The typical Isaan larb or minced meat salad consists of water buffalo and blood, although you'll find chicken, pork, fish and duck versions. We've used lettuce as an accompaniment here, but you could use a variety of additional sides such as white cabbage, Thai basil, snake beans, cucumber slices, green mango slices and steamed rice.
- For shallow-frying: vegetable oil
- 8 large red shallots, thinly sliced
- 600 gm coarsely minced duck breasts (about 3 breasts), skin reserved (see note)
- 15 gm galangal, sliced (3cm piece)
- 1 tbsp white glutinous rice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 60 ml lime juice (¼ cup)
- 60 ml fish sauce (¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp light palm sugar, crushed or white sugar
- ½ cup coriander, finely chopped (firmly packed)
- ¼ cup mint, finely chopped, plus extra leaves, to serve (firmly packed)
- 3 tsp roasted dried chilli flakes, or to taste
- To serve: iceberg lettuce wedges
- 1Heat vegetable oil in a wok until hot. Add half the shallot and stir occasionally until golden (5-7 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper, set aside.
- 2Add duck skins to oil and turn occasionally until crisp and golden (2-4 minutes), drain on absorbent paper (discard oil), set aside.
- 3Add duck skins to oil and turn occasionally until crisp and golden (2-4 minutes), drain on absorbent paper (discard oil), set aside.
- 4Dry-roast galangal in a small frying pan over high heat until fragrant and toasted (4-6 minutes). Pound in a mortar and pestle until finely ground, set aside.
- 5Add rice to frying pan and cook over high heat, shaking occasionally, until toasted (3-5 minutes). Finely grind in a mortar and pestle, set aside.
- 6Heat a wok over high heat. Add minced duck and 60ml water and stir continuously until duck is cooked through (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients, ground galangal and 1 tsp ground rice, toss to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste (it should taste sour and salty) and serve scattered with extra ground rice, fried shallot, duck skins and extra mint, with lettuce wedges.
Note Ask your butcher to mince the duck breasts for you and reserve the skin.
Drink Suggestion: Pale dry rosé. Drink suggestion by Max Allen