Quick N Easy Asian Chicken Salad AKA Laab

In the past I’ve posted about laab before but it’s one of my favorite asian dishes so I thought I’d take new photos and share my process a little differently.

Laab is a spicy chicken, beef, pork, or fish dish usually eaten with lettuce and/or rice.  The main spices used to create the flavor are: hot peppers, lemon grass, ginger, galanga, and roasted uncooked white rice.  It can be time consuming chopping and roasting the rice and all and sometimes I don’t mind doing that but when I’m short on time or I’m just craving laab way too much, I reach for the seasoning mix.  You can buy this mix at pretty much any Asian market.

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Fresh ingredients.  Top clockwise: chopped mint leaves, chopped cilantro, thinly sliced shallots, chopped scallions and limes.  I tend to add more lime juice in mine than necessary.  One lime should be enough for 1 lb. of meat but I used two.

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Boiled chicken.  Allow the cooked chicken to cool a little before chopping it up to small pieces.  You can also use ground chicken (or other ground meats) and sautee in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil.  I prefer it boiled because it’s healthier and less oily.

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Use a pestle to mash it.  I do it directly in the bowl where all the ingredients will go in.

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Add the laab mix, the herbs, squeeze in the lime juices, and add a teaspoon or two of fish sauce (not shown).  I also add a tablespoon of reserved chicken broth so that it’s not too dry.

laab0820140018_800Mix well and done.

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This is a very spicy salad so have it with a large glass of water.

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Cuban Chicken

CUBANCHICKEN0040_800I tried my hands at making Cuban chicken and it turned out pretty good.  I first had it during the family cruise last year to the Bahamas and totally fell in love with it.  I found a recipe online but it required way too many ingredients and I remembered the flavors to be very simple yet very delicious.

It was simple to make.  For the spices, I basically used cumin, paprika, cayenne (for heat so just a pinch or two), black pepper, bay leaf, and salt.  I’ll tweak it some more before sharing a recipe.  If you want the recipe I found online (and have not tried yet), it is here.

Made Eggs Benedict + Food Photos From Cruise Vacation

On the cruise, I had Eggs Benedict for breakfast a couple of times and just really loved it.  I’ve never had it before so I had nothing to compare it to.

This is what I had on the cruise (taken with an old Nikon Coolpix).

CRUISEFOOD0429When I got home, I looked for Eggs Benedict and hollandaise sauce recipes.  I found a recipe on the Food Network website for both but didn’t want to try my hands at the hollandaise sauce yet so I went with a powder mix instead.

EBSAUCEMIX0065_640I’ve had bad experiences with powder mixes before so I was already prepared for this sauce to taste nasty.  To my surprise, it was really good.

EGGSBENEDICT0067_640It was the perfect consistency and had a buttery slightly sour-ish taste to it.  It tasted so much better than the sauce on the cruise (which didn’t taste like anything).  Now, I just need to make some from scratch so I can do more comparing.

KIDA0075_600My daughter tried the sauce but didn’t like it.  She said it was too strong.  Husband said the same thing and only used a little bit.

My favorite dish on the cruise was the home style Cuban chicken and rice.  While we were on Half Moon Cay Island, I had three plates of it and still wanted more.  I just found a recipe for it via Pinterest so I’m going to try my hands at it one of these days.

I ate a ton of food on the cruise.  It was almost like a 24 hour all-you-can-eat buffet.  For dinner, sometimes I would order one or two starters.  Once I ordered two main courses!  This was simply to taste the different variety of food and not because I was just stuffing my face because I could.  Here’s a collection of most of the food I ate and/or tasted.  I apologize for the horrible photos.  I used an old Nikon Coolpix that I really shouldn’t be using.

PADTHAI0138{Dinner on our first night in Miami.  This was a couple days before boarding the cruise ship.  The group (excluding 2 members) ate at a Thai restaurant.  I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but the food was beyond delicious!  I fell in love with the Pad Thai and couldn’t get enough of it.  The papaya salad, although not exactly my flavor, was very good in it’s own way.  In the photo, from top clockwise: Pad Thai, rice with yellow curry, sweet and sour beef (?), and papaya salad with shrimp.}

Day 1

CDAY1_0258 CDAY1_0259 CDAY1_0261 CDAY1_0262Day 2

CDAY2_0387 CDAY2_0388 CDAY2_0389Day 3

CDAY3_0395 CDAY3_0396 CDAY3_0399 CDAY3_0401Day 4

CDAY4_0403 CDAY4_0404 CDAY4_0405 CDAY4_0416 CDAY4_0419 CDAY4_0420 CDAY4_110203{Above, eating a bit of fruits before heading out.}

Day 5

CDAY5_0446 CDAY5_0447 CDAY5_0451 CDAY5_0452Day 6 – While during our lay over in Chicago, we caught eye of a Dunkin’ Donuts, and couldn’t resist getting some donuts.  I had a very tasty Boston Cream!

