Laab – Spicy meat salad

Many years ago I was ordering a Thai takeaway, one of the items (number 22, maybe), was called Laab. I had no idea what it was, but that was why I ordered it. A random selection.

It was amazing, like nothing I’d eaten before. But blimey, did it blow my head off!!! I’m someone that sweats at the thought of a chilli, let alone eating one. Just picture my face when I once ate a curry full of green beans… they weren’t green beans! Anyway, despite every mouthful of the laab blowing my head off I ate the lot. However, it was so hot I had to eat it slowly over the course of an evening. The flavours were amazing! So now I’ll share this recipe. Please try it. Adjust it to your taste. Every time I make it it’s different. Often because I’m sure I remember the recipe but still forget some of ingredients when shopping… Doh! Traditionally it’s served with raw pork or beef mince, but please don’t do this unless you want to get ill! 

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Ingredients for Laab

This recipe will probably serve 4. I love it, so there’s not much left from serving 2!

juice of 2 limes

400g pork or turkey mince

4 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp ground rice

small handful chopped coriander, chopped

2 chopped birds eye chillies – more if you like it hot!

1 banana shallot, halved and thinly sliced

half a small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced

small handful of mint, chopped

Mix a quarter of the lime juice with the minced meat and leave for 5 – 10 minutes.

Toast the ground rice in a pan on a high heat until golden.

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Toasted ground rice

In a bowl, mix the fish sauce, half the ground rice, the rest of the lime juice, most of the coriander, the chillies, shallots and onion. I often use spring onions instead of red onion.

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Now put the mince into a hot non-stick pan and cook on a high heat until cooked through.

Add this to the bowl, mix and serve with rice and a Thai style salad.  Recipe for this to follow.

Sprinkle with the chopped mint, remaining chopped coriander and toasted rice. For those that like stronger flavours and heat, more fish sauce, lime juice and chilli can be added at the table. 

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