Spicy Pork with Roasted Rice Powder, Crispy Lime Leaves and Sticky Rice

Laarb Moo

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    4 to 6

    servings as part of a multi-dish meal

Appears in

Savory, chili-laced ground pork is served with “Table salad,” an array of cold, fresh vegetables and herbs, and sticky rice in Northeastern Thailand. My sous chef, Ari, became a devotee of this recipe during our recipe testing for this book. Catfish laarb is also a popular accompaniment to table salad, and is quite “aroy” (delicious). Ground chicken or beef can be substituted for pork; I would season beef more aggressively and the chicken less so. Roasted rice powder adds a deep, toasty flavor and binds the dressing to the salad without adding oil.

Ingredients

For the Table Salad

  • ¼ head Green cabbage, cut into 2-inch (5 cm.) wide wedges
  • 8 strands Long beans, cut beans into 3-inch (7.5 cm.) lengths
  • 2 medium Cucumber, Kirby variety preferred, quarter lengthwise
  • 6 sprigs Asian basil

For the Garnish

  • ½ cup Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¼ cup Kaffir lime leaves, fold back and pull out veins
  • 12 Dried red chilies

For the Pork

  • ½ lb. (227 g.) Ground pork (coarse), high fat content (approx. 20 %)
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground roasted chili powder,
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground roasted sticky rice
  • 3 Tbsp. Lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Fish sauce (nahm pla)
  • 1 Tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • tsp. Finely minced galangal
  • 2 small Shallots, thinly sliced, about inch (0.3 cm.) thick
  • 2 Tbsp. Chopped scallions
  • 2 Tbsp. Cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Sawleaf herb, thinly sliced across narrow width (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. Roughly chopped mint leaves
  • 1 recipe Cooked sticky rice

Method

  1. In a small sauté pan or wok, heat oil over medium heat to about 350°F (a piece of lemongrass should sizzle immediately when added). Add chilies; cook briefly, 5 to 10 seconds, stirring to ensure even cooking. The chilies should lighten in color, and may puff slightly. Drain on towels. Blanch the lime leaves in the frying oil the same way, cooking until they stop sizzling (15 seconds at most, uneven lighter appearance is normal); drain on towels.
  2. Prepare Laarb: In a large skillet or wok over high heat, stir-fry pork until cooked through. Continue to cook until moisture evaporates, flavors concentrate, and the meat begins to caramelize slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chili powder, roasted rice powder, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, galangal, shallots, scallions, cilantro, sawleaf, and mint; mix well.
  3. Serve warm pork laarb in a bowl, accompanied by the table salad and a small dish of fried lime leaves and chilies. The laarb is eaten with your hands, along with cabbage leaves, with other salad ingredients and garnishes.

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