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Angkor Wat in Cambodia
the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
now a world heritage site
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Larb Sach Moann
Ground Chicken Salad

salad_-_larb_moan_3aa_xxx_-_thumbnail
Larb Sach Moann
Ground Beef Salad

In line with plea sach ko’(Khmer beef tartare) and nhoam sach ko’ (Khmer beef salad), this dish is another popular appetizer in Cambodia. Larb is known to have originated in Laos but the Khmer version is simpler and less spicy. A vegetarian version can also be prepared by using firm tofu or dried soya mince such as ‘Granose’ instead of meat.

Did you know …
Galangal is derived from the Arabic word ‘Khalanjan’ which refers to ‘Chinese ginger’, another name in which galangal is known in some part of the world. 

In addition to being used as a cooking spice in Southeast Asia, galangal is reported to also be used as a perfume in India and the Middle East; as a tea in Russia; and as an appetite stimulant and aphrodisiac in Europe and Asia. 

Besides being a rich source of iron, sodium, vitamins A and C, galangal is believed to contain flavanoids, phytonutrients and to have anti-inflammatory properties - which are particularly beneficial in treatment of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Serves 4 

Ingredients

Minced (ground) chicken 500g (1.2 lb) – you can also use beef or pork Ground roasted rice 1½ Tbsp – see technique
Red chilli powder 1 tsp (optional)   

Sauce
Garlic 3 cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Romdeng (galangal)1 5 slices, cut into fine juliennes (matchstick size)
Sea salt ⅓ tsp
Lime/lemon juice 3 Tbsp (add more later, if desired)
Fish sauce 1 Tbsp
Sugar 1 tsp 

Vegetables
Shallots 3, peeled and thinly sliced
Spring onions (scallions) 4, washed, trimmed, sliced (use both green and white parts)
Finger chilli ½, sliced into rings
Mint leaves 1 handful
Round lettuce 1, leaves separated, washed and patted dry 

Method

1 - Line a serving plate with lettuce leaves, cover with cling film (saran wrap) and set aside. 

2 - Brown the chicken in a wok or skillet with 1 tablespoon of water (without oil) over medium high heat. Don’t worry if it sticks a bit to begin with, just keep stir-frying until cooked. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool. 

3 - To make the sauce - roast the chopped garlic and julienned galangal by wrapping them in aluminium foil and placing directly on a flame or burner. Cook for one minute (turning once) or until it is almost burnt. Unwrap and pound the contents with salt using a pestle and mortar until smooth. Add fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside. 

4 - Into the chicken bowl, add shallots, spring onions (scallions), half of the chilli, ground roasted rice, half of the mint leaves and chilli powder (if using), and mix well. Sprinkle with the sauce, mix and taste. If a sharper flavour is desired, add more lime juice. 

5 - To serve, transfer the mixture to the lettuce-lined serving plate, sprinkle with the rest of the chilli and mint leaves. Serve as an appetizer with slivers of raw cabbage, long beans and/or Chinese leaves; or as one of the main dishes with steamed rice. 

Tip

You can use one teaspoon of powdered galangal instead, if preferred.  Fresh, dried, frozen or powdered galangal can be bought at Asian grocery stores. You can even substitute fresh ginger for it.