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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Poultry · Sponsored

Basil Chicken and Egg Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps2

I’m all about easy to make meals these days…..

Ok, let’s be honest. I’ve always been enamored with low fuss meals–particularly during the weekdays when I’m always short on time. And when those dishes are savory, fulfilling AND on the health conscious then it’s a NGUYEN-WIN!!!

I’ll tell ya, these Basil Chicken and Egg Lettuce Wraps fit that bill perfectly!

And guess what?

It’s PALEO!!! Yup, you read correctly!

Lettuce Wraps3

Partnering again with our friends at Safest Choice® Eggs, I took quality ground chicken and stir fried it with classic South East Asian aromatics.  After a few splashes of fish sauce (there are tons of fantastic paleo fish sauces out there), I topped the chicken with ribbons of Safe Eggs. Tons of lean protein, packed with flavor and yet still light on the tummy.

Click here to read my post on Paleo Basil Chicken and Egg Lettuce Wraps and here for the recipe.

Have a fantastic week!

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Poultry · Soups/Stews

Thai Red Curry Chicken

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

A few weeks ago, my sister labored in the kitchen with her version of Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Cà Ri Gà). The next day, Pioneer Woman posted her version of Red Thai Duck Curry.

It was a Sign.

The Kitchen Gods were telling me to make Curry.

And I don’t mess with Kitchen Divinities. That’s just bad Ju-Ju.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

I haven’t had Thai in awhile so I opted to give the Pioneer Woman’s recipe a spin. I heart PW. She wouldn’t steer me wrong.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

I took a few liberties and slightly modified PW’s original recipe. First–I used chicken instead of duck since it was what I had on hand. I also added a few more tablespoons of the curry paste for an added oompf of flavor. Since I do not like the taste of cooked pineapples (BLEH!), I totally omitted it. I found that the curry had natural sweetness from the coconut and didn’t need to add any sweeteners to compensate for it.

And because this gal loves heat, I threw in a few Thai Bird Chilies. But if you don’t like your curries too spicy, skip it. Finally, I added some scallions and cilantro at the very end with the Thai basil.

It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Rich, savory, herbaceous—and just yummy! For next time, I’d like to throw in a few kaffir leaves for an added layer of citrus flavor.  Note to self: Smuggle a few leaves off my auntie’s kaffir lime tree next time I go visit.

If you want a seafood option, I think prawns would also be fantastic in this curry. Just wait until the last few minutes to throw them in because overcooked prawns is no bueno.

 

Thai Red Chicken Curry

 

 

And for the record, I did end up making my own curry paste. I contemplated using the jarred stuff but then I heard my sister’s voice in my head asking “So…..did you make your own curry paste?”  Sheesh…..That woman always keeps me honest in the kitchen 🙂

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Thai Red Curry Chicken
Slightly modified from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Serves 5 – 6

Ingredients:

1½ Pounds Boneless Chicken Thighs
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
8 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
14 Ounces Coconut Milk
2 Cups Hot Water
4 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, minced
½ Whole Red Onion, sliced
3-4 Thai Bird Chilies, minced (optional)
1 Whole Red Bell Pepper, cored and sliced
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes
1 Cup Fresh Thai Basil, chopped
½ Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
½ Cup Scallions, chopped
Serve with Jasmine Rice Cooked

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken skin side down and cook for several minutes, or until skin is crisp and golden brown. (Don’t worry about cooking the chicken at this point. You just want to give the skin some great color.) Remove from the skillet and cut into slices. I also removed the skin but that’s completely up to you. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium low. If oil isn’t overly brown, go ahead and add the minced garlic to the pan. (If oil is to brown, pour it off and add some new oil.) Add red curry paste to the pan and stir. Cook paste for several minutes to release the flavors. Pour in the coconut milk, hot water, fish sauce, and minced ginger. Stir and allow to cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a separate pot heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add sliced onions and bell pepper and cook for several minutes. Make sure the pan is hot, then add sliced chicken and stir. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.

Taste curry sauce, which should be slightly thickened by now. Add more spice if needed.  Pour curry sauce into the pot with the veggies, chilies, and chicken. Stir to combine and allow to bubble and simmer for a good 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little hot water if it seems too thick, or allow to bubble longer if it needs more thickening. Remove from heat and add scallions. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. At the last minute, stir in lots of chopped basil and cilantro. Serve immediately over jasmine rice.


Poultry

Thai Basil Turkey…..Light, Full Flavored, Fast.

No matter what your cooking level is, I believe that everyone has 1 or 2 dishes in your arsenal that can be whipped out at any time and WOW any crowd. Lucky for me, one of my go-to dishes is light and flavorful…..and can be made in 20 minutes. Yup, I said it. 20 minutes.

Introducing my coveted Thai Basil Turkey.

Many everyday South East Asian dishes can be prepared very quickly. The combination of having your mis en place ready with the use of high heat truly expedites the process—resulting in flavorful and quick meals.

At most Thai restaurants you will probably find some variation of Thai Basil Chicken—in either ground or sliced form. Before incorporating it into my own repertoire, I used to order it all the time. I loved the herbaceous spicy flavors from the Thai Basil and how it pairs so well with the heat of the chilies. However, once I started making it, I began using lean ground turkey for an even lighter alternative. I’m happy to report, it does not compromise the end result at all. (Note: Thai Basil has a very distinct flavor from the commonly found Sweet Basil or Lemon Basil)

This dish can be enjoyed with rice or if you’re looking for an even lighter (or low carb) alternative, use it in lettuce wraps. Serve them in endive leaves and they will be a great appetizer, too!  In the photo shown, I used a large romaine lettuce since I had it on hand but I’d suggest using a Butter Lettuce as those leaves have a more natural “cup-like” curvature.

Hope you give this delicious and quick dish a try!

Until next time friends…..Cheers!

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Thai Basil Turkey
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
1½ Cups Loosely Packed Thai Basil, chopped
½ Cup Chopped Green Onions
2 Tablespoons Fresh Garlic, finely minced
4-6 Red Thai Bird Chilies, finely minced
2-3 Tablespoon Nước mắm (fish sauce)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Ground Black Pepper

In a wok or large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1-2 minutes. Add Chilies and cook for 1 minute. Add Green Onions and cook for an additional minute. Add Ground Turkey. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spoonula, stir the turkey around the pan while breaking it apart to a crumbled consistency. Cook turkey until it is no long pink, approximately 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add pepper, Nước mắm, and Thai Basil. Check seasonings and adjust to desired flavor.

Serve with rice or with large lettuce leaves to wrap.

NOTE: I like A LOT of spice in my dishes and tend to use even more than 6 chilies. However, if you are unsure about the spice level, just try 1-2 to start off with.

Have your mis en place before starting and this will be a breeze