Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thai Laab

Recently, The Hubs and I paid a visit to my sister and her family in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. The weather was gorgeous and we had a great time playing with my nephews & hunting.

While we were there, my sister made this super tasty Coconut Milk Soup. Even The Hubs really like it. (Side Note: My sister cooks just as much, if not more, than I do. However, she's a bit more adventurous with the fare that she prepares. It is AMAZING what her kids will eat. When my nephew was a toddler, he declared his favorite food to be Pad Thai). I asked her to share the soup recipe with me, along with several others she had talked about.

While I haven't made the soup yet, I did make the Thai Laab last week. If was fairly quick to make and turned out great. So, here is my recipe for Laab...adapted from my sister...who adapted it from ThaiTable.com.


* 1 tablespoon toasted rice, ground
* 1/4 shallot, thinly slicked
* 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced in half moons
* 1 or 2 limes
* 1/2 lbs stir fry beef
* 1/4 tsp ground chili pepper (cayenne)
* 3 tablespoons fish sauce
* hand full of cilantro, chopped
* 2 green onions, sliced
* 3 sprigs mint, sliced (optional)


1. Chop stir fry beef into small pieces until it resembles ground meat. Squeeze juice from 1/3 of the lime and 1 tbs of fish sauce on the beef. Mix well and let it marinade for 30 minutes until you are ready to cook it.

2. Heat a pan on high until it is very hot. Add two tablespoons of water and then immediately add your marinated meat and stir. The meat will stick to the pan at first, but then the juice will come out and the meat will loosen from the bottom. Keep stirring until the meat is well done.

3. Put the meat in a bowl that will hold all the ingredients. Add fish sauce, green onion, red onion, shallot, cilantro, the rest of the juice from the lime, ground chili pepper and toasted rice into the bowl. Mix well and taste.

It should be a little bit hot. You should be able to taste tartness from the lime juice and the fish sauce. If you need to add more fish sauce or lime juice, don't be afraid. Getting the flavor balance right is a trial and error process.

4. Garnish with mint and sprinkle the rest of toasted rice on top. Serve over rice or with vegetables like cabbage, green beans, lettuce and Thai basil.

My Tid-Bits:

* To make toasted rice, heat a pan or wok until very hot. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp uncooked rice and reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly to prevent burning. When it is golden brown, it is done.

Now grind up the rice using a mortar & pestle or food processor. (Or put it in a baggie and pound the crud out of it with the flat side of a meat tenderizer).

* Laab is commonly made with pork. Feel free to use ground pork or pork tenderloin chopped up very finely.

*The original recipe calls for 1/4 tbsp ground dried chili pepper. I subbed cayenne and only used 1/4 tsp because I don't like super spicy. Feel free to put as much or little spice to suite your taste.

* Later on this week I'll share with you one of the most addictive sweet treats. I'm cursing my sister for sending me the recipe because I can't stop eating it!!!


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