You didn’t think I only made one dish with my Red Wattle Pork from Sugar Creek Meats, did you?
Pork Larb, which can be made with almost any protein is, at its heart, a ground meat salad. The two most well known versions come from Laos and Northern Thailand. As an interesting aside, the Laotian version includes fish sauce and lime juice which is what I would have expected to find in the Thai larb. My recipe includes elements from both cuisines.
You can serve your larb over rice or noodles, in lettuce cups, or pretty much anyway you want. It can be a light meal or a full dinner. Make it spicy or tone it down. It is a forgiving dish.
I started with making a toasted rice powder (Khao Khua) Rice is toasted in skillet over medium heat until gold brown
then ground into a fine powder. Don’t worry if there are a few crunchy bits left in it. They add texture and bite to your dish.
The rice powder serves as a thickener and, in addition to the textural component, it brings a smoky, toasted element of flavor. I use a coffee grinder for grinding spices and, in this case, rice. If you don’t have one you can order the Khao Khua online or find it in specialty stores and Asian markets.
When the rice powder was ready, I assembled my other ingredients, chopping the herbs, lemon grass and scallions. For my pepper I used some of my candied jalapeno but you can substitute in a Thai Chili pepper or eliminate the pepper altogether if you are not a fan. I stirred them together in a large bowl with lime juice, fish sauce (optional) and a little sugar, setting aside some of the cilantro and scallions for garnish.
Once the prepping is finished, it is a simple process to sauté the pork, drain it and add to the herb mixture, sprinkle it with the Khao Khua, and stir it all together.
Give it a taste and add salt as needed.
Bring the bowl to the table along with the extra herbs and some Boston Lettuce leaves and let your friends and family assemble their “sandwiches” tableside.
PORK LARB: AN ASIAN MEAT SALAD
- 3 tbs rice uncooked
- 1 large shallot thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp to 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno or Thai chili pepper
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 stalk lemon grass thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger finely grated
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 lb good quality ground pork
- Boston lettuce leaves separated
In a dry sauce pan, over medium heat, toast the rice until the grains are golden brown. Allow to cool slightly then grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
- Mix together everything else except the pork in a large bowl, reserving some of the cilantro and scallions for garnish.
- In a skillet, over medium heat, saute the ground pork, breaking it into pieces, until it is cooked through.
- Add the pork to the herb mixture in the bowl, sprinkle with the rice powder and stir together. Taste and add salt as needed.
- Serve with lettuce leaves and reserved garnish. If desired, provide some lime for squeezing over the dish.
Note: you can also use a mixture of cilantro and mint leaves if desired.