The secret to a good Thai larb is the roasted rice powder, which adds texture and also thickens the dressings, helping them to stick to the chicken. Served with some raw vegetables, it makes for a great light dinner. You could also try this with pork, beef or turkey mince.
2 tbsp uncooked white or brown rice
1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
1 kg chicken mince
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
1 red onion, peeled, halved and very thinly sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 cup mint, loosely packed
2 cups coriander, loosely packed
Leaves of 1 baby cos lettuce, to serve
2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled in intervals and thinly sliced, to serve
2 cups green beans, trimmed, to serve
Sliced bird’s-eye chillies, to serve
Place the uncooked rice in a dry frypan and heat over medium heat, tossing occasionally for about 2 minutes until white rice begins to turn chalky white and light brown around the edges. If using brown rice, it will begin to brown and smell nutty and toasted. Add the chilli powder and flakes and toss in the pan for a further 30 seconds until the chilli is fragrant. Transfer the rice and chilli to a mortar and pestle and grind to a coarse powder.
Place the chicken in a large frypan over high heat together with 1/2 cup water and cook, breaking up and stirring regularly, for about 8 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is evaporated. Transfer to a large bowl and pour over the fish sauce and caster sugar and stir through. Allow the chicken to cool until it stops steaming and add the lime juice, red onion, spring onion, mint, coriander and the rice and chilli powder mixture. Toss to coat well and serve with the raw vegetables on the side.
TIP: This dish is usually made with Thai roasted chilli powder, but it isn’t easy to come by outside Thailand. Toasting a mix of ordinary chilli flakes and chilli powder with the roasted rice is a really good substitute.
Reprinted with permission from Adam's Big Pot by Adam Liaw. Copyright 2017 Hamlyn.
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