sometimes being a grown up is awesome. you can eat a bowl of ice cream for dinner. you can spend all day saturday watching bad television in your pjs. no biggie.
sometimes being a grown up is way overrated. like paying bills, and missing out on christmas and summer vacations.
this year, i took back the christmas vacation. eleven glorious days of no email, no bosses, no bed times and certainly no alarm clocks.
also, i ate a LOT of ice cream.
but i'm back. it's freezing, but at least it is sunny. time to get back in the swing of things.
here's a recipe we can all feel good about for the new year. it's easy. it's tasty. it's good for you, but doesn't make you feel like you're missing out.
chicken, lime, crunchy rice . . a way more adult dinner choice. save the ice cream for dessert, as you watch the bachelor, which is really like the dessert of tv. so good, so bad for you.
if you haven't had larb gai, it is thai meat salad. that's right. meat salad. spicy stir fried ground chicken that is excellent in a lettuce or cabbage cup or just on a spoon. from the wok or fridge.
isn't this a nice little mise en place?
you do really want to have your ingredients measured and at hand for asian stir fry because the point is to get your wok or skillet really hot, so the ingredients cook very quickly and you have no time to be mucking about in the back of your cupboard for that bottle of fish sauce.
here, you just heat your pan, dump all the ingredients and you're off to the races. for reals.
i love thai food because it's such a great mix of salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. it's balanced. it's usually not too heavy. and it's really easy to make at home.
fish sauce is really the most out there ingredient you'll need. it's salty, and a little bit smelly, but adds an important extra umph to lots of asian dishes.
but, the real secret ingredient that makes this a super standout dish is the toasted rice powder.
it's easy. take some rice, maybe that funky short grain stuff you bought out of desperation at your tiny local organic food mart that is incredibly hit or miss when it comes to normal groceries. toast it up in a pan until it is golden. let it cool and then pound the heck out of it in a mortar or a spice grinder.
you know how sometimes you're getting dressed for work and it's just really an eh sweater and skirt combo? but you add a belt and suddenly it's an outfit you're rockin' kate middleton style (if only in your head)? that's just me?
anyway these toasty, crunchy little nubs are the belt to this meal. promise me you won't a) judge my lame metaphor or b) make larb gai without them.
i went super crazy when i made larb gai and busted out a whole thai meal including (not so) green papaya salad.
and a super funky pumpkin dish that i just can't recommend. i don't even really want to remember it. fresh pumpkin isn't that awesome anyway. it's so stringy and so inferior to the butternut. although baby sugar pumpkins sure look cool, right?
maybe my next post will be on my hands-down, favorite all-time use of pumpkin . . . from a can . . . in a baked good, like god intended.
Chicken Larb Gai & Green Papaya Salad
I'm punking out and just sending you over to Spilled Milk's recipes. No need to mess with something that works great just as is. Just don't forget the toasted rice powder!