2 tablespoons Thai sticky rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, very finely sliced
200g (2 cups) soaked TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) or veggie mince
1 tablespoon pickled chilli or 1 red bird’s eye chilli, chopped (we like things spicy, so this recipe is quite spicy as it stands, but feel free to omit or even add more)
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown or palm sugar (jaggery)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon soy sauce
60ml (¼ cup) water
1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
BIG handful of Thai basil
BIG handful of Vietnamese mint
BIG handful of coriander
Handful of bean sprouts
200g (1 cup) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
1 head butter (coral) lettuce (or any pretty little lettuce you can get), washed, plus extra leaves to serve
Lime wedges, to serve
1. Add the sticky rice to a small, dry frying pan (that means no oil!) and toast over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until dark golden brown. Once you’ve achieved the right colour, transfer to a small bowl and leave to cool. Grind the rice to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or a blender. Set aside.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium–high heat, then add the ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Fry for a minute or so until it begins to turn a light golden colour – NOT DARK. Add the TVP and fry until golden brown and crispy. Once crispy, add a heaped tablespoon of the powdered rice to the mixture and stir to coat.
3. Stir in the chilli, lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and water. Add the shallot and kaffir lime leaf and stir through, keeping the heat nice and high so they are partly cooked. You want them to be semi raw and coated in flavour. Remove from the heat.
4. In a large bowl, combine your herbs, bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes and peanuts, then add the TVP mixture. Check the flavour and, if needed, add the juice of another half a lime. Add an extra teaspoon of rice powder and mix well to ensure everything is coated.
5. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving dish and pile the larb salad on top. Serve with lime wedges and extra lettuce leaves to eat with.
Wine match: Gewürztraminer, Riesling or dry style Rosé.