Chef Harold Dieterle With His Larb
While nobody would argue that Kin Shop is authentic Thai cuisine—least of all Chef Harold Dieterle—it does manage to regularly capture the flavors and textures of Thai cooking and transform them into something exciting and fresh.
Here, Dieterle takes on one of the classics of Isan Thai cuisine: Larb. It's a dish heavily influenced by the Laotian background of most of Northeast Thailand's population.
The Larb starts by sauteeing ground duck. "For a burger or something, I'd use a finer grind, but for the larb I like the texture of a coarser grind," says Harold. At Kin Shop, fatty duck legs are used, but at home, you could just as easily use ground chicken, pork, or beef, either grinding it with the coarsest die on a meat grinder, or by cutting it into 1-inch cubes and pulsing them a half pound at a time in a food processor until roughly chopped.
Once the duck has been cooked through, Harold adds aromatics. "This is sort of our house aromatic blend," explains Dieterle. It's a mixture of chopped shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger.
Drain and Add Heat
After allowing the aromatics to soften a bit, a good sprinkle of dried Thai chilis is added. Ground dried Thai chili can be found in some Asian supermarkets, although you can substitute regular chili flakes in a pinch.
Long Beans, Pickled Onions, and Herbs
A few fresh long beans cut into segments gets tossed into the duck next (you can use regular string beans if you'd like), followed by some pink rings of pickled onion. "We pickle the red onions in rice vinegar, sugar, and salt," says Harold. "I like leaving the root end of the onion in with the pickles to give it that nice pink color." Along with a few pickled onion rings, Harold adds a large handful of mixed herbs—mint, cilantro, and Thai basil.
The dish is finished with a squirt of fish sauce and lime juice.
Toasted Rice Powder
After plating on top of lettuce leaves, the larb is sprinkled with Khao Khua—toasted rice powder. "Some people like to mix it in directly with the meat, but I prefer to just sprinkle it on top," says Dieterle.
A prime example of the flavors of Thailand—salty and pungent fish sauce, aromatic herbs, sweet pickled onions, spicy chili, with a balanced acidity from the lime juice and a fresh crunch from the long beans and lettuce.