Every once in a while it happens – you make a great sauce, for a pasta or chicken dish, and invariably it’s too thin, and falls to the bottom of the plate. As you’re eating, you assertively drag the noodles through the sauce, hoping to pull up the yummy flavors. Unless you’re eating with a spoon, it can be a near impossible feat.
Every culture has its tricks. The French have resolved this issue by reducing their stock-based sauces so that they are thick and rich with gelatin. The Chinese use various forms of starch, including corn starch and tapioca flour, to act as an adhesive. And with each technique comes a unique “mouth feel.”
The Thai have an ingenious method: ground, roasted rice. The rice absorbs all the flavors in the dressing and then clings like super-glue onto the food. The rice offers a crunchy texture and slightly nutty flavor. Roasted rice takes about five minutes to make and can be stored for a month wrapped tightly in the cupboard.
Roasted Rice Flour
In a small skillet, over medium heat, add ½ cup of raw jasmine rice. Cook stirring constantly until the grains are lightly golden brown. Immediately remove from heat and out of the pan. When the rice cools, grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder. For tips on cleaning your coffee bean grinder to use, click here.
Now that you have roasted, ground rice, you can make this unusual Thai Chicken Salad. It’s naturally low in fat and high in flavor.
Larp of Chiang Mai
1 lb. chicken breast
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
4 red chilies, finely chopped (seeded if you’d like)
4 tbs. lime juice
2 tbs. fish sauce
1tbs. roasted ground rice
2 scallions, chopped
2 tbs. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a cold sauté pan, put chicken and a ½ cup of water. Turn on heat to medium. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool. Dice chicken.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken and remaining ingredients, except mesclun. Mix thoroughly.
3. Serve salad on a bed of mesclun.