A few years back I took an amazing trip to Thailand. I really can’t say enough great things about the country and the people and, of course, the food! When I was there I took a Thai cooking class and was 100% convinced that I would be cooking it non-stop when I got back to California.
As soon as I got home I hit up the Asian market and bought a cart full of the essentials for my new Thai life. I invited some friends over, whipped up a few of my favorite dishes, and couldn’t wait to share!
It was awful. All of it. Spit out of your mouth awful. My friends were very polite and smiled through puckered lips, but I knew that my career as a Thai chef was over before it started. All of my new Asian ingredients would now sit in my pantry until I finally cleaned them out this year. (gross, i know)
Fast forward to this past weekend when I went snowboarding in Flagstaff, Az (Seriously, they have snow in Arizona! Who knew?). We had an amazing Thai dinner and I was re-inspired to try my hand at Thai cooking once again.
If you have never had Larb, it is a dish from Laos that is popular in Northeast Thailand. Here in the US, you typically find it in the appetizer section and it is usually made with chicken. It is essentially a lettuce wrap bursting with the most wonderful flavor.
I wanted to make an authentic tasting dish but also didn’t want to buy out aisle 4 at the Asian market. So I searched around and found a great recipe on Thai Table. I modified it to suit my tastes as well as cut down on the sodium. It turned out fantastic!
The best part is that the only unique ingredient was fish sauce, otherwise it is just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen or herb garden.
The second best part is it took only 10 minutes! It is a smaller meal, though, so you may want to consider serving it with my Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice.
The third best part is that I broke my Thai cooking curse! So stay tuned for some more recipes!
Turkey Larb (turkey lettuce wraps)
- 1/2 lb. ground turkey
- 1 tsp. sesame oil (or other oil that can resist medium temperature)
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 2 limes
- 2 thin slices of red onion, diced
- 1 tbsp. cilantro (leaves from about 5 sprigs)
- 8 mint leaves (or more to taste)
- 4 butter lettuce leaves
- Squeeze the juice from 1/2 of a lime over the ground turkey and allow to sit while you are pulling out the other ingredients.
- Heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink.
- Remove from heat and add in the fish sauce, chili powder, the remaining lime juice, onion and cilantro.
- Top each leaf with 1/4 of the ground turkey and garnish with mint.
(NOTE: I only added 2 tbsp. of fish sauce because I wanted to cut down on the sodium but you might find that a little more better suits your taste buds. I also think that this would be great with some peanuts mixed in. I’ll let you know when I try it!)