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Scallions, Tomatoes, and Thai Pepper Sauce

I ended up making that pepper sauce mentioned, here.  Growing up we always had some type of pepper sauce to dip in with our food and as I got older it’s just become a norm.  The pepper sauce in the photo is made of all fresh ingredients.  I made quite a lot and it’s lasted me a whole week.  I even gave some to my sister when she came over and she loved it!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 Large tomatoes
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
10 – 20 Thai peppers
1 Cup chopped scallions
1/2 Cup water
Juice from one lime
Fish sauce
Sugar
Salt

Directions:

Boil the tomatoes and Thai peppers together for about 5 minutes.  Drain and let cool.
Peel the skin off the tomatoes and remove any hard parts.  Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Remove the stems from the peppers and give it a rough chop.

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the peppers, garlic, and scallions together with a little
salt until well blended.  Scoop into a bowl.  Next, mash the tomatoes until you get the consistency you like.  Then, pour it into the bowl with the peppers, garlic, and scallions.  Stir to mix all the ingredients.  Add the water, lime juice, a little bit of fish sauce, and a
pinch or two of sugar.  Stir and you’re done.

You can use a blender in place of a mortar and pestle.  Instead of 1 cup scallions, you can reduce it to about 1/4 and add 1/4 chopped cilantro and 1/4 mint (-/+ as you like).  You can also make this sauce without tomatoes.

You can also download it in PDF format, here.

Spicy Green Papaya Salad With A Twist

Recently, I’ve been craving papaya salad with Romaine lettuce.  The freshness and crunchiness from the lettuce combined with the sweet, sour, and spicy papaya is like heaven.  The spicy peanuts on top makes it heaven x2.  I only bought a small papaya salad so I finished it all in a day and a half.  I still have some lettuce left and am thinking of dropping by the Asian market for another papaya.

I’ve been making papaya salad without the shrimp paste (a crucial part of the ingredients, if you are Hmong).  A few months back, I had run out of shrimp paste and was worried my papaya wouldn’t taste right but for some reason, it was awesome!  Strange as it may seem, I could somehow taste and smell a very subtle shrimp paste flavor when I eat it.  I guess that’s why I don’t need it anymore.

There are so many spicy green papaya salad versions out there.  I tried to find one that would be closest to how I make it and came upon this one at Hmongfood.info.  I would say, one of the most important ingredient in papaya salad is tamarind, in liquid form.  I’ve had papaya salad at restaurants without this and they aren’t as flavorful.  Of course, just tamarind alone would not make the papaya salad.  It is the combination of different ingredients measured correctly that create the perfect palate experience, and one I call, heaven. 🙂

Fawm Kauv: Steamed Rice Rolls

I was craving some steamed rice rolls stuffed with herbs and ground chicken the other day so I made a huge batch and ate them all in two days!

I always eat fawm kauv dipped in a spicy Thai pepper sauce made with garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, salt, sugar, a little water, and of course, fresh Thai peppers.

Here are two recipes if you would like to try your hands at it:

Hmong version (and the version I follow – with some minor changes): Fawm Kauv, the Other Roll.

Vietnamese version: Banh Cuon Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls.

Enjoy!

On The Grill Pizza

Ingredients: Boboli 12″ pizza crust, olive oil, pizza sauce, sliced pepperoni, and lots of mozzarella cheese.

Brush the front and back side of the pizza crust with olive oil.

Start grill on high then turn it down to medium before putting pizza crust on it.

Put the pizza crust on the grill for two to three minutes on each side.

Take the pizza crust off the grill and allow to cool just slightly.  Then, layer on the ingredients starting with the pizza sauce.

Add the cheese and pepperoni.

It’s ready to go back on the grill.

Leave it on grill with the cover on for about 5 to 8 minutes.

Done!

It was so delicious.

The recipe was from my sister’s boyfriend.  My husband tweaked it a little for our (the family) taste.  Next time I’m going to add grilled garlic and mushrooms.