Laab ลาบหมู  (Thai Ground Pork Salad)

When we think of salad, we think of lettuce and vegetables. But in Thai cooking, a salad can apparently also consist mostly of… ground pork! This dish is called “Laab” and it is very tasty. The ground pork is cooked, but served at room temperature with a dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, chili flakes, toasted rice powder, shallots, and a lot of fresh herbs: mint, cilantro, and green onions. The toasted rice powder adds both texture and a nutty flavor. Steamed sticky rice is served on the side. I’ve made it following Hot Thai Kitchen’s recipe.

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 250 grams (.55 lb) ground pork (I used ground pork neck aka butt)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white glutinous rice
  • 3 Tbsp finely sliced shallot
  • 1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp green onion, chopped
  • 2-3 leaves culantro (sawtooth coriander), roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • chili flakes to taste

Instructions

For the toasted rice powder, heat up a dry frying pan and add the rice.

Toast over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the rice is golden brown.

Allow the toasted rice to cool, then transfer to a spice grinder (or coffee grinder)…

…and grind into a powder.

To cook the pork, place 2 tablespoons water in a pan or pot, and bring to a boil.

Add the ground pork, and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spatula…

…until the raw color has disappeared and it is dry. (If the meat released a lot of water, you can also drain it away to prevent overcooking the meat.)

Add the finely sliced shallot when the meat is still warm, then stir to allow the residual heat of the meat to soften the shallot somewhat.

Mix the fish sauce and lime juice, and add this, then stir to mix.

Add most of the toasted rice powder, reserving some for garnish.

Add chili flakes to taste. I used 1/2 teaspoon.

Add the fresh herbs.

Stir to mix.

Serve with steamed sticky rice (i.e. glutinous rice).

Flashback

An appropriate flashback for today is Thai green curry with sous vide beef and eggplant.

2 thoughts on “Laab ลาบหมู  (Thai Ground Pork Salad)

  1. Larb gai (our usual spelling) is a hugely popular first course in Australia and you have presented a classical version of the dish. The same method is often used with beef and chicken also under slightly different names. Some serve it with rice etc as a full plate meal . . . I do prefer it on its own , often as almost a snack offering. It is so popular here even small Aussie children know to ask for it by name 🙂 !!! And usually it is a do-it-yourself dish with the various components simply laid out on the table !

    Liked by 1 person

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