I love this.
I mean really love it.
It’s one of those things that has you going “Mmm” a lot until you can eat some more.
If you like Thai food, you’ll know that the blend of sour, sweet, salty, bitter is quite addictive. Although Laab or Larb is apparently from Laos rather than Thailand, this is the quickest way I know to get an instant hit of those Thai flavours.
It will need a special visit to the shops to get the fresh herbs and minced pork but it is worth it.
Once you’ve gathered the ingredients the minced pork salad is really quick to make.
Like 10 minutes quick.
Although one thing I would urge you to do is to buy or make some ground toasted rice - khao khua. Rather than venture to the chinese supermarket in the snow I made mine by dry roasting sushi rice (I had run out of glutinous sticky rice) in a dry frying pan for around 15 minutes. You need to stir it constantly until it goes golden brown, then pound it to a rough powder with a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.
The texture and flavour it adds is really fabulous, and although I have supplemented crushed peanuts and pine nuts in the past, the rice is more authentic and if you make a batch you can store it in a jar for another day.
Another bonus is that when you are toasting it the house fills with the smell of well cooked rice pudding.
We have this as a snack or starter with lettuce leaves. It is our new ‘go to’ dish for Friday-night-snacky-food for Happy Hour. I serve it with Little Gem lettuce as the leaves are kind of dainty which makes it easier to stuff a whole one in your mouth in one go.
I went a bit ‘Yuk Sung’ with these as I added fried vermicelli glass noodles – because they look pretty and they are a giggle to make. Coiling into huge tangles of white crispiness in a matter of seconds in the hot oil.
Laab – Thai Pork Salad
The quantities here are just a guideline, feel free to change them depending on your taste.
500g Minced Pork (or minced chicken if you prefer)
3 tbsp Soy Sauce and a splosh of water
1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
1 sliced Fresh Chilli
1/2 finely sliced Red Onion
3 chopped Spring Onions
2-3 sliced Kaffir Lime Leaves (I keep a bag of these in the freezer)
3 tbsp Fish Sauce
2 tsp Palm Sugar – any other sugar will do
4 tbsp ground toasted rice – Khao Khua
Finely sliced red cabbage and carrot
Gently fry the minced pork in a little oil until it stops being pink, then add the soy sauce and a little water and let it cook through for 2 minutes.
Add the dried chilli, the fresh chilli, red onion and the spring onions and fry gently for another couple of minutes.
Add the fish sauce, palm sugar, the juice of half the lime and the shredded kaffir lime leaves and heat through.
Take off the heat stir in a handful of torn basil and mint leaves and most of the toasted ground rice.
Let it cool a little, then serve with the shredded cabbage, carrot and, of course, a bowl of lettuce leaves.
Sprinkle with toasted rice and a squeeze of lime over each leaf full as you eat it.
You can thank me later.
Happy Friday Happy Hour x