Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Larb: such an offputting name, but such a tasty treat! It sounds like some sort of greasy mystery food you would get served in prison... but it’s completely the opposite! Larb is a Laotian/Thai ground meat salad seasoned with lime, fish sauce, chilies and herbs (usually mint). It’s fresh, bright, pungent, and delicious! My nontraditional version is made with lean turkey, but you can use almost any ground meat you prefer. This simple, exotic meal is easy to prep and sure to please a crowd! I love using the room temperature turkey mixture as a filling for lettuce wraps, piling it in the center of a big platter lined with leafy lettuces and raw vegetables for a fun, interactive eating experience. This low-carb larb is perfect as is, but it’s also great paired with some sticky rice if you’d prefer. You can also make this spicier by adding extra serrano pepper. And don't skimp on the herbs! They add so much fresh flavor to this complex, umami packed dish.
prep time: 10 min. cook time: ~15 min. serves: 3-4
1 tbsp avocado, peanut or vegetable oil
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
4 green onions, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 serrano pepper, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sriracha, or to taste
FOR SERVING lettuces to make “wraps” with (romaine, butter, bibb, etc.), julienned or shaved carrot, thin sliced cucumber, lime wedges, chopped toasted peanuts, extra chopped herbs (basil, cilantro, mint), lime wedges, and/or sriracha
Make the sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the shallot and green onions and toss to cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and serrano chili and cook 1 min more, until fragrant. Make a clearing and add the turkey meat, breaking with a wooden spoon to brown all over, 5-7 minutes. When no pink remains in the meat, pour the sauce over, add the chopped herbs, and toss to coat. Cook the mixture another 2 minutes. Transfer the larb to a bowl to cool slightly while you arrange the serving platter.
Arrange the lettuces, carrot and cucumber around the edge of a large platter or shallow bowl. Pile the room temperature larb in the center and sprinkle with extra chopped herbs and the toasted peanuts. Garnish with lime wedges. Serve the sriracha alongside, if desired. To make a wrap, take a leaf of lettuce, spoon some larb inside and top with extra ingredients as desired. Enjoy!