I know I start too many recipe posts with “this meal was inspired by something I found in the reduced section” but it happens to be true again. Chicken mince isn’t a regular ingredient in our household and since making this meal once I haven’t been able to find it again (in case you’re wondering our packet came from the Halal section at the supermarket).
I, unfortunately, haven’t been to Thailand but I had heard of Larb and once cooked it for my Mum in Australia – she couldn’t eat it due to the fact it was way too spicy for her delicate palate – the long term joke being that tomato ketchup is the limit of what she can handle when it comes to heat!
Luckily it’s a dish that you can adapt to whatever your tastes are – simply play around with the ingredients, increasing what you do like and decreasing what you don’t. It covers almost all the basic tastes; sweetness (red onion and mint), sourness (lime and lemongrass), saltiness (soy sauce and fish sauce) as well as spiciness (chilli and garlic). I love the difference in texture between the mince and the fresh lettuce, onion and crunchiness of the peanuts. It’s an explosion of flavour in the mouth.
The reason it is quick & easy is because I have cheated by using jars and tubes of the ingredients that make up the base of the dish. These could easily be substituted for their fresh counterparts but once the jar & tube contents were combined with fresh meat, vegetables and the dressing I’m not sure you could taste the difference. And a fresh, healthy, zesty, spicy, flavoursome and filling meal on the table in about 20 minutes! Well that sells it to me!
Recommended to be eaten with hands and keep napkins nearby for the inevitable juices.
I did also make a version with pork (which I think might be how larb is traditionally made) which reminded me of Jamie Oliver’s “Green Chilli”.
1T sesame oil
2T chopped chillies
2T minced garlic
1T fish sauce
1T soy sauce
1/2 red onion, sliced
gem lettuce leaves
handful of peanuts, chopped (optional)
- Heat sesame oil in a pan over a medium heat.
- Add chilli, garlic and lemongrass. Cook for about 5 minutes until very aromatic.
- Add mince, turn heat up slightly and stir until fully cooked (about 10 minutes).
- Turn off heat and leave.
- Make dressing by combining lime juice, fish sauce and soy sauce.
- Throw dressing, mint leaves and red onion into the pan with the mince. Give everything a good stir.
- Spoon into lettuce leaves.
- Sprinkle over the chopped peanuts (if using) and serve.