Larb. Doesn’t exactly seem like a mouthwatering meal, does it? A name may be deceptive, after all. This Pork Larb is the most delicious item I’ve made in the kitchen this entire month.
WHAT IS LARB?
Like you, I’m very new to the Larb community, so if you’re unfamiliar with it, let me fill you in. Meat salad, or larb, is essentially a staple dish in Southeast Asian cuisine.
It’s a Laotian meat salad that’s become popular in Thailand and other parts of West and Southeast Asia. The meal, like many others from Southeast Asia, features a balance of salty and fresh ingredients.
Included in its makeup are mint, scallions, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. Toasted ground rice is added to the final meal to offer texture and a nutty flavor.
CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR OWN TASTES
Larb can be customized in the same way that any salad can. This dish doesn’t have enough mint or cilantro for you? Put in more! If you’re not a cilantro fanatic, I understand. Try subbing in some Thai basil or more mint instead.
Are you looking for a stronger punch? The number of chilies must be increased. Don’t eat any meat? Instead of hamburgers, try some other ground meat. Even fish and mushrooms can be used in larb recipes.
Preparing this meal takes next to no time at all. It takes around 10 minutes to dry roast the rice grains; however, that is the longest process. Larb-y bliss can be yours in just 10 minutes if you prepare that in advance.
There are many different ways to cook and serve pork larb. You can serve it with crunchy lettuce wraps, Thai sticky rice, or even just steamed jasmine rice if you don’t feel like getting too fancy.
Maybe it’s not the most conventional accompaniment, but I thought it went really well with the homemade coconut rice and toasted coconut I served with mine.
Let’s get down to larbing right away.
- 1 pound of ground pork
- 3 peeled and thinly sliced shallots
- 3 chopped scallions
- 1 juiced lime
- 1 sliced red chili
- ½ cup of mint
- ¼ cup of cilantro
- 1 tablespoon of uncooked sticky rice
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of sugar
- Toast the rice in a dry wok or skillet over low heat for about 10 minutes, constantly stirring, until the grains turn brown and aromatic. Use a mortar and pestle to reduce the ingredients to a coarse powder. Set aside.
- Once again, heat your wok over high heat until it is smoking. Combine the ground pork with the oil. Add the pork, toasted rice powder, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice, and stir-fry until the pork is browned.
- For the final minute of stir-frying, throw in the chili, shallots, scallions, cilantro, and mint. Season to taste by adding extra chili, sugar, fish sauce, and/or lime juice during the final minute of stir-frying.
- The traditional accompaniments in Thailand include sticky rice, steamed jasmine rice, and lettuce leaves.