I Have One Word For You: Larb

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I discovered a great little Thai restaurant in Chapel Hill, Twisted Noodle. I ordered their Ground Chicken Larb - basically a ground meat & herb salad - and it was so delicious and "not boring chicken" that I had to roll up my sleeves and figure out how to make it. 

Be warned:  if you're a Thai food purist, this isn't an authentic recipe by any means. But when you come home from the gym on a Monday night and you're hangry, it fits the bill for a quick and satisfying dinner.

This Larb also works wonders if you're trying to strip off the winter fluff and get ready for Spring, but can't possibly choke down another chicken breast or pile of ground turkey. God bless Asian cuisine (even if it's "not authentic") because it always gets me excited about cooking and eating properly again.

What can I say? Sometimes I get really sick of the foods in my regular rotation and lose my appetite and start eating protein pancakes for every meal. This causes my husband to worry ("Babe - that can't possibly be good for you. I don't think you're supposed to eat protein pancakes for every meal...") and is usually when I start breaking out my small arsenal of Asian recipes. I think their blend of spicy-sour-sweet ingredients somehow shocks my palate and senses back to life. I'm definitely adding this Ground Turkey Larb to that mix.

If you're making it for kids, reduce the chiles and Sriracha so you don't burn their faces off. I don't have kids, but I'm told they protest things like spicy food.

Adapted from this non-recipe from Bon Appetit

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs. ground turkey or chicken works

6 scallions, finely chopped (white and green parts)

4 serrano peppers or Thai chiles (click here if you don't know your peppers/chiles!)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. coconut aminos, Tamari, or low-sodium soy sauce

2 tsp. fish sauce

2 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce 

1 Tbs. coconut sugar (brown sugar is fine)

salt and pepper

garnish: more Sriracha, fresh lime, and lots of fresh basil, mint, and/or cilantro to garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a small bowl, combine coconut aminos (or Tamari or soy sauce - whatever you're using!) with fish sauce and Sriracha. Whisk to combine. Add coconut sugar and stir until sugar starts to dissolve. Set aside.

2. To a large skillet over medium-high heat, add ground turkey and cook until almost browned, using a wooden spoon to break up the turkey into small pieces. Add chopped chiles, scallions, and garlic and cook for a few minutes longer until turkey is completely browned. Season with a few pinches of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. 

3. Add the soy sauce mixture to the ground turkey and stir until combined. 

Taste and adjust seasonings - you might want more heat/Sriracha, a squeeze of lime juice, etc.

COOKS' TIP: Serve with steamed rice, cauli rice, or as lettuce wraps with Bibb or butter lettuce leaves. Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime, quick-pickled veggies like carrots and cucumber, Sriracha, and lots of torn cilantro, mint, and/or basil.