The Grocer: Larb
Springtime calls for fresh, zesty flavours with an exotic twist, and this Laotian dish is sure to hit the spot as the weather warms up.
Regarded as the unofficial national dish of Laos, larb is fresh minced salad, usually made with chicken, beef, fish, pork, duck or mushrooms. Freshness is key with larb, as the mince can be served raw or cooked, and accompanied by a crunchy green salad. The aromatic dish perfectly balances sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter flavours, combining lime juice, fish sauce, chilli and mint, with traditional versions often containing padaek – a traditional Laotian condiment made from pickled or fermented fish. Also popular in neighbouring Thailand, Northern Thai versions of larb may have a slightly different flavour, omitting fish sauce and lime juice for the more robust flavours of cloves, cumin, cinnamon and star anise.
As well as fresh green salad, larb is often served with sticky rice and raw vegetables. We love this recipe from Wholesome Cook, which serves up larb gai (chicken) in crunchy lettuce cups, with an option of using tofu instead of meat for vegetarians. We also can’t wait to try this recipe that experiments with pork larb from Southern Thailand, and this zesty number that substitutes meat for minced tofu.
Image via Wholesome Cook.
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