“My good friend Neil Rankin, who is perhaps known primarily as a meat chef (and also features in each and every one of my books), actually hates that reputation as deep down he is a plant-loving teddy bear,” says Gizzi Erskine. “It’s always interesting to look at his Instagram for plant-based food ideas – as a meat lover he’s always pushing boundaries for how he thinks about cooking with plants, and he is the one who gave me the idea for this.
“Larb is a Northern Thai dish, normally made with pork, where rice is roasted and ground for a delicious crunch. The most intense version is actually made of pig’s blood, so the beetroot provides an irony backbone (not to mention the colour). This is just a very clever, yet simple salad.”
Black lentil and beetroot larb
- Baking tray or roasting tin
- Frying pan
- Food processor
- 4 purple and golden beetroots washed but unpeeled
- 40 g white rice, ideally sticky Thai (but anything will do)
- 3 banana shallots peeled and very thinly sliced into rings
- 250 g cooked beluga or Puy lentils
For the crispy shallots:
- 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 4 banana shallots peeled and thinly sliced into rings
For the dressing:
- 4 or 5 fresh lime leaves thinly sliced
- Juice of 3 limes
- 5 tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
- 1 tsp Thai chilli powder, pul biber or Korean chilli powder
- 1.5 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
- Large handful of coriander leaves large handful of mint leaves
- Large handful of Thai basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / l 80°C fan/gas mark 6.
- Place the beetroots on a baking tray or roasting tray and roast in the oven for one hour 20 minutes until softened. Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle. The skins should peel away very easily. Chop each beetroot into small cubes and set aside.
- Heat a dry frying pan or wok over a high heat. Once hot, add the rice and toast for a few minutes, until the grains begin to turn vaguely golden. Treat the rice like toasting sesame seeds, and be sure to keep it moving around the pan to prevent it burning. Transfer to a food processor and blitz to a coarse powder.
- To make the crispy shallots, heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat and fry the shallots for 10-15 minutes, or until they start to crisp up and turn a light golden colour. Scoop out the shallots with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
- To make the dressing, mix together the lime leaves, lime juice, fish sauce or soy sauce, chilli powder, sugar and oil until well combined. Mix the beetroot, sliced fresh shallots, lentils and ground rice in a bowl with the dressing and leave to macerate for about 30 minutes.
- Once ready to serve, combine the beetroot and lentil mixture with all of the herbs. Top with the crispy shallots and serve immediately.
Restore by Gizzi Erskine is published by HQ. Photography Issy Croker.
You may also be interested in…
Wise Living Magazine may receive a small commission to help support the running of this site from purchases made from links on this page, or some links may have been sponsored to be included in the article. Affiliate or sponsored links do not influence our editorial or articles published by Wise Living.