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Larb Laab Larp


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Welcome, Donna! Remember that larb is a very quite forgiving dish. Some prefer it limeier (???), some fish saucier (???), some hotter, some with more cilantro, etc. There are a couple of recipes in RecipeGullet, don't hesitate to experiment. It warms my heart that one of your very first posts has been on this topic!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I just made my first Larb at 1:30AM after checking the recipe link from this thread. I lack any leafy greens, made my own toasted rice, and toasted the non-chicken ingrediants in a pan instead of using them fresh, but I'm about to dig into it nonetheless. I hope it turns out to be tasty!

Nifty News & Decent Deals - where I'm always listing more kitchen stuff than average people want to see...
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  • 4 months later...
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.

Hey fellow larbers! I am one of you now and extremely proud. I haven't read all twenty pages of this thread (although it did get me to try the magical stuff). Do you all roast your rice until it puffs? I toasted my rice on low heat on the stove for a long time and no puff - granted, it was only jasmine rice. Would anyone know if it was the type of rice, or the amount of time?

Or does no one bother. It was still very delicious :cool:

To hell with poverty! We'll get drunk on cheap wine - Gang of Four

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Hey Jen, normally glutinous rice is the one that is used in laab and I must admit I have never toasted any other but I have seen some western sites using normal rice, i.e. jasmine or basmati, but it will not puff up, just toast in a dry pan until it looks slightly golden and smells fragrant and then pound or grind it in a processer

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, so I made (and ate) Larb Gai for the first time ever last night... Used the recipe from Hot Sour Salty Sweet... It was good, but.... I just didn't get a whole lot of chicken flavor from it. Is that normal? I used chicken breasts, would chicken thighs have made an appreciable difference, or is the chicken just bound to be overpowered by the lime juice and fish sauce...

Emily

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I just didn't get a whole lot of chicken flavor from it. Is that normal? I used chicken breasts, would chicken thighs have made an appreciable difference, or is the chicken just bound to be overpowered by the lime juice and fish sauce...

They do make a difference! I also sometimes add some concentrated stock to my sauce mixture (or poach the meat in stock) to bring out the meaty flavor. It's absolutely possible to have the chicken play a flavor role in the dish; it definitely takes a bit of careful flavor balancing and maybe some practice and kitchen intuition, but you can do it.

Another thing you can do is to use turkey or duck or another more strongly-flavoured poultry rather than chicken; I feel like even the most assertively flavoured chicken isn't as poultry-ish as good free-range turkey.

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I just didn't get a whole lot of chicken flavor from it. Is that normal? I used chicken breasts, would chicken thighs have made an appreciable difference, or is the chicken just bound to be overpowered by the lime juice and fish sauce...

They do make a difference! I also sometimes add some concentrated stock to my sauce mixture (or poach the meat in stock) to bring out the meaty flavor. It's absolutely possible to have the chicken play a flavor role in the dish; it definitely takes a bit of careful flavor balancing and maybe some practice and kitchen intuition, but you can do it.

Another thing you can do is to use turkey or duck or another more strongly-flavoured poultry rather than chicken; I feel like even the most assertively flavoured chicken isn't as poultry-ish as good free-range turkey.

Perhaps it is the type of chicken you are using Emily. Can you get free range? In Thailand the only substitute would be pork (turkey is unknown in cooking there and duck is not used for laab). But, having said that, if it tastes good to you, go for it :smile:

Edited by insomniac (log)
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I think any chicken laap is going to taste like the flavourings, rather than chicken. To be honest, chicken laap isn't very common here. Pork is the most common, but my personal favourite is laap plaa duk, laap made from grilled catfish. And actually duck laap is quite common in Thailand, although it often takes a different from than more traditional versions.

Austin

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I think any chicken laap is going to taste like the flavourings, rather than chicken. To be honest, chicken laap isn't very common here. Pork is the most common, but my personal favourite is laap plaa duk, laap made from grilled catfish. And actually duck laap is quite common in Thailand, although it often takes a different from than more traditional versions.

Austin

I've never noticed the duck Austin, how is it served??

now laab pla duk, that's a different story, mmmm

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  • 2 months later...

I have long loved larb, have eaten loads of larb, but for some reason had never actually made larb before. That changed tonight. We started with the larb gai recipe in Crying Tiger and adjusted the flavors to taste. Sliced shallots, roasted rice powder, fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro, mint, sliced cucumbers, scallions, ground chicken. It turned out very nicely, but it was not ultimate.

