I’m currently back in England for a nice three-week holiday while I’m “in between jobs.” Having landed at the crack of dawn after a very uncomfortable flight, the first thing my dad told me on the car journey home from the airport was that I was to cook dinner that evening for him and his guests. No rest for the wicked! Fortunately these guests were visiting from Bangkok and one of them is in fact Thai. Therefore when she heard that my dad had asked me to cook a Thai Green Curry, she quickly jumped in and suggested we cook together. Excellent idea as, although I like to think I make a very good TGC, there’s no way I would allow it to be judged by an actual Thai person!
We not only made an amazing curry, but also some delicious vegetables cooked in garlic and oyster sauce, and a Laab moo. This, I guess, is Thailand’s answer to Lettuce Wrap. It’s an interesting combination: crispy lettuce with warm salty/sour filling, infused with lemongrass, with the satisfying crunch of the ground rice. I have eaten it many a time in Thai restaurants across the world but have never actually tried my hand at cooking it. It is a very simple yet tasty dish which can be served alongside other Thai dishes, or as a starter.
As all my friends are boring and working (am I unemployed and bitter? Never!), I have not really had the chance to dine in any of the South East of England’s finest restaurants yet. Hence, I shall share with you a truly scrumptious Thai dish…
500g minced pork*
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 lemongrass stalks, finely sliced
2-3 shallots, finely sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lime
Large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
Large handful of mint, roughly chopped
Lettuce leaves (iceberg or little gem will work perfectly, separated into individual leaves)
Put the rice in a dry pan and heat until brown and slightly puffed (should take around 5-10 minutes). Ground using a mortar and pestle until crushed into a coarse powder.
In a heavy-based pan, add a little water (around 100ml) and a chicken stock cube. Cook at a low heat until dissolved. Add the pork and stir until cooked through.
Add lemongrass, shallots, chilli powder, fresh chilli and ground rice and cook for a couple of minutes, until a little softer.
Add fish sauce and lime juice. Bring to the boil and turn heat right down.
Finally add two thirds of the coriander and mint leaves. Stir through until leaves wilt slightly. Use the rest as garnish when serving.
Take a lettuce leaf, fill with laab moo, roll it up and enjoy!
*Can be made with minced chicken or beef as an alternative. I would imagine that it could even be made with quorn for those strange veggies out there!