, dinner turned out to be a real treat that night.

click here:

small.jpg

While it was quite wonderful, it still wasn't as good as what I would get up at the Thai restaurant, so my research continues.

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I've made Laab Moo Tai Yai two more times. :wub:

My husband totally digs chopping the pork by hand and now wants to hand chop pork for any recipe that calls for ground pork. The texture is better.

The first time, he thought the laab was too spicy and asked that we only use 4 chiles the next time.

The second time, we again used 6 chiles because 4 is just not enough. He's starting to agree that 6 is the correct number.

We've also made Laab Gai (Minced Chicken with Fresh Herbs) twice. Again, my husband enjoyed hand chopping the meat. I was not all that impressed with the finished product. I may have overdone it with the fish sauce as I was using a different brand. But I think it was the texture of the chicken that bothered me.

Last night we made Laab Gai again. This time I took the chicken leftover from making chicken stock and shredded it. This time I liked it. Maybe it was the texture of the chicken that made it better. Anyway, we put the laab and sticky rice on a lettuce leaf and squirted on Sriracha. Yum.

- kim


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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Kim, thanks for bumping this up! You have reminded me to add pork to my grocery list! I have everything else on hand...

I have made larb several times since I last reported, but always forget to photo and report on it. Blame it on that larb-induced stupor.

I agree with you about the minced/ground chicken. Next time I fix chicken for something else, I'll remember to make extra, because I think that I, too, would like it better if the chicken was shredded.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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My first time making larb:

larb.jpg

I've heard larb is a many splendoured thing and so I'm going to try making it from emu meat too.

Obviously, I'm hooked.

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I have larbed and seen the light. I cannot believe that it took me this long.

Of course I used snowangel's recipe although I didn't have any kaffir leaves and used picked thai green chilli's instead of red bird chillis. And I added a ton of cilantro :biggrin:

It is beautiful but just a touch salty. Next time I will use more lime. Wish I had some lettuce leaves and a camera so I could share.

Thank you snowangel.


True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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I now love laab gai. Why? It's a great dish to eat on a diet. There is no added fat.

I use chicken left from making chicken stock. I make a batch of sticky rice. Then I make the sauce and mix it all up:

juice of one lime

two or three tablespoons of fish sauce

a handful of torn up coriander leaves

two or three tablespoons of toasted rice powder

two or three dried bird peppers - chopped to bits (seeds removed)

two or three (or more) shallots, thinly sliced

a bit of sugar (as needed)

freshly ground black pepper

The laab sits in my refrigerator and the flavors meld. I grab a bowlful when I'm hungry. It's good either warm or cold.

The more I cook, the easier it is not to have to follow a recipe to the letter. My husband will never let me forget how I used to measure everything (and I do mean everything) exactly. This recipe does not need exact measurements. I add fish sauce until it tastes right. I add more shallots because I love them. And I add more peppers because I enjoy the heat.

- kim


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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Tonight we introduced Iris, age 19 months, to larb. Actually, she'd eaten it once before, but she was too young to remember, which is good, as it was a mediocre takeout larb.

I larbed beef, with shallots, scallions, fish sauce, lime juice, Thai chiles, cilantro, and lots of rice powder. Iris was interested in the cabbage leaves and somehow even managed to eat some, despite the fact that she has no back teeth.

But lord does this kid love larb. She pulled out a string of shallot and said, "Noodle!" I explained it was a shallot. She said, "Shallot," and ate it. Then she looked at her plate and said, "Shallot! Nother!" and ate that one, too. She also liked the beef, which she called "pork," probably as a result of many happy experiences with the ground pork in Ants on a Tree. She ate almost as much larb as I did.

Later I asked what she thought we should have for breakfast tomorrow. She thought about this for a moment and answered, "Larb." Sounds good to me.

I realized during dinner that larb is a lot like sloppy joes. Kids the world over should cry out for larb.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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A 19-month-old who knows "shallot" and "larb"! :wub:

I didn't know both those words till my early 30's. I blame this deficiency on bad parents and California schools.

You must be a proud parent.

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Tonight we introduced Iris, age 19 months, to larb. Actually, she'd eaten it once before, but she was too young to remember, which is good, as it was a mediocre takeout larb.

