Don’t you just love a beautiful, photo-worthy meal that can be made in less than 30 minutes? If you’re wondering what larb is, you’re not alone! Once I learned about this amazing Southeast Asian dish I couldn’t get it out of my head! Larb is a bright and flavorful ground pork dish with roots in northern Thailand and Laos.
It’s chock full of those pungent, spicy, tangy, and sweet Southeast Asian flavors like fish sauce, lime juice and Sambal. Serve it with a side of my sweet Coconut Cilantro rice for your next dinner party and you’ll have everyone begging you for the recipe. This restaurant-quality recipe won’t take you longer than 30 minutes to prepare!
This juicy ground pork larb is one of the most flavorful dishes you’ll ever eat. The ingredients are always so zesty, colorful, and full of amazing textures and spices. At its essence, larb is a ground meat salad loaded with scallions, garlic, shallot, mint, Thai chili, and cilantro.
Larb is meant to be a marriage of savory and fresh flavors with a sweet and sour sauce. When it’s made right, the juicy pork takes center stage inside of a crunchy lettuce wrap. The combination of lemongrass, lime juice, and fish sauce gives the larb its signature flavor profile.
Larb is a dish that works any time of the year, but it’s especially fun to eat in the summertime with Boston Lettuce from my garden! Make sure to get your hands on a nice and crunchy head of lettuce with healthy leaves to bundle up the ground pork. Not only is this dish healthy, but it’s gorgeous too. Larb is a great gateway dish to Southeast Asian cuisine if you’ve never tried it before.
Ground Pork Larb Lettuce Wraps
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp sambal-oelek
- 1 stalk lemongrass peeled and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 4 scallions roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 Thai chili thinly sliced
- 1 cup torn mint leaves
- 1 cup torn cilantro leaves
- 1 head Boston lettuce for serving
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp water
- 2 tsp sambal-oelek
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp mint finely sliced
- 1 tbsp cilantro finely sliced
- Heat your wok (or a large skillet) on high heat until smoking. Add the oil and pork to the wok and break up the meat as it begins to cook. When the pork starts to brown, about 2 minutes, add in the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, a pinch of salt and continue to stir-fry.
- Cook the pork for another minute until fragment and add in the sambal, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, scallions, ginger and chili. Cook until the shallots and garlic start to crisp, then add the mint and cilantro and remove from the heat.
- While the pork rests, make the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk thoroughly.
- To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter and spoon the pork into the pockets of the lettuce. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, fresh mint, and cilantro.
If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, you can always omit the Sambal and Thai chili and go a little heavier on the lime juice or fish sauce. I hope you’ll go out of your comfort zone and try making this flavorful dish in your own home! I promise this will become one of your go-to lunch or dinner staples. On a hot summer day, nothing beats crunchy lettuce wraps and a cool drink to wash it all down.