Laab, also known as Larb and Laap, is a northeastern food. It usually eaten as a part of a set
(laab, papaya salad and sticky rice.) The set is accompanied by string beans, sliver of cabbage,
water spinach and Thai basil. It can be served as an appetizer. It can also be served as a main
course along with other non-northeastern food.

There are variations of laab, duck laab, chicken laab. Some people like to include a few pieces of
liver in laab.

Ingredients: 1-2 Servings 
1 tablespoon toasted rice*
1/4 shallot thinly sliced
1-2 limes
1/2 lbs. ground pork
1/4 tablespoon ground dried chile powder
3 tablespoons fish sauce
5 sprigs chopped cilantro
3 sprigs spearmint
1 green onion or scallion,  sliced

* Toasted rice adds the nutty flavor to dishes like laab and other yum dishes. Heat up a pan or
wok and add one or two tablespoons of uncooked rice. Lower the heat and keep stiring to prevent
burning. Some rice will pop, like popcorn. When done, it should be golden brown .

Remove the toasted rice from the pan and pour into a mortar. Instead of pounding with the
pestle, twist the pestle to crush the rice into smaller pices.
Tips and substitutions
Substitute any ground meat for ground pork.
Substitute red onion or just onion for shallot if you like. 

The spearmint adds zing to the laab.

Squeeze juice from 1/3 of the lime on to the ground pork. Mix well and let it marinade for just a 
couple of minutes until you are ready to cook it. 

For this dish, people normally use a small pot; I use my cast iron pans because they can be heated
up really hot, they retain heat well and heat evenly.

Heat up a pan on high until it is very hot. Add two tablespoons of water and then immediately 
add your marinated pork and stir. The pork will stick to the pan at first, but then the juice will
come out and the meat will loosen from the bottom. Keep stirring until the pork is well done. 
Traditionally, the pork is undercooked, but I do not recommend undercooking pork for health

Put the pork in a bowl a large mixing bowl that will hold all the ingredients. Add fish sauce, green 
onion, shallot, cilantro, the rest of the lime juice, ground chili pepper and almost all of toasted
rice into the bowl. Save some toasted rice to sprinkle on top for garnish. Mix well and taste. It
should be a little bit hot. You should be able to taste tartness from the lime juice and the fish
sauce. If you need to add more fish sauce or lime juice, don't be afraid. Getting the flavor
balance right is a trial and error process. 

Put the mixed ingredients in a serving bowl, garnish with spearmint and sprinkle the rest of
toasted rice on top. Serve with vegetables like cabbage, green beans, lettuce and Thai basil.

Courtesy of:

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