My neighbor Jackie has a knack for putting together fun gatherings that prove that making delicious food doesn't have to stress anybody out. I'll never forget the time earlier this summer when our refrigerator decided to take its own vacation over a holiday weekend. Jackie decided that rather than letting all the food go to waste, we should cook it all and have a giant feast. And we did.
A couple of weekends ago, Jackie suggested that a small group of us gather to cook - and then eat - nam sod, a Thai dish similar to larb (from what little I can gather online, it appears that nam sod is always made with pork, whereas larb is typically made with beef or chicken...if anyone knows differently, please let me know!). Jackie and I headed to the grocery store to pick up ingredients, then we recruited the help of two other people and a mandoline (now on my wishlist) to assist with the task of preparing the dish.
We started out with this recipe, but like most recipes of this ilk, it is pretty much infinitely tweakable. Short on peppers? No worries. Got a little extra green onion? Throw it in. We were low on mint and instead substituted in some Thai basil, which was a lovely addition. The flavors are strong and get stronger over time (particularly the lime and ginger), so I definitely recommend a mellow accompaniment of some kind. We served ours with cooked rice stick noodles, but you could also do rice or even shredded cabbage. It makes for a wonderfully fragrant and fresh-tasting meal.
Fun with our food
This dish requires serious amounts of chopping. Enlist help.
Putting it all together. I wish you could smell this!
Add pork and rice stick noodles - it's summer on a plate.