This authentic has minced pork seasoned with lime, ginger, chilli and fish sauce, then mixed with crunchy toasted rice and peanuts, sprinkled with herbs and eaten out of a lettuce leaf cup. There are infinite varieties, but the recipe below is the one I like. You could easily use chicken, duck, beef or even tofu in place of the pork. You could easily skip some of the ingredients or add in your ideas. If you’ve not tried it before, I suggest that you stick roughly to the recipe, have a good taste, and adapt to your preferences.
The key to success is to balance out the spiciness of the meat with masses of fresh herbs and crisp lettuce. If possible, try not to buy those tiny packaged herb portions that supermarkets stock that adds to a teaspoonful when chopped.
In Thailand, larb is normally eaten with sticky rice and papaya or mango salad. We stick with jasmine rice, sometimes replacing half the cooking water with coconut milk for a slight sweetness. Take this as a packed lunch: perch whole lettuce on top of your larb and make little scoops at lunchtime, or slice the lettuce and herbs into the larb and treat it as a meaty salad. It’s tastier at room temperature than out of the fridge.
Yummy and Authentic Thai Pork Larb Recipe
- 450 grams ground pork (minced pork)
- 2 red chili (red chilli in British English) - finely chopped
- 1 stem lemongrass - finely shredded
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger - grated or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (sweet chilli sauce in British English)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 medium lime zest - zest from 3 limes
- 6 sprigs spring onions - thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons white rice - ground and toasted
- 1 handful cilantro (coriander)
- 1 handful mint
- 3 tablespoons peanuts - dry toasted in a frying pan and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch iceberg lettuce - to serve
- Mix the chillies, lemongrass, soy sauce and pork. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat and fry the pork in two batches for 3 or 4 minutes, until it changes colour and starts getting crisp, breaking up any lumps with a spatula. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the lime zest and juice, ginger, spring onions, fish sauce, sesame oil and sweet chilli sauce. Pour over the pork, add the toasted rice and stir well.
- To eat, scoop a bit of pork into a lettuce leaf, sprinkle with peanuts and as much mint and coriander as you like (lots, in my opinion!), squeeze over a bit of lime, roll and eat. Add this to your lettuce cups if you’ve gone for the rice.