Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fish Laap (Laap pla)

Last night I dreamed of a chance encounter with former American President George W. Bush. In the dream I was riding a motorcycle along a vaguely familiar and beautiful winding coastal road. A pedestrian crossing was up ahead and I slowed to a stop and put my foot down. A man was taking his small black dog across the road when I realized that the man was none other than the former president. The dog took a look at me, a sniff at my leg, and proceeded to bite me. George nervously laughed and apologized making some allusion to me suing him by saying, "I hope this isn't going to be expensive! Hehehe." I nervously chuckled and was soon on my way. I probably had to get home and get to work in the kitchen. I've been pretty distracted lately.

Today I decided to make a very easy fish laap. Laap is a kind of meat salad. I use the term salad rather loosely as there really isn't a proper translation and it's nothing like any other salad I've ever encountered.  Laap is a mix of meat, herbs, and spices and usually eaten with sticky rice. Laap is so easy to make a four year old could do it. It might take an exceptionally talented four year old, but you get the idea.
I adapted a laap moo recipe for fish as a fillet of catfish was in the fridge and not getting any younger. You need: one fillet of fish cut into small pieces, mix with three tablespoons of lime juice, a couple pinches of chili powder, a tablespoon of fish sauce, and two or three shallots. Toss with mint and cilantro. Top with ground toasted rice powder and serve with fresh basil, cabbage, and sticky rice.  If you can't manage this, then there is no hope for you.

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