pork larb

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IMG_0952_thumb.jpgLarb is a classic Thai salad made with minced beef, pork or chicken and vegetables, served in a lettuce cup. The combination of flavourings, mint, coriander (cilantro) and lime, is very refreshing. Freshness and flavour – a perfect meal on a hot day.

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Feel free to experiment with the ingredients to suit your taste buds. Adjust the amount of chilli if you like it more or less spicy, or use substitutions if some ingredients are not readily available.

I do it all the time… sometimes I get an idea in my head about what I want to make and if I don’t have all the ingredients on hand I just use whatever I have on hand. Results may vary, but that can be a good thing.  Like the time I was going to make this incredible chicken pasta salad, but I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients so I substituted here and there. The resulting Tiramisu was incredible! As I said, results may vary.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the Larb. I had a Thai Pad Kaprow paste in the fridge that had lemongrass, garlic and chilli so I used that up and adjusted the amounts of those individual seasonings. I also used tubes of lemongrass and fresh chilli paste rather than fresh.

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And of course, you could use beef instead of pork.

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Or chicken.

And leftovers – if there are any – are very tasty cold. And that’s major coming from me. I’m really not a cold leftover sort of girl usually but for this I make an exception.

You will need:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass (you can get this in jars if fresh is not available).
2 small red Thai chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
40g grated fresh ginger
1.4kg pork mince
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
160ml lime juice
5 shredded kaffir lime leaves (again, I used some from a jar)
2/3 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
4 spring onions sliced thinly
8 large iceberg lettuce leaves

Heat oil in a large non stick frying pan or wok. Add the lemongrass, chilli, garlic and ginger and stir until the fragrance wafts through your kitchen – about 2 minutes.

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Add the pork and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes. Add the capsicum, and stir for another 2-3 minutes.

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Add the fish sauce and half the lime juice and cook for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining lime juice, herbs, onion and lime leaves in a small bowl.

Take the pan off the heat and pour over the pre-mixed juice and herbs.

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On each plate, form a bowl by placing two lettuce leaves together.

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Place 1/4 of the larb in each bowl of leaves.

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And you’re done! This is a meal on its own and it’s perfect if you follow a high protein, low carbohydrate regime.

And, as an added bonus, you wont need to call everyone to the table. They have been sitting there waiting for you since the aroma from the kitchen brought them in 10 minutes ago.

Enjoy!

herb chicken balls with spicy dipping sauce

(Makes about 40)

I made these recently. My teenage sons saw the recipe and asked if I was really going to cook chickens balls…

½ cup rice
2 teaspoons oil
5 spring onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
750g chicken mince
1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra oil for deep frying

Boil, steam or microwave rice until tender.

Heat oil in a pan. Add spring onions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring until spring onions are soft.

In a large bowl combine chicken, cheese, parsley, spring onion mixture and rice. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls.

Deep-fry balls in extra hot oil until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper.

Serve with Spicy Sauce (below).

SPICY SAUCE

2/3 cup mild Thai-style sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.