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Posts Tagged ‘lettuce wraps’

I was such a fool to believe that it was merely called a lettuce wrap and not Larb Gai.  For years now I have been this idiotic – for shame!  Though often times considered a Thai dish its origins more accurately bring it from Laos where it is the national dish; a meat salad, if you will.  Most importantly, it is delicious!

After looking over your recipe, your first step is to go directly to your favorite Asian grocer – mine is the Shuang Hur Oriental Market, on Nicollet.  The store is huge, wonderful and ridiculously affordable.  They even have live fish, lobster and oysters in the back of the store.  If you are choosing to make chicken larb gai, and not a red meat variant, you MAY have to go to a different store to pick up some chicken, because when I was there I only saw smoked chicken.  There was whole chicken available as well ( I think…) but I was not in the mood to dismember an entire bird.  Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, you are ready to rock n roll!

When you get home, make sure to dig out the rice cooker that is buried in your cupboard.  I know you only use it a handful of times…unless you don’t.  You should have purchased sticky rice at Shuang Hur (5# for $5).  If you didn’t, go back and buy some, seriously.  Long grain rice just won’t work with this since it gives off a completely different experience.  In your rice cooker, drop in 1 cup of rice for each 1 1/2 cup of water, and let the cooker cook the rice – it’s only job.  If you don’t have this space hogging device, a regular sauce pan will suffice.

Whether you bought an entire bird, or just chicken breasts, you really need to cut it up in to sizable pieces in order to properly grind the meat in your food processor, or meat grinder – whichever you prefer.  Another option is to buy already ground chicken; though this idea did not particularly excite me so I stuck with the breasts, because I’m like that (!!!).

For some reason, the prospect of raw meat touching my food processor icked me out.   Regardless, I did it.

Just a few pulses allows you to get the above results.  It is not over-processed and it is not as mealy as ground meat – a nice balance.  After disinfecting your work area, toss the meat in a pan to cook with a couple of tablespoon of water.  It will not take long to cook the chicken all of the way through since it is so exposed to the heat source.  In that two minute time period though, you should be breaking up the clumps in to smaller pieces, ensuring they aren’t cooking in a large clump.

When cooked all of the way through, pour the meat in to a bowl and add the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili powder,
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce,
  • 5 teaspoons lime juice,
  • 1/4 cup slivered red onions,
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions and mix thoroughly.

You are practically ready to eat!  Just slice up some seedless cucumbers, take your fully cooked sticky rice out of the rice cooker, wash some lettuce and get your mint out!

You can make little chicken wraps with the lettuce, add the cukes and mint, or merely use your fingers to grab some sticky rice and then the chicken larb.  This dish has so many wonderful flavors that work splendidly together, that you will have an umami explosion in your mouth!

If you have any leftover cooked rice, heat it up in a sauce pan with some coconut milk – voila, dessert!

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