I’m pretty sure I’ve told you guys this story before… but it’s one of my favorites so I’ll tell it again before we get into these Chicken Mushroom Larb Bowls with Coconut Rice!
Back when I first started culinary school I was a TOTAL picky eater. I hadn’t tried fish, I had no idea how to cook meat and I had never had a mushroom. During the vegetable week of culinary school, basically an intensive 7 days of learning how to make every vegetable under the sun, my culinary school teacher assigned each of us a vegetable. I, naturally, got mushrooms. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do with a mushroom. Give me some corn or a bag of peas and let me do my thing. But mushrooms, omg. She looked at me and said, Gaby… if you don’t figure out how to cook mushrooms, you’ll never make it in the food world. I took that as a personal challenge and taught myself on the spot how to make the most incredible mushroom risotto I’ve ever had to this day. (side note, thank goodness for google back then!) Within 45 minutes I was HOOKED and now I’m all about mushrooms, ALL THE TIME. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I went to the farmers market or grocery story and didn’t come home with some sort of mushroom. They are my favorite vegetable hands down, and I love that they can either be a meat replacement or they can blend perfectly into any other kind of dish. To say I’m obsessed would be an understatement.
Mushrooms add so much flavor and depth into any recipe and today it’s upping the ante on one of my favorite recipes from my cookbook - the Chicken Mushroom Larb Bowl. OMG. If you’ve never heard of Larb before – it’s a staple dish of both Laos and Thailand. The Laotian version of Larb uses fish sauce and the Thai version omits the fish sauce and relies more on spices.
Chicken Mushroom Larb Bowls (with coconut rice!)
For the quick pickled vegetables
- 2 Persian cucumbers finely sliced
- ½ red onion finely sliced
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
For the Blended Chicken Mushroom Mixture
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 ounces kale stems removed and chopped
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 pound Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 6 green onions thinly sliced
- 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons sambal oleek 2 for medium spice, 3 for super spice!
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
For the Rice
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- Fresh mint
- Fresh basil
- Fresh cilantro
- Combine the cucumbers, red onion and rice vinegar in a small bowl and toss to combine. Let them marinate while you cook the chicken.
- In a large heavy bottom skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add the kale and sauté over medium high heat until wilted, about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and carefully remove the kale and transfer to a medium bowl.
- In the same heavy bottom skillet, add the ground chicken and chopped mushrooms and using the back of a wooden spoon, break the chicken apart and let cook until no pink remains on the chicken and the mushrooms are caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Once cooked, add the kale mixture back in and stir to combine.
- Once everything is back into the skillet, add the garlic and green onions and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the soy sauce, sambal oleek and brown sugar and stir to combine. Season with salt as needed and reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to use.
- Place the water, coconut milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, and warm over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Add the rice and bring back to a low simmer. Cover the pot with lid, then reduce the heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, for about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff, and season with the zest and juice of 1 lime.
- To assemble, place equal amounts of the coconut rice at the bottom of 4 bowls, followed by equal amounts of the chicken mushroom mixture, pickled vegetables and plenty of the fresh herbs. Serve immediately.