I larbed beef, with shallots, scallions, fish sauce, lime juice, Thai chiles, cilantro, and lots of rice powder. Iris was interested in the cabbage leaves and somehow even managed to eat some, despite the fact that she has no back teeth.

But lord does this kid love larb. She pulled out a string of shallot and said, "Noodle!" I explained it was a shallot. She said, "Shallot," and ate it. Then she looked at her plate and said, "Shallot! Nother!" and ate that one, too. She also liked the beef, which she called "pork," probably as a result of many happy experiences with the ground pork in Ants on a Tree. She ate almost as much larb as I did.

Later I asked what she thought we should have for breakfast tomorrow. She thought about this for a moment and answered, "Larb." Sounds good to me.

I realized during dinner that larb is a lot like sloppy joes. Kids the world over should cry out for larb.

NICE! Indeed this is good parenting.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Hmm... Having scanned through the many, many pages here and have some both some interesting and frightening concepts of laap! Some of the permutations mentioned might be tasty, but they're not laap as it's eaten in Thailand or Laos. So, in the interest of real laap (which, on second thought, might be kind of disappointing!):

First of all: there's no galangal (khaa in Thai) in laap. In fact, dried galangal hardly exists in Thailand, other than to sell to tourists!

No kaffir lime leaves in laap.

And no coriander/cilantro either.

And the meat? You can make it using anything (I like catfish laab, which I just had tonight), the most common in Thailand however is pork. If you want to make laap like the Thais do take the cheapest, chunkiest, fattiest ground pork you can find, and briefly boil it, until just done. No frying or grilling or whatever.

Then just mix the pork up with ground sticky rice (khaao khua, an essential ingredient--you have to use this stuff), sliced shallots, chopped green onions (if desired), chilis, and lime juice and fish sauce to taste. Eat it with sticky rice. That's it. Thai style anyway...

Some variations on laap are koy, a Lao/Isaan (NE Thai) version, usually made with fish. In Laos and rural NE Thailand laap is usually made with raw meat, usually beef. My favorite kind of laap is from northern Thailand, and is called laap khua, literally, 'fried laap'. This kind is usually made using beef, including the good bits like heart, lungs, and liver, which are fried in a chili paste that includes a delicious herb found only in northern Thailand called makhwaen, and a bitter-spicy leaf called phak phai. Due to the makhwaen and other spices used, the meat has a dark, almost black color. I ate A LOT of this at a wedding in Pai, Mae Hong Son (northern Thailand) once.

Oh yeah, an on the pronunication, I guess it would be somewhat close to the English word 'lob', but with a longer and more a-sounding vowel (and a high falling tone, if you really want the details). There is no difference in Thai between a final 'p' or 'b', so I reckon it can be spelled either way.

Austin

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Hmm... Having scanned through the many, many pages here and have some both some interesting and frightening concepts of laap!  Some of the permutations mentioned might be tasty, but they're not laap as it's eaten in Thailand or Laos.  So, in the interest of real laap (which, on second thought, might be kind of disappointing!):

First of all: there's no galangal (khaa in Thai) in laap.  In fact, dried galangal hardly exists in Thailand, other than to sell to tourists!

No kaffir lime leaves in laap.

And no coriander/cilantro either.

And the meat?  You can make it using anything (I like catfish laab, which I just had tonight), the most common in Thailand however is pork.  If you want to make laap like the Thais do take the cheapest, chunkiest, fattiest ground pork you can find, and briefly boil it, until just done.  No frying or grilling or whatever.

Then just mix the pork up with ground sticky rice (khaao khua, an essential ingredient--you have to use this stuff), sliced shallots, chopped green onions (if desired), chilis, and lime juice and fish sauce to taste.  Eat it with sticky rice. That's it.  Thai style anyway...

Some variations on laap are koy, a Lao/Isaan (NE Thai) version, usually made with fish.  In Laos and rural NE Thailand laap is usually made with raw meat, usually beef.  My favorite kind of laap is from northern Thailand, and is called laap khua, literally, 'fried laap'.  This kind is usually made using beef, including the good bits like heart, lungs, and liver, which are fried in a chili paste that includes a delicious herb found only in northern Thailand called makhwaen, and a bitter-spicy leaf called phak phai.  Due to the makhwaen and other spices used, the meat has a dark, almost black color.  I ate A LOT of this at a wedding in Pai, Mae Hong Son (northern Thailand) once.

