Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thai Spicy Ground Beef Salad (aka Laab)

Here's another similar summer meat salad recipe, though this one has a roasty flavor from the toasted rice flour and dried chilies. You will wind up with enough rice flour to make this at least twice. You need a blender or food processor.

I got the recipe from Thai Food Tonight, which has many good recipes and helpful videos.

2 lb. lean ground meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, whatever
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. white rice, any kind
10-15 whole dried red chili peppers
1/2 cabbage: green, red, or savoyed (or leaf lettuce)
4 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 red onion, minced
1/4 c. fish sauce
1-2 limes, juiced
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint, washed and chopped (optional)

Roast the rice in a pan until it is dark brown (but not burnt). Allow it to cool. Grind it in a blender or food processor until it is the consistency of sand.

Roast the whole red chilis until they are dark but not burnt. Grind them up using the blender/food processor, or chop by hand using a knife. They should be the size of the flakes you find at pizza restaurants.

Put the water in a large wok or deep frying pan. Bring it to a boil. Add the meat and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off any excess water and fat. Remove the pan from heat (no more cooking after this).

Add 2 Tbsp. of the roasted rice flour, the green and red onions, the fish sauce, the lime juice, and the cilantro and mint. Add the roasted chili flakes until the dish is at your desired spiciness level (it should be hot!). Serve warm or room temperature, with raw cabbage leaves or lettuce to use as scoops.

Tasty with sticky rice and radish salad.

NOTE: Ultimately the roasted rice flour is optional, and this is still good without it. It gives it a nice complex flavor, though, and absorbs any fat from the meat that would make the salad gross at room temp.

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