September 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
My aunt’s kaffir lime tree bore fruits, but she usually lets them fall off because she only uses the leaves, she told me.
Thoughts of Thailand and Laos, most especially, burned in my mind, reminding me of the various dishes flavored with this heavenly lime.
I spent a day learning Lao cooking at the Tamnak Lao Restaurant in Luang Prabang 2 years ago. Fun experience, but I haven’t had many chances of making the recipes at home because kaffir lime is usually needed and is often hard to come by.
Sure I could use lemon or calamansi… but kaffir has a distinct strong tangy flavor that can brighten up a dish.
“I could use some of those limes”, I told my aunt, suddenly missing the taste of larp. She sent me some and threw in some leaves too. Thank you Tita V.
Now I understand why she doesn’t use the fruit, most were dry. So dry, I had to use a few for this recipe.
But it was worth it. I was back in Luang Prabang, in a sidewalk café having my larp with ice-cold Lao beer, the Mekong on one side and Indo-Chinese residences on the other.
This is why I cook.
A very traditional Lao cold salad that can be substituted with pork, beef, fish and even tofu.
What You’ll Need
- 200 gram minced chicken, skin off
- 2 tablespoon banana flower finely sliced, rinsed well in water and drained.
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1 bunch of coriander, cut up finely green part only
- 2 stalks lemon grass, thinly sliced white part only
- 6 large rocket arugula, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon rice powder*
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon fried garlic**
- 1 tablespoon fried shallots**
- 1 medium lime or lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons chicken or pork stock
What You do
- Put the pork or chicken stock, minced chicken, and half of the lime juice in a wok.
- Place over low heat and keep stirring until the chicken is cooked through and the stock is reduced.
- Transfer chicken in a bowl.
- Add the banana flower, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic, coriander, lemongrass, and arugula leaves. Mix well.
- Add salt, rice powder, chili powder, fish sauce, fried garlic, and fried shallots. Mix thoroughly.
- Pour rest of the lime juice over the salad and give it a quick stir through.
* Make your own rice powder by dry-frying raw sticky rice until it just begins to turn golden. Then whiz in a blender until powdery. Store in airtight container.
** If you can’t find fried garlic and shallots, make your own by slicing shallots / garlic very finely and deep-fry them until they turn golden. Store in airtight container.