Kow Kua ข้าวคั่ว
Toasted rice adds the nutty flavor to dishes like laab and other yum dishes. Heat up a pan or wok and add one or two tablespoons of uncooked rice. Lower the heat and keep stiring to prevent burning. Some rice will pop, like popcorn. When done, the rice should be golden brown.
Remove the toasted rice from the pan and pour into a mortar. Instead of pounding with the pestle, I twist it to crush the rice into smaller pieces. The last time I pounded toasted rice, I found myself sweeping the whole kitchen because the little pieces flew everywhere.
Some people like the toasted rice to be fine and powdery. I like the mixture of rough ground and powder to add texture to the dish.