Sunday, August 22, 2010

Larb Gai

My mom is in town. I'm now the sous chef, with the 4x6 cards in the background frantically trying to eyeball just how much of what she put in where. She's never used measuring utensils, I think that's why it is hard for me to cook with them also. I'm cool with that. Just keep cooking mom.
This is the ONE dish that will make my Pixie girl (who will be two soon)eat lettuce, she likes it wrapped in lettuce and goes to town.
Kaffir leaves. So fragrant and fresh. My mom brought these from home, she grows just about everything. I didn't get that gene. I can't grow mint, basil, nothing.
5/11/207 update= I have made this withOUT the rice powder for a Whole30 compliant salad and it's still yummy! I'll be making it for more Whole 30 meals for sure.

Larb Gai

5-6 chicken breasts
1 cup chicken hearts and/or gizzards (optional- we leave them out for my husband)
kosher salt to taste
1 to 3 tablespoons nam pla/fish sauce (I love tiparos brand  Red Boat!)
juice from 11/2 to 2 limes
Thai chili powder to taste (don't bother with other chili powders that will give you smokiness from the ancho in there- NOT what you want)
2 1/2 teaspoon ground galangal root (or use very finely chopped fresh galangal root)
5-6 kaffir leaves chopped finely or chiffonade (I like it to have substance so I like the chiffonade)
3-4 tablespoons rice powder (toasted uncooked glutenous rice ground in a spice grinder)
1/2 to 1/3 cup finely sliced red onion
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup loose packed mint leaves (coarsely chopped if you want, whole is fine)
* If you have 1 pair of disposable gloves, get them out, I love my disposable gloves.*

Purple/red onion sliced thin, chopped cilantro, kaffir leaves. Pretend you see mint leaves there also. I was taking pictures and following orders, not easy.

 Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Broil or grill. Do not over cook them, you don't want them to be dry. Set them aside to rest. Save the juices.

Boil the chicken hearts/gizzards in salted water with a 3 inch piece of lemongrass until tender. Remove from water and slice thinly. (We saved the water for congee- YUM)

 Cut the chicken breasts into a small dice. You could pulse it in the food processor in short pulses- but it's not the same.
In a big bowl add the juices from the cooked chicken. A little salt and nam pla. Mix to dissolve the salt. Add chicken. With your golved hands mix the chicken, chicken hearts/gizzards, chili powder, galangal root, lime juice, rice powder and kaffir. Work the seasonings in without squeezing or over working the chicken.  TASTE, TASTE, TASTE. Add more seasonings as you like them. Taste some more and season again if needed. Gently mix in vegetables and herbs with your hands.

Serve with radishes, Thai eggplant, cucumber slices, lettuce, fresh Thai bird chilies, mint, cilantro, glutenous/sticky rice.

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