larb—a delightful thai salad

I am a big fan of the Spilled Milk Podcast by Molly Wizenberg and Mathew Amester-Burton. It makes me laugh out loud—usually on my commute home—which in any other city might look weird, but in San Francisco just makes me typical. A few weeks ago they did an episode on Thai Salads and I was inspired to try this dish. The toasted rice component was irresistible.

This dish is typically served in cabbage leaves. You could also serve it over rice or noodles. Or —my preferred method—make little Thai burritos with cabbage leaves, rice and larb all wrapped up in one awesome bundle.

Larb Gai, adapted from Spilled Milk
1 pound ground chicken thighs or pork (breasts will dry out too much)
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 to 3 tablespoons toasted rice powder (below)
cabbage or lettuce leaves leaves

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken or pork, shallots, scallions, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and lime juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through.

Turn the larb out into a bowl and cool for at least ten minutes. Stir in rice powder. Serve with cabbage or lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Toasted Rice Powder
1/4 white rice, uncooked

Place a dry skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup white rice to the pan. Toast the rice, stirring and shaking the pan frequently, until the rice is golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature and grind to a very fine powder in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. I used my magic bullet—thanks Dad!

Larb is as delicious as it is fun to say! Jordan and I really enjoyed this meal. We are also trying to invent more things to top with toasted rice powder! That stuff is awesome.

-Emily