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Spice Root: Thai Chicken Laap


Known for its fragrance as much as its flavour, Thai food is delicate, bold, and delicious, but has the reputation of using exotic, hard-to-find ingredients that require a tracking device to locate in the store. Spice Root shows us the way in this recipe.

Chicken Laap from Spice Root
Chicken Laap. – Photo: Josh Cecchine

Josh Cecchine of Spice Root

Thankfully we have Josh Cecchine, Executive Chef at Spice Root, to create a wonderful Thai experience for us right here in Squamish. Also, a recipe below for a dish you can create at home without the need to run all over town sourcing elusive ingredients.

His Route to Thai Food

His indirect route to Thai food started at a young age making tomato sauces in an Italian kitchen, via stints as a roofer (where the money was good but the work was awful, he said), a phase building log homes, some time at a local golf course, and finally a home at Spice Root.

Drawn initially to Thailand’s beaches and full-moon parties, he vacationed there for a short while but found himself seeking out the food there instead.

Amazed by the diversity of the dishes and subtle regional variations, he returned inspired and enthused, ready to recreate some of the dishes he’d tried.

Kitchen  Hack

When cooking Thai food, you’ll find yourself squeezing a lot of limes. To get the most juice from your limes, slice the lime into three pieces. Do so by making two cuts along either side of the core. This will ensure ease of squeeze and a maximum yield.

Perfectly cut limes Photo: Josh Cecchine of Spice Root Thai
Photo: Josh Cecchine

Chicken Laap with Glass Noodles

Chicken Laap from Spice Root Laap best translates to minced-meat salad and can be prepared in many ways, depending on where you are in Thailand, but is always a warm, complex, and exciting dish. The following makes for a one-plate serving or a share plate alongside many Thai offerings.

  • Yield: 1 Large Share plate
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted-sticky rice powder (one cup glutinous rice)
  • 1/2 cup cooked glass noodles
  • 1 pinch fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/2 tablespoon julienned lime leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon grass. Only the tender parts and sliced thinly
  • 4 ounces boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 teaspoon toasted chilli-powder (one cup dried Thai Birdseye chillies)
  • 1/2 cup cooked glass noodles
  • 1 pinch fresh mint
  • A leaf of fresh cabbage (quarter a head of cabbage and peel the leaves off)

Instructions

First prepare the toasted sticky-rice powder:

  1. Soak the glutinous rice overnight.  Add enough water to cover it by an inch or so. Drain the rice and spread out on a baking tray.  Bake on your lowest setting, until it’s dry to the touch. Be sure to check on it and move it around, as it will want to stick to the pan. Transfer to a dry steel wok and cook over medium heat, constantly scooping, stirring and scraping the wok until golden brown. About 20 minutes.  Once cooled transfer to mortar and pestle or spice grinder. You don’t want to break it down too much, just a little finer than coarse sea salt.

Prepare the toasted chilli-powder:

  1. Add the dried chillies to a dry wok over medium heat, constantly scooping, stirring and scraping the wok. Do so until the chillies develop a smoky aroma and darken slightly in colour but not black. Allow to cool, transfer to mortar and pestle or spice grinder. You’re looking to get this is fine as possible.

Making the Laap:

  1. On your chopping block break down the chicken into small pieces. Then proceed to chop it with the cleaver until you have it as fine as possible. Add the water to the wok and bring to simmer. Then add the chicken, constantly scraping, flipping and stirring until almost all the moisture is gone from the pan and the chicken is almost cooked.  Now add the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and glass noodles. Once the chicken is just cooked turn off the heat. Now add the chilli powder, 1 tablespoon rice powder, lime leaves, lemongrass, green onions and cilantro.  Mix all ingredients well in the wok and transfer to plate with the cabbage leaves. Top with the rest of the rice powder and fresh mint leaves. *Left over chilli and rice powder is a welcome addition to many Thai dishes and can be stored for later use.

 


Olivia Bevan

The author Olivia Bevan

Olivia Bevan hails from the North West of England and now calls BC home. She loves writing and kickboxing, and would secretly like to love running more than she actually does–especially as she’s just committed to a 50km race. Ouch.
Tags : foodthailand

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