A Laotian/Thai minced-meat salad made with ground pork (or chicken), fish sauce, lime juice, toasted ground rice, and fresh herbs/vegetables.
I'm a big fan of Southeast Asian cuisine. Mostly I've had Vietnamese and Thai food but, looking for something new to try, I searched for recipes online. I found this recipe that sounded delicious and simple with easy to find ingredients. I also saw a local cooking show where the chef made this dish and gave me more ideas on how to make it and what to serve with it. Many of the recipes for larb use ground/minced chicken but you can also use pork, beef, or even fish. It's easiest for me to pick up ground pork in Chinatown (and I prefer pork) so that's what I used. This recipe has so much flavor I think any meat would be delicious or you could even try mushrooms (for a meatless version).
Like many Thai dishes, this is spicy, salty, sour, and sweet. It is served with fresh vegetables, herbs, and sticky rice. I like to pile the larb and rice onto lettuce leaves and eat it like that. I made mine with fresh cilantro and green onions on the side as well as a shredded daikon, carrots, and cabbage slaw. Then before eating I mixed it all together. Mint is another herb that is commonly served with this dish. In my opinion, you can use just about any fresh herbs and vegetables you like with this salad. Once you have all the ingredients prepared it all cooks in no time and is a delicious, fresh, quick, and easy meal.
1 pound ground pork
1/4 red onion (or 1 shallot), thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
*2 Tbsp toasted, ground rice
**1 tsp toasted, ground, dried Thai chilies (or you could use fresh or try Sriracha)
fresh herbs such as cilantro, green onions, and mint
**Daikon, carrot, and cabbage slaw
Crisp lettuce leaves
First prepare all of the side ingredients (those with *s).
* Toasted ground rice: toast about 1/2 cup of sticky rice in a dry frying pan until it browns. Remove it from the heat and grind it roughly with a mortar and pestle (or by pulsing in a blender). Extra can be kept in a sealed container (like a spice jar).
**Toasted ground dried Thai chilies: (I often buy extra Thai chilies and let them dry out) Place the dried chilies in a dry frying pan and toast them at medium heat until they start to brown and become brittle. Crush the dried chilies with a mortar and pestle or in a blender (be careful of the chili powder/dust it will make you sneeze like crazy...I tied a bandanna over my nose and mouth). Again store extra in a sealed container.
***Daikon, carrot, and cabbage slaw: Shred one small daikon (about the size or a carrot), one carrot, and about 1/2 head of cabbage. Mix it together with the juice of 1 lime and a dash of fish sauce. Refrigerate in a sealed container.
In a large frying pan cook the pork until browned/ cooked through. Pour out extra grease and add the onion cooking until soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, toasted rice, and chilies. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit your tastes.
Serve with fresh herbs, slaw, lettuce leaves, and sticky rice. I put everything on the side so each person can mix it together how they like. Sprinkle a little more toasted rice on top for added crunch.
Makes 4 servings.
Linked to: 2 cup, Best of the Weekend, Snickerdoodle
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