Thai Buckwheat LarbThis dish is not for the faint of heart: It’s a flavor explosion—nothing subtle about it, with its chile fire and garlicky punch. It tastes surprisingly authentic, too, thanks to full-flavored buckwheat, which takes the place of much of the usual ground meat. Three chiles are definitely my style, but that makes for a rather incendiary dish; go for two or, sigh, even one if you just can’t take the heat. Larb is often served as a salad over a bed of cabbage, but I choose to go cabbage-cup style here. If the ribs of the cabbage leaves are particularly thick, shave them off with a paring knife to make the leaves more pliable.
Hands-On time: 12 minutes Total time: 33 minutes
Ingredients1 cup water2/3 cup uncooked buckwheat groats6 ounces ground pork1 tablespoon sugar2 tablespoons fresh lime juice2 tablespoons fish sauce*4 garlic cloves, grated2 or 3 Thai bird chiles, thinly sliced1/2 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion1/3 cup torn basil leaves1/3 cup torn mint leaves1/4 cup cilantro leaves8 Savoy cabbage leaves
1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add buckwheat; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in buckwheat.
3. Combine sugar and next 4 ingredients (through chiles), stirring until sugar dissolves. Add sugar mixture to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat; cool slightly. Stir in onion, basil, mint, and cilantro. Serve with cabbage leaves.
*Note: Not all fish sauces are gluten-free. Make sure to check the label.
SERVES 4 (serving size: about 1 cup larb and 2 cabbage leaves)CALORIES 258; FAT 9.9g (sat 3.4g, mono 4g, poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 13g; CARB 31g; FIBER 4g; SUGARS 7g (est. added sugars 3g); CHOL 31mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 608mg; CALC 39mg
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