Recipe for Laab Nuea (Ground Beef Salad)


1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla) **
1/2 teaspoon galangal powder(kha pon) **
6 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon scallion (spring onion), chopped
2 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoon ground roasted sticky rice**
1 teaspoon thai red chili pepper, ground (pri; k khee no pon)
15 mint leaves


Description: The blend of fresh herbs and lime juice makes this salad very refreshing. This laab recipe was taken to Bangkok by the people of the Northeast and is one of the favorite dishes of Thailand. Other meats such as chicken or pork can also be used.

Directions: Combine the ground beef with the lime juice, fish sauce, galangal powder and shallots. Heat a skillet and cook the ground beef mixture on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until the beef is cooked. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the chopped green onion and cilantro and the ground roasted rice. Mix thoroughly so that everything is well combined. Remove to a serving plate, spoon the ground pepper on the side of the plate if desired, and garnish with the mint leaves. Serve with an accompaniment of raw vegetables, such as long string beans or snake beans, sliced cabbage, green leaf lettuce/Chinese lettuce, basil leaves, and swamp cabbage or spinach.

** TERMS Roasted sticky rice: Prepared by adding raw sticky rice to a hot skillet and cooking until it is golden brown. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan at occasional intervals. Grind in a mortar with a pestle if ground roasted sticky rice is needed. Galangal (kha): A relative of the ginger root, galangal is pale yellow and has a unique, delicate flavor. Fresh young ginger root, but not dried ginger, is an adequate substitute, but does not properly replace the unique flavor. Fish sauce (nam pla): A salty, pale brown liquid used widely in Thai cooking, this is made from fermented small fish or shrimp. THe fish are salted and fermented in jars and then the liquid is collected. It adds salt to many dishes and is essential for authentic Thai flavors--and is available from Asian food stores.

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