I stir-fried ground chicken in the wok with some fish sauce, but simmering the chicken in stock and seasonings would probably have been an improvement. Clearly, more research is needed, probably involving pork.

Larb gai.

gallery_42956_2536_51283.jpg

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I noticed that the laab has kicked up again, so here're some shots from this year's trip to Laos.

gallery_22892_4157_24516.jpg

A cooked pork laab in Vientiane, from Kop Chai Deua

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A buffalo laab (raw) from the 3 Nagas in LP that I can still taste in my mouth.....

And, from the cooking class in Luang Prabang:

gallery_22892_4157_277795.jpg

The laab kai fixings are in the forefront.

gallery_22892_4157_421426.jpg

One note, in cooking school we prepped the chicken by balling it, then frying the balls. These were then broken/smashed for the laab. We'd pick up a nice contrast of crisp external bits, with the softer, rarer meat from the centre. This is in contrast to Phia Singh's more traditional approach of grilling the mince inside banana leaves.

gallery_22892_4157_351505.jpg

For the rice powder, they had us using glutinous rice, and doing the roasting with some kaffir lime leaves and some lemon grass green bits at the end for aroma. These weren't ground in, but were removed.

There, I feel better.

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Peter:I’m a little leery of raw meat, but that Buffalo larb looks incredible.

One note, in cooking school we prepped the chicken by balling it, then frying the balls.  These were then broken/smashed for the laab.  We'd pick up a nice contrast of crisp external bits, with the softer, rarer meat from the centre.  This is in contrast to Phia Singh's more traditional approach of grilling the mince inside banana leaves.

Cool idea. Did you add any spices or seasonings to the chicken balls before frying them? I am surprised to hear that the traditional approach involves grilling the mince in banana leaves – I thought it was traditional (at least for Thai larb) to simmer the mince in stock and seasonings.

For the rice powder, they had us using glutinous rice, and doing the roasting with some kaffir lime leaves and some lemon grass green bits at the end for aroma.  These weren't ground in, but were removed.

That’s another great idea – I’m definitely going to add kaffir lime and lemongrass to my next batch of roasted rice powder.

By the way, re-reading my post above I forgot to list a key ingredient in my larb – roasted chile powder! Trust me, I did remember to add chiles. :wink:

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Not sure if this was mentioned here :

Roasting rice:

Sprinkle a bit of water on the rice will help rice roasted better and more fluffy.

The roasted rice should look partially puffed like pop corn...not just brown.

Rice roasted well will be easily ground into flour by, in a mortar, just swirling the pestle on the rice... you'll get the ground roasted rice in seconds.

New roasted rice does a big differnece in Larb! :wink:

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One note, in cooking school we prepped the chicken by balling it, then frying the balls.  These were then broken/smashed for the laab.  We'd pick up a nice contrast of crisp external bits, with the softer, rarer meat from the centre.  This is in contrast to Phia Singh's more traditional approach of grilling the mince inside banana leaves.

Cool idea. Did you add any spices or seasonings to the chicken balls before frying them? I am surprised to hear that the traditional approach involves grilling the mince in banana leaves – I thought it was traditional (at least for Thai larb) to simmer the mince in stock and seasonings.

In the class they just worked with the chicken separately, but I prefer mixing with kheuang lap (effectively "stuff for lap"); eggplants, garkic, shallot, dried grilled chillis, and galanga; and some fish sauce (padek would be better, but I'm not carrying that back in my suitcase!). The non-meat bits get bundled up and boiled, and there is a saute/simmer of the meat before it's finished kranab style, and that's more for a bit of smoky flavour.

Phia Singh was a fiend for grilling, but he was Luang Prabang. My Lao friends here were from Vientiane, and they had introduced me to the book referring to it as "burnt food". At one point they suggested that there'd probably be a recipe for grilled soup if it was possible.

The cooking class did stray from the traditional. Balling the chicken like this, about the size of a softball, is something that I like, even if not particularly traditional as a fry. My main problem is keeping my kid away from them, as he'll try to eat them before we work up the rest of the salad.

One place the class really disappointed was in the or lam (a Luang Prabang beef stew), bypassing the need for the roasted (he does like to burn things) eggplants and other vegetables, but there you can argue that every household has a different recipe for or lam.

Anyways, of all of the laab, my favourite was the waterbuffalo this last trip.

