Laab gai pizza
Laap or Larb or Laab Gai is a quintessential dish in Laos and Thailand. Different varieties can be found in each country: gai means chicken but you can find beef and pork versions.Some are scorching hot and some are relatively mild, some have mint and some don’t, and so on. But the essence is the same: a bum-burningly spicy meat salad. It’s one of my favourite dishes in Southeast Asia. One day, on a trip to the supermarket, I stumbled upon frozen pizza bases… the rest is history: my fusion Laab Gai Pizza was born. One I have used on many occasions – even for Ollie’s 6th form school friends.
Laab Gai ingredients (Should serve 4+);
- 200-300g of mixed chicken and pork mince;
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly;
- 3 tablespoons of chicken stock;
- A good pinch of salt;
- A pinch of white sugar;
- 3 tablespoons of lime juice;
- 2-3 tablespoons of roasted chili powder (toast in dry pan first – cover your mouth and nose though);
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce;
- 3-4 large red shallots, chopped roughly; and
- A handful of chopped/ripped mint and coriander for finishing.
- 1 handful of roasted rice (roast in dry hot pan and bash in pestle and mortar until gritty – not powder);
- 1 frozen pizza base;
- 2 packets of grated mozzarella;
- 1 packet of grated white cheddar;
- Olive oil; and
- A squeeze of lime.
Here’s what to do: We need to make this in phases; first the laab for the laab gai pizza, and then the pizza stacking.
Phase I – Laab:
Heat the stock in a large pan/wok, add the salt, sugar, garlic, and mixed mince. Cook for around 3-4 minutes on a fairly high heat, constantly mashing with a spatula to stop the meat lumping. Once the mince is cooked, season with the chili, lime juice and fish sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes, then off the heat and add the shallots, the mint and coriander, holding some mint and coriander back to garnish. Stir.
Phase II – Pizza:
Put the pizza base on a baking tray. Drizzle over olive oil and make sure it covers the base. This is going to be a “white” pizza. Then bring on the cheese. Completely cover the base with a thin layer of grated mozzarella mixed with some white cheddar, then spoon on all the laab to cover the cheese. Then sprinkle another load of mixed cheese on top of the laap.
With the second layer you are basically protecting the herbs from burning and also keeping the meat moist. Bang it in a 200 degrees Celsius oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is all melted and browning.
Bring her out. Sprinkle on the roasted rice you made for some crunch and flavour, a little more coriander and mint, and a squeeze of a lime and that’s that. Get stuck in.