So one of my all-time favourite Thai dishes that most people have not yet tried is called larb (pronounced kind of like ‘la-ab’). I grew up with this dish (as I was extremely lucky and not only is my mom Thai, but an AMAZING cook) and it’s something that I like more and more each time I have it. Of course, I had to learn how to make it in her unique way, but I still make sure to order it most of the time when I’m out in a Thai restaurant or when I’m travelling through Thailand, just to see how their versions turn out – they’re all slightly different.
I was feeling a little extra special today, so decided that I wanted to make larb tonight 😉 for dinner with my boyfriend. There are so many unique flavours in Thai food, and when you have all of the right fresh ingredients, it can really make all the difference in the world. Because of this, I thought I’d share this little recipe with you.
Ingredients (I never measure and just cook to taste, so here is my best guess in terms of quantities for everything):
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken (or mixture thereof)
- 1 tomato
- half a small white onion
- large handful fresh mint leaves
- small handful of cilantro (~1/4 of the amount of mint) (optional)
- 2-3 thai chilli peppers (or more if you can handle it!)
- 1 inch stem of fresh lemongrass
- ground roasted rice (optional)
- 1 lime
- 4 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
For those out there who are a bit more adventurous, feel free to add some additional chicken hearts, liver, and or gizzards (sorry if I’ve lost some of you now). Also, feel free to chop up half a green/red/yellow pepper if you happen to have some in your fridge to use up.
And most importantly – in advance, cook some jasmine rice to eat with the larb.
Now on to the dish!
Start out by adding a small amount of water to the bottom of a frying pan or wok (please, no oil!). Turn the heat on the element to high, and put in the ground meat. Cook until the water has all evaporated – usually around 10 minutes.
In the meantime, chop up all of the veggies into small pieces. I find the smaller you can make everything, the better this dish turns out. Put them into a bowl and mix altogether.
In another small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and squeeze in the juice from the lime. Stir it up and take a quick taste – should be fairly salty and tart.
Once those are all done, pour the cooked meat into the fresh vegetables, and then stir in the sauce. That’s it!
Everything but the meat is cooked, and there really isn’t anything unhealthy in this. It’ll be enough for 2 people if that’s all you’re eating for your meal, or else more if it’s going to be one of a few dishes.
But something that I do recommend – please try ordering this next time you do go to a Thai restaurant for dinner. It’s usually found under the salad section of the menu, but I love just ordering this and eating it with plain jasmine rice.
I hope you have as great of an experience making (and eating) larb as I always do – enjoy!