Thursday, September 06, 2012
Recipe for Larb Gai – Lahb Gai – Laab Gai – Larp Gai – Laap Gai – Lahb Gai (ลาบไก่) from SheSimmers.
I used boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. Instead of hand chopping, I followed the suggestion here and I froze the chicken for about 45 minutes, and then used a mini food processor to chop the meat to nearly ground meat consistency. I made the full quantity suggested in the recipe (1 pound of meat); I had intended this to only be enough for one dinner since larb doesn't keep well, but we only ate half, so the rest will make a second dinner tomorrow.
In the larb, I used 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice (the juice of 1 entire lime), 1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce, and 1/2 tsp red pepper (I went light on the spice since William doesn't like spicy foods). I also used both mint and cilantro in this. (yes cilantro! Even though I don't like it I'm trying to learn to like it). I hand ripped the mint so that it doesn't turn black on the edges but I used a knife to finely mine the cilantro so that I wouldn't notice it as much. SheSimmers doesn't suggest any sugar or sweetener, but since many other larb recipes do suggest them, I also put a tiny pinch (less then 1/2 tsp) of palm sugar in the recipe, just to try it out (it is nice). I used store bought toasted rice powder. I didn't use galangal or galangal powder, since I didn't have any around.
I served the larb with Thai sticky rice, a salad plate with little gem lettuce (we ate 2 small heads), mint, cilantro, and limes. You can eat the larb on the sticky rice or you can eat the larb by placing a bite on a piece of lettuce and adding the garnishes of your choosing. We didn't really touch the cilantro or mint or squeeze any extra lime juice on it since the larb already had this in it. However, I cut some of the limes into tiny pieces about 1 mm wide (keep the rind on)--I got the idea for the lime pieces from the "one bite" salad described here. I found that I really liked filling my lettuce leaves with a spoonful for larb, a pinch of red pepper for extra kick, and one or two miniature lime pieces. The miniature lime pieces with their rind added a really nice extra jolt of citrus, so I would definitely include them in a salad plate for larb next time, but one note is that if you do want to eat this with miniature lime pieces, then you only want to mix a light amount of lime juice into the larb (just enough to begin to taste it). William seemed to like to fill his piece of lettuce with a bite of plain sticky rice and a bite of larb.
I made the sticky rice from 1 1/2 cups raw rice--this was just enough for two people to eat half of the plain to go with the larb and to use the other half of the cooked rice to make coconut sticky rice with mango (which was made from homemade coconut milk and palm sugar). So far, whenever I make Thai sticky rice, I also make coconut sticky rice, since it isn't too much more additional work (except making my own coconut milk does take 5-10 more minutes then just opening a can of coconut milk). William really liked eating the plain sticky rice with the larb, and it made the larb into a full meal.
This was meant to be a quick cooking dinner, but it didn't end up being as fast to make as I had hoped, due to me chopping my own meat instead of getting preground meat, making my own coconut milk, and the time it took to prepare all the little things that this dinner needed. It was still do-able on a weeknight, as long as I remember to soak the Thai sticky rice overnight and defrost the frozen raw shredded coconut the night before.