Also known as lap and lahb, this minced-meat salad is the national dish of Laos. Some Lao and Thai versions include fish sauce and some favor mint over cilantro, but the core of the dish remains a chopped salad of lightly spiced pork, beef, chicken, or duck brightened with fresh herbs.
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup chopped English cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 cabbage leaves
Thai chile paste (optional)
Place curry paste, chicken, and salt in a food processor; process until smooth. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Remove pan from heat; stir in cucumber and next 3 ingredients (through juice). Place 2 cabbage leaves on each of 4 plates; divide chicken mixture evenly among leaves. Serve with chile paste, if desired.
Calories 174; Fat 4.9g (sat 0.6g, mono 2.6g, poly 1.3g); Protein 26.7g; Carb 4.1g; Fiber 0.3g; Chol 66mg
Southeast Asian cucumbers tend to grow shorter and thicker than Western varieties. They're also slightly sweeter from cross-breeding with various Asian melons. But any cucumber will do. The recipes here call for small Kirby (pickling) cucumbers as well as longer English (hothouse) cucumbers. The latter often come wrapped in plastic in American supermarkets and tend to have fewer seeds and softer, less bitter-tasting skins. Both varieties bring crunch, freshness, and a burst of juicy liquid to everything from satay and salads to noodle bowls and bánh mì.
From Cooking Light Global Kitchen by David Joachim, Oxmoor House, 2014.
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