Oh yeah, an on the pronunication, I guess it would be somewhat close to the English word 'lob', but with a longer and more a-sounding vowel (and a high falling tone, if you really want the details).  There is no difference in Thai between a final 'p' or 'b', so I reckon it can be spelled either way.

Austin

Dear Austin & all,

You do have good basic for this spicy salad.

A few things i would like to add:

1. When preparing the meat for larb: you are right we don't fry or grill etc. But what we do is to cook it briefly with small amount of stock.

The Thai term is to "ruan". The act is to put the meat in a pot under medium high heat, stir constantly to avoid sticking. You may add stock a tablespoon at a time.

The finsihed prepared minced meat should have some..just some liquid.

2. Basic Isaan ( E sarn ) herbs are: Saw Tooth Coriander and Mint leaves. You do need these two to finish off the Larb ( Lur-Ar-Bur ). Surprisingly i lately found out the reason why my Beef Larb never turned out as the original Esarn version: it did not have Extremely thin slices of Kaffir lime leaves. ( I found out from my Esarn's helper in my kitchen )

So with beef, we add kaffir lime leaves. Very thinnly sliced.

With duck which tends to have strong smell, chopped fresh galangal is added when we mince the duck.

3. Ground Roasted Rice and Dried chilli are "must have(s)".

When making roasted rice, do use low heat. we do not want to brown the rice without proper puff ups.

If you roast the rice properly, the rice will puff like pop corn ( it does not turn inside out though) Once ready, grinding is just easy. You cal just roll the pestle on it in a mortar..No pounding.. the rice will crack and be as fine as you like. If the rice does not puff, it will be hard when you do not grind it fine enough.

New roasted chilli is best...when roasting, mix in some sea salt for even browning. Grind only the chilli, discard the salt.

Ground roasted rice is to be added last because by the time you finish mixing and seasoning, the rice will absorb almost, if not all, the liquid.

I will try to post my latest version of Larb Gravlax with pictures soon.

It is on the front cover of Thai Health & Cuisine this month.

Nantana

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Last night I made Tofu Larb from Cooking Light magazine. Despite it's lack of authenticity I quite enjoyed it. I eat a fair bit of tofu and this was a nice light dinner. I did add extra lime juice as I really like limes. :biggrin:


sarah

Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was. --Unknown

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Needless to say but I will... Enjoying it is what matters. I'm glad you passed the idea along, Sarah.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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From reading all these rules and regulations I hesitate to enter my latest Larb. It is a recipe from Thompson's "Thai Food" though so it must be right :biggrin: . So I decided to try something other than the regular protein-lime-shallots-chillies larb and tried my hand at "Chiang Mai Pork Larb". Thompson says it must be of Burmese origin due to the extensive use of spices in the paste. Speaking of pastes, this Larb really blurs the line between a curry and a larb. It was pretty good but is not a substitute for the original. The paste has cumin, cassia, and black pepper as well as galangal, lemongrass, chillies, garlic and shallots. I served it with sticky rice (is this stuff addictive or what), and Thai chilli jam.

gallery_5404_94_186402.jpg


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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The pomelos have returned to our Asian grocery stores, so it was time to larb, baby!

Made a basic larb gai with thigh meat that suffered a tad from a somewhat tired roasted rice powder (the lemon grass in particular had flattened out) and a lack of galangal, but it was playing second fiddle to the pomelo salad in Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: pomelo, toasted coconut, shallots, bird peppers, lime, fish sauce, mint, sugar. Fantastic!

Larb tip, which may have appeared somewhere among the gazillion posts above: buy a jar of fried shallots to sprinkle onto your larb. The caramel crunch is a great foil for the tang of the larb.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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but it was playing second fiddle to the pomelo salad in Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: pomelo, toasted coconut, shallots, bird peppers, lime, fish sauce, mint, sugar.  Fantastic!

