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Regional Recipe – Laotian Larb (Ground chicken with spices)

Larb serving idea
Regional Recipe – Laotian Larb (Ground chicken with spices)

The secret to a good larb is the roasted rice powder, which adds texture and also thickens the juices, helping them to coat the chicken – don’t skip that step. Served with some raw vegetables, or used as the stuffing for lettuce wraps, Larb makes a healthy, light meal. You could also use ground pork, beef or turkey.

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp uncooked white or brown rice
• 1 tsp chili powder, or to taste
• 1 tsp chili flakes, or to taste
• 2 lb 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 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
• 1 cup mint, loosely packed
• 2 cups cilantro, loosely packed
• Leaves of 1 baby romaine or bibb lettuce, to serve
• 2 seedless cucumbers, peeled in intervals and thinly sliced, to serve
• 2 cups green beans, trimmed, to serve


Directions
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 chili powder and flakes and toss in the pan for a further 30 seconds until the chili is fragrant. Transfer the rice and chili to a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or food processor and grind to a coarse powder.
Place the chicken in a large pan 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 add the fish sauce and caster sugar and stir. Allow the chicken to cool until it stops steaming and add the lime juice, red onion, green onion, mint, cilantro and the rice and chili powder mixture. Toss to coat well and serve with the raw vegetables on the side.

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