Sometimes I need a bit of inspiration in the kitchen because it is easy to get stuck in a rut and keep making the same old things. My friend Megan sent me through a stack of her standby recipes and I was so inspired. The first of her recipes I have made is this one for chicken larb. Neil Perry has a recipe for Spicy Minced Chicken which I’ve made before and I love it but had forgotten about it. Megan’s recipe is quite similar and equally as delicious.
Ground roasted rice is called for in this recipe and if it seems too time consuming to make then you can get a satisfying crunch from a handful of crushed roasted peanuts. But it really isn’t that hard to roast some rice. All you need do is throw a good handful of jasmine rice into a dry pan over a low heat. Swirl around until each grain is opaque but not coloured. Grind up into a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle or whizz up in a mini bowl in the food processor.
I made the mistake of throwing in the ground roasted rice too early and it clung to the minced chicken and took on the colour from the chilli sauce. It looked as though the chicken mince was under done which isn’t a great look. So save it for the last minute and sprinkle just over the top for lovely crunch.
Earlier today I was up at Essie’s preschool making Yoghurt Sorbet with lime zest and juice. Very enthusiastic little cooks in her preschool class! The sorbet would be a sublime dessert to have after the Chicken Larb – must remember for next time.
I’m sorry to say that my kids didn’t get really excited about this but I steamed some jasmine rice, stirred through the chicken mince and shredded a little lettuce to serve on the side and that was reasonably successful. With all meals the kids are unpredictable so if I was to make this for dinner tonight there is a good chance some kids would love it and the ones who liked it last time would turn up their nose.
I’m inspired by Joel’s theory on buying clothes for kids. He likes to quote Wayne Gretzky, a retired ice hockey player.
Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.
Joel likes to buy clothes that are one size too big for our growing children so we get more wear out of them – buy clothes in the size they are growing to, not the size they have been/are. I figure I can apply the same theory to cooking for the kids. I don’t want to dumb down their taste buds and give them just sausages and chips every night. I hope to stretch them just a little and hopefully get them to still eat their dinner.
Just a little moment from my day. Well not today. A moment from the weekend. I sat down with a cup of tea and just watched my Matilda patiently painting. Such a lovely quiet moment with my very studious girl.
megan’s chicken larb
500 grams chicken mince (or finely chop some chicken thighs)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 golden shallots, finely chopped
1 lemongrass stalk (just the white bit) chopped and pounded in mortar and pestle
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of a lime
1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
4 tablespoons tamarind paste (made from block)
1/4 cup each chopped mint and coriander
½ pkt bean sprouts
4 tablespoons toasted ground rice powder
crisp lettuce leaves
steamed jasmine rice if you want to serve for kids
Heat peanut oil in wok. Stir fry the chicken, garlic, shallots and the lemongrass for a minute until chicken in cooked through. Be careful to break up any lumps of chicken mince.
Add sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, lime to the chicken. If you do not want to use chilli sauce use palm sugar. Stir to combine and adjust the taste with more lime juice or fish sauce.
Mix in coriander, mint and bean sprouts. Pile into lettuce leaves, sprinkle over the ground roasted rice and serve with lime wedges to squeeze over before eating.
Thank-you so much Megan for your inspiration! Joel and my taste buds were well and truly happy!