Laabify Your Life
Breathe new life into your leftovers with a few flavorful Thai staples.
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Cookbook author and host of the YouTube channel Pailin's Kitchen, Pailin Chongchitnant believes that you can laabify anything—from last night’s pork roast to slivers of this morning’s omelette to a cup or two of vegetables, saved from the crisper drawer. Tart, spicy, and fresh, Chongchitnant’s “leftover anything" laab recipe is also guaranteed to “fix” lackluster proteins like dry Thanksgiving turkey, the overcooked ends of roast beef, and under seasoned baked or fried tofu.
Laab is usually served with Thai-style sticky rice, which you can learn how to make here, or you can swap it out for steamed jasmine rice. If you’re taking it easy on carbs, you can leave the rice out entirely and instead wrap up scoops of laab in soft lettuce leaves. Roasting whole dried chiles before grinding them to flakes or powder is a popular technique in Thai cooking. Make your own or look for roasted chile flakes at your local Southeast Asian grocery store.
This recipe is adapted from Pailin Chongchitnant’s cookbook Sabai: 100 Simple Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week.
For the laab:
- 1 Tbsp. uncooked jasmine or Thai sticky rice
- 5 oz. leftover cooked meat and/or vegetables
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- Pinch sugar
- Roasted chile flakes (store-bought or homemade)
- 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced shallots
- Handful fresh mint, Thai basil, cilantro, and other fresh herbs
- English cucumber, sliced
- Sticky rice or jasmine rice
- Romaine or butter lettuce