Laab, laap or larb – so many spellings, but they all translate to ‘chopped’ in this South East Asian specialty. Typically it’s pork, chicken or seafood stir-fried and tossed in a sweet-and-sour dressing, but here I’ve used duck. I like to pad my salad out a bit with carrot and pineapple, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble, then leave them out. You can also serve up with thin rice noodles or rice.
Remove the skin from the duck meat and pulse the meat in a food processor until it’s minced. Add the fish sauce and chopped lemongrass and pulse again. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the vegetable oil until very hot. Add the duck and spread it out over the pan. Let it brown well before turning it and grinding over some black pepper. Fry until cooked through and crisp on the edges. Remove from the heat, add the lime leaves, if using, and set aside.
To make the lime ginger chilli dressing, pound the ginger and garlic together with a large mortar and pestle or use the end of a rolling pin in a small bowl. Add the sugar, orange and lime juices, fish sauce and 2 tablespoons water. Mix until the sugar has dissolved. Taste to see if it needs additional sugar or fish sauce, then add the chilli and set aside.
If you’re making the toasted rice, place the rice in a small frying pan. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat until browned and toasted. Remove from the pan and grind with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Arrange the carrot, pineapple, crispy duck, shallots and the herbs on a platter and pour the dressing over. Sprinkle with the toasted ground rice and crispy fried shallots, if using.
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