Most of the world knows pork larb as a Thai dish but, if we’re to be politically correct, it originates from Laos where it is called pork laab. For brevity, the dish is referred to as pork larb in this blog because that it the name by which it is more popularly known globally.
What is this dish? It is sweet-tangy-salty-spicy minced pork with khao koor (ground toasted sticky rice), mint, cilantro and scallions traditionally served wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Pork Larb (Laab)
- 1 tablespoon uncooked rice
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 200 grams pork shoulder (or other tender pork cut), minced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger (with the juice)
- 1 stalk lemongrass finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce or to taste
- ½ cup pork broth
- 200 grams pork liver minced
- ⅓ cup chopped mint
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- ⅓ cup chopped scallions
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- 2 bird’s eye chilies finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- In an oil-free pan, toast the rice over high heat until browned.
- Grind the toasted rice (with a mortar and pestle, or a mini food processor).
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok.
- Add the minced pork and stir fry just until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the ginger and lemongrass, and a tablespoon of fish sauce.
- Sprinkle in the toasted rice. Cook, stirring often, until the meat has soaked up the fish sauce.
- Pour in the broth. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes (that’s all the time that minced pork needs to cook).
- Add the liver to the wok. Season with the rest of the fish sauce.
- Turn up the heat to medium and continue cooking just until the liver is done and the mixture is almost dry.
- Cool the meat and assemble the rest of the ingredients.
- Toss in the mint, cilantro, scallions, onion and chilies.
- Drizzle in the lime juice and sugar mixture.
- Toss briefly but thoroughly.
- Optionally, top with fried shallots before serving.