I'd call this larb but then that it techinically a dish from Laos and this isn't super super traditional. So, for you purists, out there, I won't call it larb. But, for the rest of us, yes, these are an easy, quick version of that delicious ground meat appetizer (er, salad) that you see on so many Thai resto menus. You can switch this up to your liking but this version is fresh, easy, and perfect for those times when you want something fresh but low fuss.
quartered and thinly sliced
trimmed and thinly sliced
peeled and grated
peeled and grated
trimmed and finely chopped
(or cilantro or Thai basil, if desired) plus more for garnish
washed and separated
Combine the fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, and sugar in a small jar, close, and shake until the sugar is dissolved. (You could also whisk this -- just make sure that sugar is well mixed in.) Taste the sauce and, if you want it fresher and brighter and less funky, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
Fish sauce is pretty widely available in both standard grocery stores and ethnic markets. If you have a choice, go for extra virgin or first pressing because it will have better flavor.
Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add shallots and the white parts of the green onions (save the green parts for later) and cook, stirring a few times, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add ginger and garlic and cook a few seconds until fragrant.
You could use a variety of oils here but I'm partial the slight tropical flavor that coconut oil lends. If you've never handled ginger before, check out this tip on how to peel it. Then, to make quick work of preparing it, just grate it (and your garlic) on a rasp grater.
Add chicken or turkey and, use a wooden spoon or spatula, to break the meat into bite-sized pieces. Season with chile powder, chile, and some kosher salt and cook, stirring rarely, until meat is cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sauce ingredients and cook until there's only enough left to coat the meat mixture, about 1 minute more.
Remove from heat, stir in remaining scallions and the herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve hot or cold, filling each lettuce cups with a few spoonfuls of filling. Top with additional herbs and lime wedges, as desired.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp