Laab Neua is best made using a good cut of tender steak such as serloin. In Northern Thailand it is usually made with water buffalo which is barely seared. We prefer the flavour of serloin steak which has just enough fat for flavour and is quite tender when cooked very rare.
Serves 2 as an entree or 4-6 as a first course to a Thai meal or Khon Toke Style meal.
1 pound minced sirloin steak
1 Tbs. peanut oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped and pounded into paste
2 tsp finely chopped lemongrass
2 sliced shallots
3 Tabs chopped green onion
2 small pieces dried galanga (kha), toasted and then ground finely
2 - 5 bird chiles minced
3-4 Tabs fish sauce (nam plah)
Juice of 2-3 limes
1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar
2 Tabs. ground roasted rice (Khao Kua Pon)
Handful of mint leaves
Prep ahead: garlic, lemongrass, chiles, shallot, green onions and mint and set aside.
Heat wok over medium flame, now add oil. Add the minced sirloin steak and stir-fry lightly, using wooden spatula break up pieces to separate. You want a rare steak salad!
Place the galanga in a small dry non-stick skillet over medium a flame and lightly toast the pieces while constantly moving them. Grind the toasted galangal into a fine powder in a spice grinder. I use a coffee grinder that is reserved only for spice grinding.
Toss the cooked steak with the garlic, chiles, lemongrass, shallot, green onion, mint leaves, ground toasted galanga, fish sauce and fresh lime juice until evenly coated and mixed.
Taste and balance the salty-sour-hot flavours. Add a sprinkle of sugar to help balance if needed. Sprinkle in the toasted rice powder and serve with the vegetables and herbs.
I like to serve Laab Neua with sticky rice. You make the sticky rice into bite-sized little balls, and eaten out of hand with the spicy salad.
Garnish: Raw or blanched vegetables such as greenbeans, winged beans, Thai eggplants, and cabbage. Also raw cucumber and various lettuce is also nice.
Herbs such as Thai basil, saw tooth coriander (culantro/Pak Chee Farang), or cilantro.
Note: Rice Powder(Khao Kua Pon)
You can make your own roasted rice powder very easily if you can't find it in your Asian Market. You heat a dry skillet over medium flame, and toss raw sticky rice/glutinous rice about until browned nicely and fragrant.
Cool and grind in your clean spice grinder. Keep in tightly covered container to retain it's fragrance for future use. I usually make 1/2 cup raw rice into this powder at a time.