I have always been a fan of Thai food – before I went to Thailand in my teens and even more so afterwards. Thai food in the UK, unlike many other international food representations we have seems to be more traditional – not like getting a Tikka Masala when you go to your local Indian takeaway. One of my favourite things I tried when in Thailand, and something I have rarely found here in the UK was a Larb Salad.
Dubbed the “unofficial” dish of Laos, a country which borders Thailand and Burma in the Golden Triangle, I tried this delicious dish in a gorgeous northern Thailand jungle setting. A mix of a sharp noodle salad with lime juice and mildly spiced pork and onion, this is the perfect salad for summer! This delicious recipe makes enough for two hearty portions.
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
500g lean pork mince
10g dried chilli flakes
1 knob of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
40g non-salted peanuts
2 baby gem lettuces
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 nests of dried wheat noodles
6 sticks of chives
- Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Once bubbling, turn down the heat slightly to allow for a steady boil and add the noodle nests. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes (or follow packet instructions), drain and set aside in a colander to drain and cool.
- Heat a frying pan with the rapeseed oil. Finely dice the onion, garlic and ginger and soften in the pan. Add the salt and chilli flakes.
- Roll the lime on the chopping board to release more of the juices, then cut into quarters. Add to the pan and stir well.
- Once the onions start to brown, break in the lean pork mince and mix together well.
- Wash the gem lettuces, drain and shred into a large bowl. Break up the fresh mint leaves, roughly chop and add to the lettuce. Roughly chop the peanuts and toss into the lettuce and mint.
- Once fully cooked, take the pork mixture off the heat and set aside. Remove the limes and allow them to cool.
- Once the limes are cooled, squeeze the juice of two of the wedges into the salad and add the salt. Add the soy sauce and cooled noodles and toss the salad together.
- Serve the salad topped with the pork and add one of the remaining lime wedges to the side of each dish and top with three chive sticks to finish.
Traditionally, a Thai Larb Salad is delicious eaten without noodles, and with the mixture filling a lettuce leaf rather than the lettuce shredded into the salad – why not try it this way too? It makes a delicious and low fat starter!
This yummy treat couldn’t be more delicious, and is so cheap and easy to make! It takes just 20-30 minutes to finish and you can even make it in a large batch by adjusting the recipe and eat it over a few days or serve it at a party. It’s a great option for summer as it’s quite mild, and makes a unique twist on a traditional British barbecue salad, bringing a taste of the orient into your get together.
Why not try serving alongside Thai inspired burgers with chilli and lemongrass, or without the pork mince and topped with a delicious sea bass instead (something I tried in Thailand – eyes and all!)