Once, long ago in the early 90's, we were guests at a dinner, and I found out too late that the laab that had just been popped into my mouth by my friend's companion was raw pork. It had a wonderful flavour of ceviched pork, with chilis and limes and herbs. I just don't think I'd be in a hurry to do that again.

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I am going to make some lamb larb today!

thanks so much for those fantastic larb making pictures! I can see some ideas in my method of making this dish that for sure I am going to change ...I have not made this in ages ...I am going to for sure sprinkle water on my rice hen I roast it and see how that works and I am going to try balling the meat this time after I grind it ....I like the idea of the texture

I stopped at the SE Asian market near my work yesterday and picked all the things up I needed (I love this market it is the one place you can still fill a grocery bag full of fresh produce for less than $10!!!) ...both lamb and goat are fantastic larb meats...they go brilliantly with the flavors of the dish..... lime, chiles herbs ect ..with lamb or goat are perfect

so if you have never tried it and love lamb and larb you should...just dont say it too often out loud because it does kind of sound strange "lamb larb"

the other red meats!!!

I am sorry I have not had time to read the entire thread so if someone else mentioned lamb or goat in larb then I am agreeing with you!!!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Wow. I just popped my laab cherry the other day. I went for the (cheaper) pork option and it was fantastic. HOWEVER, I tried toasting the rice in my old wok, adding a little water at a time as suggested here, but it went horribly; I guess I added too much water at once and so it burnt and stuck. I tried it again in a stainless skillet w/out water and it turned out perfectly. Oh and lime leaves added a wonderful fragrance to the rice powder!

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I can't believe I just read 21 pages on larb!

I have the Hot Sour Salty Sweet book and I looked at the Import Food recipe. They both intrigue me.

I have all the ingredients now I just have to choose the recipe. Or try one tomorrow and the other during the week. I only have chicken. I'll have to try pork too. Sounds like you can't have enough larb!

I'll definitely be making this tomorrow!

The HSSS recipe calls for aromatic roasted rice with lemon grass and lime leaves. I have the lemon grass but the nearest Asian grocer that would have lime leaves is 45 minutes away so I'l just using the lemon grass.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tonight we made Shan style pork larb (larb moo tai yai), from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet. The spice paste included lemongrass, galangal, Thai chiles, roasted sesame seeds, and roasted garlic cloves. We minced pork blade steaks with a cleaver and stir-fried the pork with shallots, scallion greens, cilantro, and mint. We served the larb over lettuce with fish sauce and a squeeze of lime. This was very good, but I’m still looking for the ultimate larb.

gallery_42956_2536_39231.jpg

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Bruce, that looks good! I like the idea of mincing your own pork steaks. One note - it's been my experience that cooking the mint will take away the flavor. I've had better luck by adding it as a topping, uncooked.

My husband and I cooked this dish for the first time about 4 months ago. We were surprised at how easy it was to make one of our favorite Thai dishes, and since then, we've had it a gazillion times.

I dice up lettuce into small squares, and I have several little dishes sitting around the meat plate filled with chopped mint, cilantro, scallions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and sometimes pickled carrots & radishes (Vietnamese style). Jasmine rice on the side as well.

For the meat, I usually fry it with a chopped yellow onion. We have done both turkey and pork. I like the pork, DH likes the turkey. I think next time I'll mix one lb of pork and one lb of turkey and see how that turns out.

I add 1/4 c. of lime juice and 1/4 c. of fish sauce, and a few hits of soy sauce and sriracha, mixed together, to the cooked meat.

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  • 2 weeks later...
This was very good, but I’m still looking for the ultimate larb.

Bruce, do you normally stirfry or poach the meat? I think larb is a very personal dish, and I think you need to worry less about sticking to a recipe than going where your heart and tastebuds lead you. I'm known to vary the amount of peppers, shallots, nam plan and lime, depending on what I want. I, myself, actually prefer a poached meat larb, and I want it on the wet side.

(BTW, it was on my 8th or 9th birthday that I had my first larb -- raw pork back in the days when trich was a concern. The taste changed my life, and I think it's time I tried another raw meat larb -- hand chopping a hunk o meat and mising it up just before serving. A new twist on "steak" tartare.)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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This was very good, but I’m still looking for the ultimate larb.

Bruce, do you normally stirfry or poach the meat? . . .

Susan, I have only made larb twice so I have not yet established "normal". :smile: Both versions so far have been stir-fried, but my next attempt will be poached a la David Thompson. We both seem to prefer a juicy larb.

