Archive for spicy

Larb, wonderful larb

Posted in Main Course, salads, Sides with tags , , , , on August 1, 2009 by Rosalini

Larb, a sour and spicy Thai- or Laotian-style salad, is my new favorite summer dinner. There is no one way to make larb, which makes it versatile and easily suited to one’s personal tastes, preferences, and food taboos. I’ve seen recipes for larb made with chicken, fish, duck, beef, tofu and pork, raw and cooked, served cold or hot, with various combination of herbs, spices, and vegetables. This recipe which calls for lean ground turkey breast and lots of chili paste is adapted from one I found on and adjusted quite a bit. I was very satisfied with it, and will definitely make it again. I think next time I’ll try it with extra firm tofu. It is wonderful cold or hot.

THE SAUCE (whisk the following together in a bowl and set aside)

  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 generous tablespoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chili paste)

THE BODY (instructions follow)

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1.5 pounds lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced (about 1.5 cups)
  • 4 shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced into half-rings
  • 3 tablespoons very finely minced lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons fresh serrano chilis, sliced into paper-thin rings
  • 1/2 cup each of roughly chopped fresh cilantro and mint
  • 3 tablespoons of toasted white rice, roughly ground

In a heavy skillet or wok, bring broth to a simmer, then crumble ground turkey into the pan. When the turkey is cooked and well crumbled, add toasted rice, green onions, shallots, lemongrass, and serrano chilis. Cook until veggies are just tender, then remove from heat and let rest about 10 minutes, then add sauce, cilantro and mint. Taste when herbs have wilted, and adjust chili sauce to your preference.

Larb can be eaten with a spoon right out of the pan, served on a bed of fresh greens, or wrapped in lettuce leaves, but my favorite way to have it is wrapped in green cabbage and radicchio leaves. Vegetarians should substitute tofu for the turkey, and a good vegetable stock for the chicken stock, and I think it will be just as nice.


Sinister Chili Verde

Posted in Main Course, Soup/Stew with tags , , , on May 1, 2009 by d0g3n

I entered (and won) a chili cookoff at Brooklyn Botanic Garden in NYC a few years ago with this recipe. The secret is lots of peppers, so that the flavor comes from the peppers rather than from stale old chili powder. It looks scary, but trust me–it is totally approachable by all but the weakest eaters. Here you go:

Sinister Chili Verde

2 pounds assorted hot green chili peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound tomatillos, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
1 generous handful fresh chopped cilantro
½ tablespoon cumin
1 pound chicken breast meat
2—16 oz cans whole kernel sweet corn
1—16 oz cooked black beans
fresh ground black pepper


Roast the chili peppers, peel, and remove all the seeds.  The heat of the chilies is in the white placenta that connects the seeds to the flesh of the pepper. Cleaning the chilies is the key step, and makes the difference between a teasingly hot taste and one that is potentially painful.  Rinse the chilies
after seeding if they still seem too fiery.

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until onions start to wilt and turn translucent.  Add garlic.  Chop roasted chili peppers and add to pot, along with tomatillos.  Add broth and spices and bring to a simmer.  Add remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.  If it is too caliente, wait—it should become slightly milder as the flavors meld together.  Let everything simmer for at least 45 minutes, check seasoning, and serve.