Ready in 45 minutes
"Lahp" is the Thai word for good fortune and is a hot and spicy meat dish. Traditioinally popular in Thai weddings and celebrations, it's also known as a "gahp glaem", a drinking food, because it goes well with Singha beer and Thai whiskey.
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Prepare the Kao Kua:
Using a small skillet, dry-fry raw rice grains over high heat until they are a wheat-gold brown. Takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Shake the pan frequently to turn the grains and color them evenly. Remove from heat and set aside. When rice is cool store in a jar sealed tightly and kept at room temperature.
Transfer roasted rice to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder, resembling sand. Kao Kua adds a subtle "nutty" flavor to the dish.
Prepare the Salad:
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the meat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing often with a large spoon to break up the meat and cook it through fairly evenly. When the meat is cooked, remove the pan from the heat.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl, leaving most of the liquid behind. Stir in the shallot, green onion, cilantro, and most of the mint, reserving a few leaves for a garnish.
Add the lime juice, fish sauce, kao kua (roasted rice powder), chili, and sugar; stir to combine everything well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed for a pleasing balance of sour, salty, and hot.
Line a serving platter with lettuce leaves and mound meat mixture in the center. Dribble a little extra liquid over the meat mound.
Garnish with cabbage (or carrots), green beans, and the reserved mint. Serve at once.
Lahp tastes better when it is made with coarsley ground meat. I cut my meat into large chunks and chop the heck out of it with a cleaver, however you can have your butcher to coarsly grind or chili grind your meat.
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