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Thomas Kaylor's Thai Lettuce Cups

June 08, 2017

Larb is a minced meat salad commonly eaten in Laos and the Isan region of Thailand. It's generally a very spicy dish and this version is no exception. We used small Thai chilis in this recipe, but if they are too spicy for you adjust the recipe to your personal taste. 

Served in lettuce cups, this dish will serve as an appetizer or light lunch for 6 people. We are using butter lettuce, but romaine or white cabbage works just as well. I also like to serve it as a main course over rice, topped with a fried egg (serves 4 people). If you can't find fish sauce in your local grocery, I would encourage you to order it from Amazon, as without it the recipe is not the same. Any Thai fish sauce will do.

Serves 6 people as an appetizer or lunch

Serves 4 people over rice as an entree 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5lbs Greensbury ground turkey
  • 3 tablespoons of Canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled, thinly chopped (1/4 cup)
  •  6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (3/4 cup) 
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
  • 6 small Thai chilies, stems removed and thinly sliced (2 Tablespoons)
  • 3 ounces fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 2 ounces fish sauce 
  • 2 heads butter lettuce, cores removed, rinsed and dried on paper towels
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and stems, rinsed and dried, roughly chopped 
  • 2 Tablespoons mint leaves, roughly chopped

Preparation:

      1. Defrost 1.5lbs of ground turkey overnight in the fridge. If you're short on time you can place the package of turkey in a bowl and run it under cold water for about 45 minutes. 
      2. Remove the cores from the butter lettuce and gently rinse the leaves under cold water. Place the lettuce on paper towels to dry and keep cool in the fridge. Rinse the cilantro under cold water, cut the excess stems off and dry the cilantro on paper towels. 
      3. Peel the shallot, red onion, and garlic cloves. Finely dice the shallot and thinly slice the garlic. Take the stems off the Thai chilies and thinly slice them. Slice the red onion lengthwise as thinly as possible and put it in a container off to the side. Cut the limes in half and juice them into a bowl. 
      4. Heat the canola oil in a 12inch nonstick saute pan or shallow wide pot at medium-low heat and add the shallots, garlic, and chilies. Sweat the vegetables until tender and translucent being careful not to let them brown. Once the vegetables are ready add the ground turkey to the pan. Turn the heat to medium and using a flat edged wooden spoon or rubber spatula break the meat up into a fine crumble. Stir the turkey constantly being careful to keep it from browning, season the turkey with the kosher salt. While the turkey is cooking it will release some cooking liquid and a little bit of fat, continue stirring and crumbling the turkey meat until the cooking liquid has reduced to about 2-3 Tablespoons and the turkey is no longer pink. 
      5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and red onions to the turkey and stir for 1-2 minutes until the red onion has softened. Turn off the heat and roughly chop the cilantro and mint. Arrange the lettuce cups on a serving platter. Stir the cilantro and mint into the turkey and pour into a serving bowl. Serve the Thai turkey salad alongside the lettuce cups, allowing the diners to scoop the turkey into the cups and eat as a wrap.

 

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