Larb tip, which may have appeared somewhere among the gazillion posts above: buy a jar of fried shallots to sprinkle onto your larb. The caramel crunch is a great foil for the tang of the larb.

So, let's go OLT (off larb topic) for a moment. Please talk about the toasted coconut. Do you grate your own? Dry it before toasting? Do tell.

Yes to the fried shallots. I don't think that has been mentioned up topic. A more than worthy addition.

What, no photos? The shame.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Oops -- sorry! Here are the photos.

The larb with diced cucumbers in it -- I didn't want to make a separate cucumber salad -- and the shallots:

gallery_19804_437_9204.jpg

And the pomelo salad:

gallery_19804_437_51216.jpg


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Larb for lunch today!

gallery_6263_35_45659.jpg

Someone had put the lettuce into the meat drawer, so it was frozen, and I didn't want to bike for lettuce (we've just had a mess of snow and my car is undergoing surgery), so I tried a leaf of Chinese broccoli, which was not successful. So, I tried it with bean sprouts and that was no more successful.

So, I ate it on top of Carr's Water crackers, which was not bad.

But, I will be getting lettuce tonight or tomorrow.

It had been way, way too long since I made larb. It is so easy and so satisfying.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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From reading all these rules and regulations I hesitate to enter my latest Larb. It is a recipe from Thompson's "Thai Food" though so it must be right  :biggrin: . So I decided to try something other than the regular protein-lime-shallots-chillies larb and tried my hand at "Chiang Mai Pork Larb". Thompson says it must be of Burmese origin due to the extensive use of spices in the paste. Speaking of pastes, this Larb really blurs the line between a curry and a larb. It was pretty good but is not a substitute for the original. The paste has cumin, cassia, and black pepper as well as galangal, lemongrass, chillies, garlic and shallots. I served it with sticky rice (is this stuff addictive or what), and Thai chilli jam.

gallery_5404_94_186402.jpg

That's great that you chose to make this dish--probably one of my favorite Thai dishes of all time! However, I think what Thompson is referring to is laap khua, literally "fried laap". This is indeed an indigenous northern Thai-style dish (not only found in Chiang Mai), but Thompson's apparent suggestion that it is of Burmese origin is "interesting" to say the least! Laap khua does use a variety of herbs/spices, however the most important ingredient is makhwaen, a tiny black seed that, if I remember correctly, he suggests substituting with Szechuan pepper in his book! I can't even imagine what this would taste like, not to mention the fact that lack of makhwaen would fail to give the dish its usual "black" color. Ma khwaen is only used in northern Thailand, and has a very strong smell that I would actually compare to that of gin. Laap khua typically uses a variety of unusual cuts of meat: heart, liver, skin, fat, etc.--the ground pork is minimal. (A popular version of this dish uses raw ground pork and pork blood. It's known as laap lueat, "bloody laap"!). And finally, a tiny bitter/spicy herb called phak phai is thrown in towards the end of the frying process. This is really one of those dishes that, if you don't have the right ingredients, you're not going to even get remotely close to the real thing. I can't even find a good version in Bangkok! I just wish Thompson was a bit more knowledgeable about some of his recipes--to suggest that his "Chiang Mai Pork Larb" recipe is authentic is misleading.

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So I made a bunch of larb the other night. Minced the chicken with a knife, poached in water (no stock around, alas), dressed with fish sauce, lime juice, ground chilis, chopped spring onion (I think), chopped cilantro and mint, and homemade toasted rice powder. Good stuff, and pleased the men who ate it and the curry that followed.

HOWEVER. The main point is this; last night I was hungry but lazy, and there was leftover larb, and tortilla chips. For the record, larb + tortilla chips + sriracha = mouth-burning heavenly goodness. I might have to finish it off for afternoon snack today.


Jennie

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Made my first Larb last night as a Thai dinner that included Phad Thai with shrimp, beef salad, and the Larb made with ground chicken. I love Thai beef salad but must admit that I enjoyed the Chicken Larb most. I was not the most organized and did not have all the ingredients (expecting a shipment of hard to find Thai ingredients that I ordered online) but was still happy with the outcome....good mouth feel and flavors. Will try again incorporating many of the ideas and suggestions offered here. Thanks to you all. :smile:


Donna

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