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Thai Chicken Larb
For the larb:
24 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast (or pre-ground chicken breast, see note below)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus extra as desired
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
4 to 6 tablespoons fresh juice from about 6 limes, plus extra as desired
5 to 6 tablespoons fish sauce, plus extra as desired
3/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (preferable Thai), plus extra as desired
6 small shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings (about 1 cup)
1 1/4 cups fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 1/4 cups fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted glutinous rice powder (see note below)
With the larb:
4 to 6 cups cooked rice, preferably glutinous
extra fish sauce, lime wedges, chili flakes, sugar on the side
1 large heat iceberg lettuce or green leaf
1. Trim chicken of visible fat and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in single layer on tray and freeze until partially frozen, about 30 minutes. Working in 2 or 3 batches, pulse chicken in food processor until roughly ground into pieces the size of small peas; set aside.
2. In a large 12-inch skillet (or wok), heat the chicken stock over medium-high heat with the oil, sugar, and salt. Add the chicken and the garlic, and cook until the chicken is just cooked through, stirring and breaking up the chicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and chili flakes. Stir in the shallots, mint, and cilantro.
3. Stir in the ground toasted rice. Season to taste with more sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili flakes as desired. Serve the larb warm or room temperature rice and lettuce.
Glutinous rice powder can be found in Thai markets. If unavailable, make your own with glutinous rice, which can be found in most Asian markets. To make the rice powder, toast the rice in a dry skillet over medium heat until nutty brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind until fine, or grind in a spice grinder, pulsing a few times until finely ground, but not quite a powder.
If you choose to use store-bought ground chicken, this meal can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
When grinding the chicken, take care not to over-pulse or you'll end up with chicken paste.
The oil is not necessary for the success of the dish and can be omitted if desired.
Don't omit the ground toasted rice. It not only adds a nutty flavor, but it also acts as a binder.
Palm sugar can be substituted for the granulated sugar.
The flavor should be a balance of hot, sour, salty, sweet. This can be adjusted individually at table side with extra fish sauce, lime juice, chili flakes, and sugar.
Nov 18th 2013
This was my favorite meal to eat when I was travelling in Thailand. You can find these ingredients at an Asian supermarket.