Larb, or laap, is an amazing meat ‘salad’ with fresh herbs and spices, lime and toasted rice wrapped in lettuce leaves. Eaten hot or cold this amazing pork larb recipe is a sure hit to anyone you serve it to. This refreshing dish from Southeast Asia is great for summer parties, as a snack or eaten as a full meal. Either way it tastes delicious and after tasting it, pork larb will become a staple in your kitchen!


What is Larb?

Larb (also called Laap) is a Thai meat salad, usually made up of ground meat, chicken, pork or beef sometimes turkey or duck. Then mixed with shallots, herbs, peppers and a vinaigrette, but the main ingredient which gives Larb its distinct flavour is toasted rice. Browning uncooked rice in a dry pan gives off a subtle nutty flavour and rounds out this dish perfectly. It is always eaten in lettuce cups as a lettuce wrap.

What is in Pork Larb Salad?

The ingredients here are the basic ingredients you would find in larb. You can change the amounts as you wish to make the salad as best o your liking as possible. It can have more lime juice if you like more tang, you can add more red pepper flakes if you like it spicy, or even more sugar if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.

  • Rice
  • Ground Pork
  • Garlic
  • 2 Shallots
  • Sugar
  • Fish Sauce
  • Lime
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Green Onions (scallion)
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Thai Basil
  • Leaf Lettuce or Butterleaf
  • Cucumber

We will sometimes add Sriracha sauce to the final product if we wish to add more spiciness to the dish. If you want to swap out any ingredients, here is a list of substitutions that won’t change the flavour too much.

Ground Pork – You can use lean ground beef, lamb, chicken or turkey, but the best flavours for this salad use pork or chicken.

Lime – You can use lime juice instead of real limes.

Cilantro – For those cilantro haters out there, just omit this herb, you can add more of the other herbs or just follow the recipe as is without it.

Leaf Lettuce – Use butterleaf for more of a cup and easy to eat lettuce wraps, or use romaine for a sturdier base so you can chomp into it without spilling everywhere.


How do I make Pork Larb?

Heat a large pan on medium high heat and add rice. Dry roast the rice by constantly moving it around the pan until you have a nice light brown colour throughout. It won’t evenly brown, so when it gets to the colour in the picture below, it is done.

Rice in a frying pan.
Browning the rice will give it a nutty flavour.

Pour rice into a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Set aside until ready to use.

In the same pan heat the oil and add the sliced garlic, cook for 1 minute (or until lightly browned) then add the pork. Make sure to break apart the pork into small pieces as it cooks.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the fish sauce, lime juice and red pepper flakes. This will be your vinaigrette for the salad, rehydrating the red pepper flakes so the flavour comes out of them.

When the pork is fully cooked through, add the toasted rice, sugar and sliced shallots. Mix thoroughly and cook for about 2 minutes, then turn off heat.

Ground pork mixed with rice and shallots in a frying pan
Ground toasted rice with Shallots and Pork

Pour your vinaigrette over the pork and mix well to combine. Taste the mixture for seasoning. This is when you can add more lime juice, fish sauce, Sriracha or sugar to make the salad perfect for your palette. Each ingredient should not overpower the next, it should balance out completely the sweet, salty, spicy and acidic flavours.

Wash your lettuce and place out for serving. At this point you can either portion out the lettuce cups, or just put the lettuce on a side plate for people to grab.

Add the chopped herbs and green onion to the pork mixture and plate however you wish.

Serve with lime wedges and sliced cucumber. *Option to garnish with sliced red chili peppers as well. Enjoy!

Authentic Pork Larb 'Laap'

Authentic Pork Larb 'Laap'

Yield: 2 full servings or 4 snacks
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Rice
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 clove Garlic, sliced
  • 2 Shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Green Onions (scallion), sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Mint, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Thai Basil, chiffonade
  • Leaf Lettuce or Butterleaf
  • Cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1 Lime, cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pan on medium high heat and add rice. Dry roast until lightly browned, remove and grind to a powder, set aside. *See above for directions and photos.
  2. In the same pan heat oil and add garlic then the pork and cook until pork is fully cooked through, breaking apart into small pieces as it cooks.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together fish sauce, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  4. Add rice powder, sugar and shallots to pork, mix thoroughly then turn off heat.
  5. Add fish sauce mixture and combine. Taste for seasoning adjusting to your liking.
  6. Add herbs and green onion and place on a serving plate.
  7. Serve with lettuce cups/pieces, lime wedges and sliced cucumber.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 542Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 1160mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 32g

We are not certified nutritionists and make no claims to be so. The nutritional information given here is intended for informational purposes only. These nutritional calculations are rounded numbers dependant on the certain ingredients and amounts in the recipe and are by no means perfect.

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