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She doesn't mention it in the recipe headnote, but Naomi Duguid's Kachin Pounded Beef with Herbs in her Burma must be a kissing cousin to Laos and Thailand's laab. Instead of hand-chopped meat that is tossed with spices, however, this Burmese version is pounded in a mortar and pestle, grinding the aromatics into gently simmered beef. The result is a meltingly tender bowl of fragrant beef with a texture akin to rillettes but with the taste of Southeast Asia.
Why I picked this recipe: I'm a huge fan of laab, so trying out this Burmese take was an obvious choice.
What worked: Once again, the balance of spice and aromatics here were top-notch. The numbing Sichuan peppercorns were particularly nice with the tender, mellow beef and grassy cilantro.
What didn't: Since I don't have a mortar and pestle, I had a bit of a hard time pounding the beef straight out of the pot. Things were much easier once I pulsed it a few times in my food processor. (If you have neither a food processor nor a mortar and pestle, I'd suggest chopping the cooked beef a bit before stirring in the flavor paste).
Suggested Tweaks: I found myself drizzling extra shallot oil (from the Banana Flower salad) over the beef as I ate the leftovers. A little bit of sesame oil would also be welcome. I'd also follow Duguid's suggestion of serving the beef after an overnight rest for the deepest flavor.
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