Laab (Thai Pork Salad) & Sticky Rice

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I remember seeing laab and sticky rice cooked on MasterChef last year and was intrigued by the fact I’d never even heard of the country it originates, Laos, on the northeastern side of Thailand. I had to pick up some random ingredients from the market, including lemongrass which I had never even seen before in my life – I only found it because one delightful stall-owner had included a label.  I also had to acquire Chinese five spice but I’m sure it’ll be a good kitchen staple in the long run. I know it is not the most authentic recipe but it tasted amazing and would work so well for a dinner party. I can’t wait to try the real thing in Thailand one day (hopefully soon!).

Laab & Sticky Rice

Time: 30minutes
Serves: 4 skinnies or 3 fatties

If you’re cooking rice to go with the laab, best to get it on first. I know this isn’t the proper way to cook sticky rice but I didn’t have 5 or so hours to let the rice soak. Start by rinsing a cup of rice thoroughly until the water passes through clear. Let sit in the sieve a few minutes then add the rice and 1 cup of cold water to a pot/pan with a tight fitting lid. Heat on high until the water starts to boil then drop down the temperature to simmer for 15minutes, keeping covered the whole time. Remove from the heat, cover snuggly with a clean tea towel then set aside.

For the laab, add the olive oil, minced garlic and chili to a pan and sizzle until fragrant. Add the mince and cook for 2 minutes before adding the chili flakes, spice powder, salt, pepper, coriander and cardamom and cooking for a further 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking until the mince is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

Boom. You’re done.

By this time the rice should be ready to serve. All you need to do is garnish the laab with mint, cilantro, lemongrass, shallot, chili, cucumber and tomato, or whatever combination of ingredients you have on hand, and serve. You could easily double or triple this recipe for a dinner party. It looks and tastes much fancier than it is and takes no time at all to cook. Next time I’ll explore other variations of the recipe, perhaps getting a little more authentic.

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