Turkey Larb

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You know about my trifecta for a perfect recipe, right? If its (a) delicious, (b) healthy, and (c), easy to make, then it enters the gilded hall of Recipes To Be Cherished Forever Because The Nom Factor Is V High. This turkey larb makes the cut, especially since I’m trying to eat less grains these days. Hot, sour, salty, and a tiny bit sweet, you can larb anything, but this is poultry version is classic and never gets old.

turkey larb

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried chiles, roasted and ground to the texture of red chili flakes
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion or shallots
1 thinly sliced green onion
15-20 mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons rice, toasted and finely ground in a spice grinder
Butter lettuce, sliced cucumber, and sticky rice, to serve

1. Put the turkey in a medium saucepan and cover with water, stirring over medium heat until the turkey is opaque but still soft. Use a spatula to break up the meat into small pieces. Drain off the water, then stir in the fish sauce and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Once the turkey has cooled, add the seasonings and mix thoroughly: the chile powder, red onion, green onions, mint, cilantro, and lime juice. Once you’re ready to serve, add the rice powder at the last moment, then mix again. Serve with butter lettuce, sliced cucumber, and sticky rice on the side.

Lao-style Turkey Lettuce Cups

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I’m trying to eat grain-free as much as possible these days, and while I haven’t completely cut out grains, I have reduced them by about 75%. I feel good about that: I’m eating more greens and more sources of lean protein.

I’m always trying to come up with creative and delicious ways to put together a grain-free meal, and these turkey lettuce cups are one of my favorites. They’re not traditional, though: I’ve replaced pork with turkey and omitted some of the toppings (*cough* cilanto, my nemesis *cough*).

These are kind of like larb, but without the toasted rice powder and herbs. (But don’t fret, there is always a time and place for larb.) The best part? You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

Thai-style turkey lettuce cups

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and minced
1 head butter or bibb lettuce, cleaned and leaves separated

1. Place a sieve over a bowl and press the dissolved tamarind through the sieve; discard the pulp. Set the tamarind juice aside.

2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and when it is hot, add the shallots, garlic, and lemongrass. Stir-fry until golden, then add the turkey and stir-fry until it has all changed color and is almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, the tamarind juice, the fish sauce, and salt and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and peanuts and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Remove from the wok and let cool.

3. To serve, put a lettuce leaf in the palm of your hand, then scoop up a tablespoon of filling and place it on the leaf. Fold the leaf over to make a bundle, or leave it open, and place on a platter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Thai-Style Curried Crab

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If you’ve been reading this blog for more than five minutes you probably know that I love Dungeness crab. Come November every year, I eagerly await reports that crabbing season has begun, so I can make oven-baked crab, steamed crab, deviled eggs with crab, crab curry, chili crab — you get the picture.

When I was in Chiang Mai a couple of years ago, I tasted a mild yellow crab curry that was out of this world. Soft and eggy, it was like a warm blanket of crab and spices (okay, that sounds kind of weird, but bear with me). I wanted to recreate that taste at home and I finally nailed it here. This is not just one of my new favorite crab recipes — it’s one of my favorite recipes, period.

Freshly shelled crab is essential here. Go for the good stuff.

Thai stir-fried yellow crab curry

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Thai seasoning sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound crabmeat
1 green onion, cut into 2-inch slices
Ground pepper
2 cups baby spinach

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, half and half, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Thai seasoning sauce, and 2 tablespoons of the curry powder.

2. Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. Add the onion, sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder and stir-fry until the onion is soft and translucent. Reduce the heat, add the egg mixture, and stir until it resembles a soft custard, about 1 minute. Add the crabmeat and 1 cup of spinach and toss to coat the sauce. Remove from the heat, add the green onion and a pinch of pepper, then toss to combine.

3. Spread the remaining cup of spinach onto a serving platter and top with the curried crab and serve warm.

Japanese Garlic Chive-Scrambled Eggs

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I probably make these scrambled eggs at least once a month. Easy, healthy, and delicious, they make a perfect breakfast (who am I kidding, I make this for dinner all the time too). You can serve this atop rice, but I prefer these soft and warm eggs by themselves.

Make sure to get Asian garlic chives for these, as the flavor and texture are completely different than your standard grocery store chives.

Japanese garlic chive-scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

1 small bunch garlic chives (about 1/2 pound), cleaned and chopped into 1-inch lengths
4 eggs
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon instant dashi granules (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and dashi together until blended.

2. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the garlic chives, sauteing for a couple of minutes until they’re bright green and wilted.

3. Pour the eggs into the pan and turn down the heat to low. Let the eggs cook, undisturbed, until you see the bottom of the eggs turn opaque.

4. Give the eggs a gentle stir, scraping the cooked egg up from the edges off the bottom of the pan, and allowing the raw egg at the top to run underneath. Let this cook until the bottom layer turns opaque and stir again.

5. Repeat step 4 until the eggs have reached your desired doneness (I like for much of the eggs to remain soft and opaque). Remember that the eggs will continue to cook a little after you turn off the heat. Serve warm.

Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry

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This recipe is endlessly adaptable and customizable. No okra? Cool, use zucchini instead. No sweet potatoes? Go with pumpkin instead. You get the picture. What’s constant is the creamy, coconut-y curry that brings it all together — and the crispy shallots that add an extra dose of umami. Don’t skimp on those.

Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry

Ingredients:

1 13-ounce can coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
5 cups seasonal vegetables, cut into pieces (I used okra, bok choy, zucchini, and sweet potato here)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon peeled and shredded ginger
1/2 cup fried shallots

1. In a large saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the curry paste, sugar, fish sauce, and turmeric and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and separately blanch each vegetable, setting aside to drain each time. You want each vegetable mostly cooked but still slightly firm so that they’ll finish cooking in the curry.

3. Meanwhile, thin out the curry with the chicken broth. Once the vegetables have finished cooking, stir them into the curry along with the ginger and simmer for a few minutes until warmed through and combined.

4. Serve alongside warm rice and garnish with fried shallots.