Poultry · Seafood

Thai Inspired Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai

Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai
I must admit that I’ve been incredibly lazy in the kitchen these past few weeks. It’s been really warm and humid (for San Diego standards, that is) and the last thing I want to do is hang out over the hot stove for long periods of time.

And don’t even get me started about my utter disdain for dishes!

Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai
So my “cooking” of late has really consisted of compiling ingredients (salads or sandwiches), charcuterie boards (AMEN!), or quick prep dishes such as stir-frys.

Because…you know…. EVERYTHING STIR-FRY and all.

Total shameless plug.

Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai
But all self-promotion aside, stir-fry dishes are a total legit way to get something scrumptious in your belly with minimal cooking time. The majority of your efforts primarily go towards chopping the ingredients— easy peasy!

Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai
This Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai is a slight variation of my Pork Larb Gai which is a Thai minced pork salad. For the protein I went with a surf and turf approach as I love the flavor combo. For the ground chicken, you can go with breast meat but I prefer the flavor of dark meat. And if you want a really light approach, sub the chicken with ground turkey breast.

Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai

Whichever protein you select, you’ll really love Larb Gai –-especially during the summer months. The dish is light yet fulfilling and is punched up with TONS of flavor from the fresh lime juice, bright herbs and savory sauce. I often have it over steamed rice but when I’m feeling extra lazy or when it’s warm out, I use it as filling for lettuce wraps. Either way, you’ll love it.

Enjoy!

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Thai Inspired Shrimp & Chicken Larb Gai
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon warm water
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
1 teaspoon minced Thai chiles, divided
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced red onions or shallots
4-5 kaffir lime leaves, sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 pound ground chicken
½ pound peeled shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 scallions, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon ground toasted rice powder*
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly torn
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly torn

In a small bowl, create the sauce by whisking together the sugar and warm water until dissolved. Add in 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and ½ teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste). Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the minced onions, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add ½ teaspoon minced chiles (more to taste), red chili flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium-high and add in the ground chicken.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the chicken around the wok/skillet while breaking it apart to a crumbled consistency. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes and then add the shrimp Stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes until the shrimp becomes pink and opaque. Stir in the remaining fish sauce and scallions.

Remove the wok/skillet from the heat. Toss in the rice powder, remaining lime juice, sliced red onions, mint leaves, cilantro leaves, and Thai basil. Stir in a few spoonfuls of the sauce to taste. Plate the larb with extra fresh herbs, whole chiles, lime wedges, sliced cucumbers, and lettuce. Serve immediately with either steamed rice or whole lettuce leaves for wraps. The remaining sauce can be served alongside as a dipping sauce.

*If you cannot find pre-ground toasted rice powder, you can easily make your own. Toast uncooked jasmine rice in a skillet over low heat until golden brown. Once cooled, transfer the toasted rice into a spice grinder and grind until you get a fine powder.

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Drinks

Day 5 of A Week of Holiday Cocktails – Hōkū

Hoku

It’s day 5 of our Week of Holiday Cocktails and I have to admit, out of all of the drinks, I couldn’t wait to share with you all this one…..the Hōkū

At it’s core, it embodies each level that I look for in the flavor profile of an ideal cocktail. It’s highly aromatic, packs a great level of citrus acidity and well—it’s quite strong. Furthermore, the Hōkū is a nod to South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Hoku

The Hōkū begins with a Kaffir Lime Infused Gin. Kaffir limes are prevalent in Southeast Asian cuisine and have not only a distinct flavor but appearance. On average they are the size of a small golf ball but have a bumpy exterior. They have a wonderful citrus tone that is reminiscent of lemongrass.

To make Kaffir Lime Infused Gin, place 15-20 kaffir lime leaves that have been slightly torn in a mason jar (or other resealable container). Add the zest of 1-2 kaffir limes and top off the jar with your choice of gin. Cap the jar and refrigerate for about 2-3 weeks, shaking the jar every few days. You’ll be surprised how well the kaffir limes pair with gin and it really adds such an unexpected kick.

Hoku

The other wonderful component to this drink is starfruit. Not only are they quite pretty but they’ve got a unique, subtle flavor. To me, starfruits taste a bit like a grapes with a hint of citrus. I muddle starfruit with the kaffir lime infused gin, kaffir limes and a bit of sugar. The juices are then topped off with tonic water. As for the name, Hōkū is the Hawaiian word for star.

The Hōkūs pictured here were quite near and dear to my heart as I was able to use the starfruit from our mom’s old tree that now resides at our aunties home. Our mom was so proud of this tree as the fruit it grew were small but had the perfect starfruit flavor. She would often make a homey Vietnamese soup with them – Canh Khế or a bright Vietnamese salad – Gỏi Khế. Somehow I don’t think Mom would have been surprised to find that I’ve used her starfruit in a cocktail 🙂

And with that friends — Ōkole maluna! (Bottoms up!)

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Hōkū
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup roughly chopped fresh starfruit
1 small kaffir lime, cut into quarters
1 teaspoon raw sugar
4 ounces kaffir lime infused gin*
ice
tonic water, about 6-8 ounces
2-3 dashes bitters
starfruit slices and kaffir lime leaves for garnish (optional)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the starfruit, lime, and raw sugar. Add the gin and fill the shaker halfway with ice. Vigorously shake for 15-20 seconds and strain the liquids between two glasses filled with ice. Top off each glass with the tonic water and add a dash of bitters to each. Garnish with starfruit slices and kaffir lime leaves.