Suzy and I have been accused of never cooking the same thing twice. We will bump fists over a particularly good meal, and then daughter Emma will point out that she will probably never get to enjoy it again.
There’s some truth to that, because to us the exploration is part of the fun. But I’m about to introduce you to an outlier: Larb is a dish we have made over and over, and we have no intention of moving on.
What makes this Thai dish so special? It’s healthy. It’s easy. It tastes great. It’s spicy (if you want it to be). You get to eat it with your hands. It checks a lot of boxes for me.
The recipe has a bit of chopping to it, but that’s about as difficult as it gets. You’ll brown some ground chicken (or pork works well too) with garlic and shallots, then throw in a quick sauce and a bunch of herbs, and you’re done.
You’ll end up with a tasty meal loaded with fresh ingredients, and you’ll want to make it again and again.
2 pounds ground pork
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small shallots, minced
1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced, plus sliced jalapeño for garnish
Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
2 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Sriracha or other Asian hot sauce, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp. oil
1⁄2 C. chopped cilantro
1⁄2 C. chopped mint
1⁄2 C. chopped Thai basil or regular basil
4 scallions, sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 C. chopped salted peanuts
1 large head Boston or other leafy lettuce, separated into leaves
Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Add the garlic, shallots and minced jalapeño and stir it into the pork. Continue to cook the pork, stirring occasionally, until there is no pink meat visible, about 6-8 minutes. Put the mixture into a large bowl.
Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of hot sauce. Stir the lime juice mixture into the pork and let stand for about 15 minutes. Stir in the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Top with the scallions and sliced jalapeños. Serve with lime wedges, peanuts, hot sauce and lettuce for wrapping. Let everyone make their own lettuce cups with a squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of peanuts and a dab of hot sauce, if desired.