Finally, I have time to put this recipe together-Thank you Labor Day! Sorry guys, full time job is not giving me much time to keep up with my blog. However, I attempt to explore local New Orleans ingredients and share them with you guys as much as possible. This salad is my all-time favorite; the Thai name for it is Laab (aks larb and laap). Usually I make Laab salad with beef, chicken, or pork. This time shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico was an appealing option. Also, thank you to my roommate, Laura Slotkoff who helped me take the pictures of this dish!
1 lb fresh large shrimps; peeled and deveined
2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoon green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass, finely chopped
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted rice powder, see instruction below
1/4 teaspoon dried Thai chili flakes, toasted and finely grounded
Or 3 bird eyes chili, finely chopped
Toasted rice powder can be purchase at any Asian grocery store near you. It is typically used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. Homemade toasted rice powder is also convenient to make ahead of time. It can be stored in a dry, cool place up to a year. On a dry pan, toast about 1/2 cup (or more) of raw jasmine rice grain on low heat. Swirl the pan occasionally until the grains turn light brown. By then, the toasty smell should roam all over your kitchen, meaning that you are doing a good job. In Thai food, 30% is judged based on the aroma one creates through cooking. Allow the rice to cool down for about 10 minutes before grinding. Grind the rice in a coffee grinder, food processor or with a mortar and pestle. I highly suggest using mortar and pestle if you have them to get that powdery texture.
Prepare the shrimp by grilling or immerse them in hot water until cooked, the shrimp are cooked when they turn to a solid white color.
In a salad bowl, add sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. Mix them until the sugar dissolved. Then add the shrimp and the remaining ingredients! You might want to hold off or add extra chili depending on your spice level. Now, do that salad-mixing move that you have been doing. Taste, fix (maybe more fish sauce, more lime, or more rice powder?), and serve!
Optional: Serve with fresh lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, radish, spinach or string beans.