I’ve never made Thai Larb before. In fact, I never even tried it while in Thailand. I know, what kind of person am I? I truly feel like I’ve been missing out because holy moly, it’s good!
I found out about this quick and easy Thai dish from my friend Alex of @thedefineddish. If I’m not mistaken, she’s made it a couple of times on her IG stories and every time she does it looks delicious. Not sure what took me so long to try it for myself. If you want to check out her recipe you can click here. She mentions that ground pork is her meat of choice so I was very happy when I was digging through my freezer and found some ground wild boar tucked away for a rainy day!
This Thai Larb recipe is based off of Alex’s for the most part, with a few minor adjustments. I didn’t have shallots, so I used red onion. I didn’t have Thai basil or mint so I stuck with fresh cilantro. Lastly, I didn’t have Thai bird chilies so I used jalapeño. If you have the ingredients I did not, use them! It will undoubtedly make this a much tastier dish.
I also slightly altered the cooking directions – don’t kill me, Alex! Personally, I like to brown the meat before sautéeing the aromatics. I find that it helps develop more flavour and also allows for more control over the rendered fat from the pork (in this case wild boar). In other words, when you brown the meat, shallots and garlic together, the veggies will inevitably absorb some of the rendered fat in the meat. Moreover, the meat won’t brown as nicely due to the moisture being drawn out from the aromatics. Yes, browning the meat first is an additional step but it’s one that I think is worth taking, especially when cooking with pork which tends to be quite fatty. By browning the meat first, you can discard as much or as little rendered fat as you wish. If using beef or chicken you will not have this problem so feel free to follow Alex’s instructions.
Oh, one last thing, I did add a splash or two of coconut aminos to the sauce. It adds a beautiful, caramel colour to the meat and imparts some sweetness that balances the umami of the fish sauce and acid from the citrus.
- 2 lbs ground pork or wild boar
- 1 small red onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger finely julienned
- 1 Jalapeño finely chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass outer skin removed, bashed and chopped into 3" pieces
- 1 handful fresh coriander roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 3 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp compliant fish sauce such as Red Boat
- juice of 1/2 lime plus extra for serving
- sliced chilies for garnish
- 1 fried egg for garnish
- 1/2 pinch kosher salt
- sliced cucumbers for serving
- Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over med-high heat. Add ground meat and brown in batches until caramelized and fully cooked (approx. 10-12 min). Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl - set aside. Discard all but 1-2 tbsp of rendered fat.
- Lower heat to medium and add onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeño and lemongrass to skillet. Season with a 1/2 pinch of kosher salt and sautée until onion is soft and translucent (approx. 6-8 min).
- Return cooked meat along with coconut aminos, fish sauce and lime juice. Toss everything to coat and cook additional 2-3minutes or until sauce has reduced by half. Add chopped coriander at the last minute and toss to combine.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust with fish sauce and coconut aminos, as required.
- Serve overtop of a bed of chopped lettuce with a side of sliced cucumbers. Garnish with sliced chilies, fresh coriander and top with a fried egg.