I think larb is a very personal dish, and I think you need to worry less about sticking to a recipe than going where your heart and tastebuds lead you.  I'm known to vary the amount of peppers, shallots, nam plan and lime, depending on what I want.  I, myself, actually prefer a poached meat larb, and I want it on the wet side.

I am quite certain that you are right about personalizing larb. My goal is to try a variety of larb recipes until I get the hang of the dish. I have a taste memory of certain restaurant larbs that I would like to emulate and then improve upon. Eventually, larb will probably join fried rice, stir-fried shrimp, SE Asian dipping sauce, Thai-style grilled meat salad, etc. in the pantheon of wing-it meals. :biggrin:

(BTW, it was on my 8th or 9th birthday that I had my first larb -- raw pork back in the days when trich was a concern.  The taste changed my life, and I think it's time I tried another raw meat larb -- hand chopping a hunk o meat and mising it up just before serving.  A new twist on "steak" tartare.)

I'm funny about raw meat. I once had kitfo (Ethiopian steak tartare), and alternated between enjoying the delightful spicing and weirding out over eating raw meat. :wacko: I have no such issues with sushi or ceviche, though - logic apparently does not apply when it comes to raw meat.
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percyn, I larb that picture!

I think I'll make some larb tonight (after stopping by the local Mexican grocery for mint and for the onions and garlic I ran out of (which btw is a HUGE tragedy in our house...we cannot go a single day without having onions and garlic on hand)).

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I did it! Became a first time "larber" this week...

I used this recipe from Epicurious: Recipe

I used ground pork instead of ground chicken.

It was an interesting experiment. I made my first trip to a gigantic asian market earlier in the day (now THAT was a FUN trip!), so I had most if not all needed ingredients. I used Kasma's favorite Thai brands guidelines.

Scored some of most beautifully and intensely flavored/perfumed thai basil, authentic thai chilis, good fish sauce, lemongrass, etc. etc.

First of all, I was surprised by how much chicken broth was used to poach the pork (3/4 cup). Looking at other recipes in Recipe Gullet and other online sources, that seemed to be a lot. I also didn't "work" the meat diligently enough, so it wasn't as finely broken up as other poster's images appear. I think I may try sauteeing it next time.

The recipe also called for 1/3 c. of fish sauce. Being very new to thai cuisine, I have not yet developed my palate for this pungent ingredient.. I think it will only be a matter of time until I overcome my (somewhat) adversion to the smell! :smile:

Followed the recipe pretty closely, dicing lemongrass, shallots, green onions, thai chilis (I did up these, they weren't as hot as I expected - I might switch to bird chilis or serranos.) and cooking with the pork. Dressed the cooked mixture with a sauce of lime juice, fish sauce, chili sauce. I missed getting palm sugar at the asian market, and don't care for white or brown sugar in other dishes I have made so I left it out. I know all the websites expond on how important it is to add sugar - just to taste - so I won't leave it out next time, although I'll be very careful about the quantity I use..

I used boston lettuce, jasmine rice and added leaves of the basil, fresh mint and cilantro leaves.

I had a sort of mixed reaction at first - I really like the lime, mint, basil and cilantro flavors, and the heat was good. The fish sauce smell put me off a bit. I ate one lettuce packet and packed up leftovers.

But a funny thing happened later that night - I got the craving! Reheated the meat mixture, made TWO more packets and I think I'm hooked. It's all gone now, having eaten more for breakfast and dinner the next day! :unsure:

Well, it's back on the menu for today (Saturday) with a few tweaks and something closer to Snowangels recipe.

I can't wait! I think I'll give ground chicken a whirl, and need to make another trip to the asian market.

J. <--- Larb convert thanks to all of you! :wub:

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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Well, despite being waylaid by a trip to Urgent Care for what appears to be a wicked sinus infection, I did my second attempt at larb, and what a success!

Although I never felt well enough for a shopping trip to the asian market or even the local chain grocery store, I found a lone chicken breast in the freezer, and after defrosting, diced it as small as possible with a sharp knife, and commenced "round two".

I used the same add-ins as before, although I was scraping the barrel! :biggrin: Last of the lemongrass, last of the thai basil, last of the cilantro... but day-um, it rocked.

I used less fish sauce, added the pinch of sugar for balance, supplemented the thai chilis with a diced jalapeno.

I really like the texture of the chopped versus ground meat, think I'll continue to pursue that methodology in the future. First choice for chicken would have been thighs instead of breast, and I look forward to trying other meats.

Convert, I am! :biggrin:

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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