Lately I seem to be making a lot of South East Asian dishes. I think it’s because the weather is warming up and I’m happy to put aside the heavy stews and casseroles in favour of something lighter and fresher.
So this is another Thai meal – the laap (or larb) is often classified as a salad although it’s more like a stir fry in some ways. It is one of my most favourite Thai dishes – if you haven’t had it before, you should definitely try it! It may not look like much, but it really has the most amazing flavours. This recipe comes from a cook book called The Food of Thailand: a journey for food lovers. According to the book, laap means ‘good fortune.’ You can make this dish with any type of mince – pork, beef, chicken and even duck. I like to add coriander to mine as well, even though this recipe doesn’t call for it.
The other dish I made was a stir fry of veggies – it’s not a traditional Thai dish, but I’ve used a lot of the typical flavours. The amount of sauce and fragrant herbs and spices in it can vary according to your own tastes.
1 Tbsp jasmine rice
280g minced meat such as pork, chicken, beef or duck
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tsbp fish sauce
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely sliced
50g Asian shallots, finely sliced (can substitute with red onion)
5 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp roasted chilli powder, according to taste
a few lettuce leaves
a few mint leaves (and coriander if you like), for garnish
raw vegetables such as snake beans, cut into lengths, cucumber slices, thin wedges of cabbage, halved baby tomatoes, to serve
Dry fry the rice in a small pan over a medium heat. Shake the pan to move the rice around, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the rice is brown. Using a pestle and mortar or a small blender, pound or blend the rice until it almost forms a powder.
In a saucepan or wok, cook the mince meat with the lime juice and fish sauce over a high heat. Crumble and break the meat until it has separated into small pieces. Cook until light brown. Dry, then remove from the heat.
Add the rice powder, lemongrass, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, spring onions and chilli powder to the meat and stir together. Taste, then adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Line a serving plate with lettuce leaves. Spoon the meat over the leaves, then garnish with mint leaves (and coriander if using). Arrange the vegetables on a separate plate.
Fragrant stir fried vegetables
1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed, sliced lengthways and then cut in half
1 red capsicum, sliced into batons
1 425g can of whole baby corn, drained, each cob sliced in half if big
3-5 frozen Thai fish cakes, defrosted and sliced
1 bunch of coriander, chopped
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
1 chilli, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
In a wok, heat up 1-2 tsp of coconut oil. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the asparagus, stir fry for half a minute, then add the capsicum and corn. Stir fry for another minute before adding the fish cakes. Add a splash of soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce and a generous pinch of sugar. At this point, also add the kaffir lime leaves, coriander and chilli and stir fry until everything is cooked, but not soft. Serve.