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Making Laab Gai (Moved from Ontario Board)

koknia May 2, 2007 07:11 AM

I bet you can make better Laab Gai at home, it doesn't have very many ingredients. The trick IMO is to make your own roasted rice powder, as the store-bought stuff is pretty sad. Just toast in an iron skillet and pulverize in a mortar and pestle. Make sure you add enough mint and have fresh sticky rice.

  1. Sam Fujisaka May 3, 2007 07:38 AM

    A tip for laab nuea: toss the roughly ground beef into a pot of boiling water and drain while still pink rather than sauteeing. Removes fat and is the way home cooks in village Laos do it.

    koknia, you're absolutely right--duck laab!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
      acd123 May 3, 2007 08:30 AM

      Use roughly ground beef or thin BBQ steak slices? Would both work just as well?

      1. re: acd123
        Sam Fujisaka May 3, 2007 09:48 AM

        Yes, thin steak slices would work well. I guess I would freeze the steak a bit in order to be able to cut very thinly. Just drain very quickly--you want pink, not grey slices.

    2. a
      acd123 May 2, 2007 08:27 AM

      Thanks for the tip. I'll try to make the roasted rice powder myself next time. Is there a specific type of rice to use? Roast it in a pan until it turns brown???

      I think I'll make that for dinner tonight, with tamarind shrimp curry. I have an amazing recipe.

      7 Replies
      1. re: acd123
        Yongeman May 3, 2007 03:23 AM

        acd123 and koknia, I'm enjoying your Thai dialogue. It's early morning and I'm hungry for the food that you're discussing. Any chance of getting the recipes for your tamarind curry shrimp (acd123) or Laab Gai (koknia)?

        1. re: Yongeman
          koknia May 3, 2007 04:31 AM

          I don't usually make laab, but I use the same method to make a steak salad. Here's a laab recipe, with photos.

          acd123 - just experiment a bit. I just use any rice, they might use sticky rice. It has to have a nice roasted, almost nutty flavour. Browner is better IMO.

          If you skip the chicken and use a nice piece of rare BBQ-ed steak, sliced thin, you end up with an approximation of another Issan classic, 'Nam Tok Neu-a' (lit. "Waterfall Beef"). The roasted rice absorbs the dressing and sticks to the meat. Great party trick.

          I'm just back from working in Thailand and Cambodia for the winter, so I had a few laabs along the way. Duck is my fav.

          1. re: koknia
            Yongeman May 3, 2007 06:02 AM

            Thanks for the link...looks delicious.

            1. re: Yongeman
              koknia May 3, 2007 06:08 AM

              No problem. The final shot is exactly how it should look.
              Very simple.

        2. re: acd123
          QueenB May 3, 2007 06:04 AM

          According to David Rosengarten, the recommended rice is thai sticky rice. Throw it uncooked into a pan, toast then grind in a spice grinder. However, he also adds that you can use any rice you have on hand.

          1. re: QueenB
            acd123 May 3, 2007 07:24 AM

            My tamarind shrimp curry recipe is from a book so I'll send it when I get some time.

            Following are two recipes for Laab Gai (one is slightly different than the other).

            Laab Gai

            1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, minced in food processor (do not sub ground chicken, it is too fatty!)
            1 Tablespoon roasted rice powder
            3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
            2 spring onions, chopped
            2 tablespoons chopped shallots
            3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
            1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
            2 tablespoons lime juice
            1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
            1 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste

            thinly sliced cabbage or lettuce, for serving
            fresh cilantro stems, for garnish

            1. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat, no oil necessary.
            2. Add chicken, stir until cooked through.
            3. Remove from heat, drain excess liquid.
            4. Add fish sauce and lime juice.
            5. Toss all together with cilantro, onion, shallots, mint, cayenne, rice powder, and ground chile/garlic paste.
            6. Adjust seasoning to taste.
            7. Serve immediately over lettuce leaves or thinly sliced cabbage.
            8. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

            Here is another great recipe for Laab Gai:


          2. re: acd123
            Sam Fujisaka May 3, 2007 07:33 AM

            Any rice will do for the toasted powder.

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