The laab, also know as larb or the AP, is one of the most popular dishes in Thai cuisine, and also one of my favorites. It is an incredibly fresh and aromatic salad and, thanks to its huge amount of chili peppers, perfect for making you sweat (as if that were not enough with the heat that begins to do). It consists of sautéed minced meat – usually pork or chicken -, lots of aromatic herbs, powdered roasted rice and the traditional Thai dressing of lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and chili powder.
This time we are going to give the protein a spin and replace it with broccoli. I do not know what degree of tolerance you have with consuming this almost raw food, but the intention is that it is crunchy enough so that it provides texture and catches all the dressing in its florets. You can add it completely raw, blanch it for about 30 seconds or cook it more, but, for what you want more, do not get blandurrio. Personally, I like to blanch it literally for a blink and put it on the grill to get that little almost toasted flavor that contributes so much to vegetables.
Although we have substituted vegetables for meat in this recipe, it is not a vegetarian dish due to the fish sauce in the dressing. For me it is an absolutely necessary flavor for a laab, but we could also cook soy sauce over very low heat with a pinch of sugar, water – half the volume of soy sauce – and kombu seaweed. You can have this dressing prepared and reserve it in the refrigerator for months, to have it on hand whenever you have to substitute the fish sauce for a vegetarian version.
That it does not become part of your diet every day.
For 2 persons
- 450 g broccoli
- A small purple onion
- 6 sprigs of mint (leafless)
- 5 coriander stalks with their leaves
- A tablespoon of powdered roasted rice
- Dressing to taste
For the dressing
- The juice of a lime
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons palm sugar (or whatever you have)
- Chili flakes to taste (should be happy)
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 1.5 tablespoons powdered toasted rice
- Toast about four tablespoons of glutinous rice / jasmine / basmati in a frying pan without oil. Stir frequently until toasted and smells like a mixture of nuts and popcorn. Grind in a grinder or with a mortar (you will have more than you will need for the recipe).
- Set the oven to 210ºC with grill. Separate the broccoli florets into similarly sized pieces.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli. Cook for about 20 seconds with the heat to the maximum. Remove and put in very cold water to cut cooking. Strain and pat dry.
- Add salt and oil to the broccoli and put it in the oven on the highest level. Cook it for between one and two and a half minutes, depending on personal preference.
- Take out the broccoli and add it to a bowl. Add the onion so that it loses its potency due to the heat of the broccoli.
- Prepare the dressing with the lime juice, the fish sauce, the sugar, the chili flakes, the powdered toasted rice and the water.
- Add the mint and coriander leaves, a little more powdered toasted rice and the dressing. Serve immediately.
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