Larb is a Laotian or Thai version of a meat salad. The word is pronounced like lahb or lahp. The meat salad is frequently seasoned with fish sauce and lime juice. This recipe comes from Gaby Dalkin’s website, whatsgabycooking.com. The link is here. She now has some vegetarian versions of larb as well, and she serves her larb recipes as a self-contained bowl dish. The dish we chose to make was superb and we plan to make several other of Gaby’s larb bowls.
The recipe calls for sambal oelek, an Indonesian chile paste. The base of sambal oelek is crushed raw red chiles, vinegar, and salt. The simplicity of the recipe belies the power and utility of the ingredient. If unavailable, you could substitute sriracha or Tabasco hot sauce, but we have found the sambal oelek is now widely available.
Rather than use the instructions listed in this recipe, we made the rice in our rice cooker with good results. Persian cucumbers are usually available, and their smaller size and thin skins are best for this recipe, but you could useEnglish cucumbers, too. Ground chicken is not as available as ground turkey, but we would rather grind the chicken than substitute the turkey. The flavor with the ground chicken is exquisite, and we found ground turkey was just not as good. We hope you try this dish.
For the quick pickles:
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
For the chicken:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
5 oz kale, deveined and chopped
1 lb ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp sambal oelek
1 Tbsp brown sugar
For the rice:
2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups jasmine rice
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh cilantro leaves
To make quick pickles:
In a small bowl, toss the cucumbers, red onion, and vinegar. Set aside to marinate while you cook the chicken.
To make the chicken:
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale and cook until wilted, 5 to 6 minutes. season with salt and carefully transfer to a medium bowl.
Add the ground chicken to the same skillet and cook, breaking it apart with the back of a wooden spoon and stirring frequently until no pink remains, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and scallions and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the soy sauce, sambal oelek, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Return the cooked kale to the skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and reduce the heat to low until ready to serve.
To make the rice:
Combine the water, coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Add the rice and bring back to a low simmer. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another 5 to 10 minutes, until fully cooked and soft. Uncover, fluff, and toss in the lime zest and juice.
Divide the rice among 4 bowls, followed by the chicken and kale, pickles, and plenty of fresh mint, basil, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes