This tangier turkey version of the classic chicken salad is influenced by the "Isaarn" or Northeastern area of Thailand. The Northern version is more savory with a variety of pork offal meats like liver and cracklings. Northern food is very healthy and delicious. Always serve with a variety of fresh vegetable crudites. Pro tips: If you can, have your butcher grind the turkey breast once using a large die. This will give you large chunks of turkey with texture instead of an overly minced burger feel. Also, you can sub any meat or even tofu into this dish. Again, large die, single grind is the key.
Stir the tamarind paste into the ground turkey in a large bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.
Heat a medium pan to high heat and add the oil. When you see the first wisps of white smoke, saute the garlic and shallot until translucent, about 1 minute. Fold the turkey into the pan and stir-fry until the turkey is just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Reduce to low heat then stir in the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and chile powder and mix well. Adjust your flavors as necessary to your taste.
Fold in the mint, onion, roasted rice powder and scallions until well combined. Serve with carrot sticks, long beans, lettuce and cabbage. Garnish the laab with more scallions, red onion and rice powder.
Roasted rice powder can be bought in the store, but making it yourself is fun and easy. Take about 1/2 cup white rice and roast it in a dry pan over medium-high heat. Keep stirring as the rice cooks. Once the rice is medium brown and fragrant, put it into a blender or food processor. Grind until a coarse powder is formed.