Big Blend: Take Your Taste Buds to Thailand
Larb is a popular refreshing meat salad dish from Laos and Thailand. Fresh zingy flavours and crisp lettuce make this an ideal recipe to enjoy as the days get longer and lighter.
You can use any type of minced meat for Larb but chicken and pork are the most common versions. It’s easy to make and simple to adapt the recipe just the way you like it.
One of best ways to change it up is to use a blend of meat and mushrooms. Enter the Big Blend by Meadow Mushrooms. An innovative and simple technique that lets you have your meat and eat it too. If you’re looking to eat less meat and add more goodness without compromising flavour, then the Big Blend is an uncomplicated way to do that.
Start by substituting half the minced pork or chicken for mushrooms. Just finely chop your mushrooms, either by hand or in the blender, to match the consistency of the mince, blend them with the meat and cook according to the recipe.
If you are watching your budget, blending delivers good value. The NZ Nutrition Foundation has calculated the average saving is 14% when you cook with a 50:50 blend of mushrooms with meat rather than using meat alone. Alternatively, instead of swapping out half the mince, adding chopped mushrooms to your usual amount of mince will make the food go further and ensure there is lots to go around or leftovers to create another meal – like this Larb which can be easily turned into a Thai Noodle Salad by tossing the Larb mince mixture through fresh salad vegetables and cooked rice noodles. Cook once, eat twice!
What’s more mushrooms are one of the world’s most sustainably produced foods as they use far less water and land to grow compared to meat production. Meadow Mushrooms are also grown locally right here in New Zealand as an earth friendly crop.
We may not be able to travel to Thailand right now, but we can take our taste buds there with this tasty Larb recipe. It’s made using the Big Blend technique for a more nutritious, delicious and sustainable version of this classic dish. Once you blend, you’ll believe.
Blended Thai Larb Recipe
2 tablespoons Thai sticky or jasmine rice
2 tablespoons peanut oil
500g 50/50 Meadow Mushrooms & mince blend
3 shallots or 1 red onion, finely sliced
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon grass, tender part only
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ - ½ teaspoon minced chilli or chilli flakes, optional
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 cup coriander leaves
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup Thai basil or Italian basil leaves
To serve: iceberg lettuce, carrot, cucumber, radish, limes and rice
1. To make the ground toasted rice, put the rice in a wok and toast over a low/ medium heat for about 10 minutes, tossing regularly until golden. Place in a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder.
2. Heat the oil in the wok over a high heat. Finely chop the mushrooms (or blitz in the blender) to replicate mince, then add to the wok with the mince, breaking up until dry and cooked through, it will take about 5 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat and stir in the shallots or onion, chilli, lemon grass, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and add minced or chilli flakes to taste if you like a hot larb and toss well. Leave to cool to room temperature.
4. Prior to serving, add one tablespoon of the ground rice, the spring onion, coriander, mint and basil and toss well.
5. Serve with a selection of iceberg lettuce, carrot, cucumber, radish, extra lime and sticky or jasmine rice and sprinkle with remaining ground rice.
Top Tip: Turn this into a Thai Noodle Salad by tossing the larb with a selection of fresh salad vegetables, and cooked and cooled rice noodles.
Find this recipe and more ways to blend for better here.