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.
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.