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Pork Larb

Pork Larb

Renée Robinson

So Much Flavor and Such Fun to Eat.

I don’t know about you, but I love wrapping intensely flavored meats in lettuce leaves. The crunch and freshness of the lettuce is such a perfect balance with the salty and chili flavored meat. In this case I made Pork Larb, which I understand to be the national dish of Laos. There are many recipes available, but this is how I make it. 

I begin by cooking Southeast Asian sticky rice in a dry wok until it’s golden and smells toasted. After it cools I grind it up in a spice grinder. Part of the ground up rice is added to the larb for texture. I happen to love both the texture and flavor and also sprinkle it on top of the finished dish. 

The rest of this is super easy to make. Ground pork is cooked in the wok with a little water and fish sauce. You don’t want the pork to brown. It should only be cooked until there is no pink raw pork left. It’s important the pork stays nice and soft. After placing the pork in a bowl, a simple dressing of lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, and sliced chili is stirred in, along with sliced scallions the toasted ground rice and fresh basil and mint. That’s all there is to it. 

Something delicious and fun I’ve been doing is to top the pork filled lettuce leaves with crumbled pork rinds and crispy fried shallots. I’ve previously mentioned that I keep jars of purchased crispy shallots on hand at all times. They add so much in both flavor and texture to many different dishes and were great here, too.

Ingredients for Pork Larb
Dressing, Pork Rinds, Ground Toasted Rice, and Crispy Shallots

 I happen to love eating food with my hands. There’s something about being in direct contact with the food that I could swear makes it taste better. I also think a scoop of white rice is essential for this meal. The soothing plain white rice perfectly balances out the highly seasoned flavors of the larb. Sometimes I pile the rice onto a leaf of lettuce and eat it that way, other times I’ll opt for chopsticks. It’s up to you. Have fun with it.

Pork Larb

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Ground Pork Seasoned with Lime Juice and Fish Sauce is Wrapped in Lettuce Leaves

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  • 1/4 cup Southeast Asian sticky rice

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar, or light brown sugar

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided

  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 bird’s eye chili, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork shoulder

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 cup chopped basil

  • 1/4 cup chopped mint

  • Lettuce leaves

  • Crumbled fried pork rinds

  • Crispy fried shallots

  • White rice of your choice


  • In a dry wok, over medium high heat, cook and stir the sticky rice until it toasts and is golden. Set aside to cool and grind in a spice grinder until it’s coarsely ground.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, palm sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, and chili. Set aside.
  • Heat the wok again over medium high heat, add the pork, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce. Cook, while stirring just until the pork is no longer pink. Don’t let the pork brown. Remove from the heat and place it in a large bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Toss in the dressing, scallions, 3 tablespoons ground toasted rice, and herbs. Taste for seasoning. You may need a little more fish sauce or lime juice. You may want to add more of the toasted ground rice, depending on the texture you’d like.
  • Serve on the lettuce leaves, topped with the crumbled pork rinds, crispy scallions, and remaining toasted rice. Accompany with plain white rice. Enjoy!

4 Responses

    1. I love it, too, Sandy. I’ve used both kinds of rice and like the texture of the sticky rice more. I hope you like it, too! Please let me know. Thank you!

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