Having recently returned from a trip to Thailand, you might think I would be a little over Thai food. On the contrary, I’m craving the spicy, salty sour sweet food more than ever. I had a dish of Laab Moo at a lovely little bar/restaurant on Than Sadet beach in Koh Phangan a few weeks ago and it was delicious. Laab Moo is made with Pork, Laab Gai is made with minced chicken, and as it’s a diet day, I’m making it with chicken. I’ll get a filing delicious meal that I’d be happy to eat any day of the week. It’s quick and simple to cook, very little preparation time, and you should have no trouble at all sourcing the ingredients. The rice powder may be an exception, I found it in an Asian grocery store in Queenstown so I suspect most good Asian grocers will have it. If not there, is a link further down the page which tells you how to make it at home.
I stumbled across this recipe for Laab Gai if you scroll to the bottom of this link (the direct page link doesn’t work) http://shesimmers.com/2009/06/page/3 . This was my first visit to Shesimmers.com site and I really enjoy Leela’s writing style (reminds me of a frustrated teacher). Based on her rant on the English translation of this dish, I’m not sure what I should call it – probably Lab Kai, but who knows. Thankfully Leela also provides instructions for making the rice powder, so if you aren’t able to find it locally follow this link and make it yourself http://shesimmers.com/2009/04/khao-kua-how-to-make-toasted-rice.html
Recipe follows – I’ve reduced the chicken mince from the original 500g to 400g to keep the calories down to around 250. Nothing else has changed from the original
- 3/4 pound (~400g) ground chicken
- ½ cup (3 fluid ounces) water, if necessary (see instructions)
- 2 large (56g) shallots, peeled and finely sliced lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade toasted rice powder (see notes)
- Fish sauce, or to taste
- Lime juice, or to taste
- Ground dried red pepper, to taste
- ½ cup (4g) whole cilantro leaves or coarsely-chopped sawtooth coriander leaves
- ⅓ cup (8g) mint leaves
- In a skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken until cooked through. (Don’t use high heat; you don’t want to brown the chicken.) There should be some juice in the pan. If it gets too dry, add some water to the pan up to ½ cup.
- Once the chicken is done, take the pan off the heat and immediately add the shallots; toss to wilt the shallots.
- Start out by adding 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Toss everything together well, and taste to see if you like how it tastes. If not, add more fish sauce and/or lime juice until the salad tastes right to you. (For this recipe, I use 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and 4 tablespoons of lime juice.)
- Add the toasted rice powder; toss.
- Add about one teaspoon of dried chilli powder to the mix and taste. I usually add 1 tablespoon, but that may be too much for some of you.
- Once the taste is where you want your laab to be, mix in the mint leaves and cilantro or culantro. Serve.
This was an excellent dish. It was filling, had great flavour, and was easy to make. The photos are rubbish (forgot to adjust the white balance in Flouro lighting), but I’ll take more photos the next time I make this, which won’t be too far off.