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THAILAND: Larb mooh

Wendy Chow/Globe Staff

THE CHATTA BOX, BRIDGEWATER

Thai food is distinctive for its balance of sweet, sour, salt, and spice. David Rit (left), owner of the Chatta Box in Bridgewater, shares a traditional recipe for spicy ground pork with roasted rice. Called larb mooh, the dish is eaten during the new year because “larb” literally means fortune, so the dish can be translated as fortune pork. While the roasted rice adds a toasted flavor and extra texture, it is not an essential ingredient for home cooks, said Rit. Head chef Tony Thai (right) said the dish is traditionally eaten with one’s fingers, and often formed into a ball with sweet sticky rice.

Larb mooh

1pound ground pork
2cups water
1teaspoon sugar
3tablespoons lime juice
2tablespoons fish sauce
2tablespoons roasted ground rice*
2tablespoons mint leaves
2tablespoons chopped red onion
1tablespoon cilantro
2tablespoons chopped scallion
1tablespoon dried pepper flakes

Boil 2 cups of water in a pot, add ground pork, stir and evenly cook for 5 minutes. Strain water, then add sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce to the pork, and blend over medium heat. Remove from heat once sugar has melted and all liquids have blended into the pork mixture. Add mint leaves, ground rice, onions, cilantro, red pepper flakes and stir until all ingredients are evenly mixed. Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with more mint leaves.

*Roasted rice

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Use white glutinous (sticky) rice or jasmine rice. Put rice in a dry wok or frying pan over low heat, with no oil or water. Stir slowly until the rice is golden brown, but not burnt. It can take up to 20 minutes. Grind it up with a blender or crush it with a mortar and pestle for more texture. It can be kept in an air-tight container for a week or two.

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