Larb is a salad with ground or minced meat and vegetables originating in Laos. It has a savoury, sweet element and is perfect light lunch or dinner.
Why this recipe is amazing
Flavour & texture: The vibrant colours pull you in but the fresh, zesty and flavour punch keeps you forever. This is my ideal warm-weather lunch or dinner, served with my naan bread of course! This meat salad has crunch from the cucumbers and water chestnuts, zing from the lime juice, sweetness from the hoisin marinade and a little heat if you like.
Difficulty: 1/10. It is so flipping easy. Fry the meat, cook the noodles and toss it all together.
Time: Quick! 25 minutes and you’ll be done. It’s seriously, so good!
Versatility: Yes! Use either beef, pork, turkey or chicken. Play around with your own levels of sweetness, and spiciness. Add more veggies, you do you!
What ingredients are needed for Larb.
Meat: This recipe is super versatile. I usually use pork mince but chicken, beef and turkey can also work. It’s a great way to add protein to your diet.
Ginger & Garlic: Flavour flavour flavour! These guys a going to give you a huge hit, don’t go easy on either.
Hoisin sauce: A thick, slightly sweet and fragrant sauce commonly used in Cantonese and Vietnamese cuisine. This sauce adds flavours from Chinese five spice (star anise, cinnamon, clove, fennel and Szechuan pepper) while also adding sweetness.
Coriander/cilantro: Fresh herbs add freshness and a little extra brightness to the dish.
Toasted shredded coconut (unsweetened): Long slivers of coconut as toasted in a pan to add a tropical sweet flavour but also a wonderful crunchy element.
Lime juice: Tanginess cuts through the richness of the hoisin and fat from the meat. It adds vibrancy and freshness to your mouth in each bite. You can sub for lemon if needed but lime is better.
Fish sauce: This sauce adds a salty umami flavour. It is recommended but you may omit for soy or tamari if necessary but it will change the flavour slightly.
Cos/romaine lettuce: Adds a nice crunch to the salad. Either slice up, cut into wedges or keep as whole leaves to use as cups for the larb.
Water chestnuts: A sliced vegetable that has a crisp texture, almost like an apple or coconut. The flavour is very plain but slightly nutty. They are very nutritious and full of fibre. Usually found in the canned vegetable section.
Chilli: I prefer to use fresh red chilli. You can use as little or as much as you’d prefer. This dish is very fresh and light, therefore lends nicely to a little spice.
Cucumber: Cooling, crunchy and light. You may sense a theme. This recipe is all about the light, bright and crunchy ingredients. Try scooping out the seeds to help keep the cucumber firmer and less waterlogged.
Rice noodles: A great way to bulk up this recipes and make larger portions. Rice Vermicelli helps fill you up a little more and carries the sauce in each bite.
How to make Larb
- Cook noodles: Place a medium saucepan over high heat. Half fill with water and bring to a boil. Turn off and add the vermicelli noodles. Let sit for 5 minutes or until softened.
- Prepare the meat: Place mince, garlic, ginger, coriander, hoisin sauce and zest in a bowl, and mix to combine.
- Toast coconut: In an empty non-stick fry pan over medium-low heat, add coconut and continuously stir for 3-5 minutes or until toasty brown. Transfer to a plate.
- Cook Meat: Return pan to medium-high heat and add beef mixture and cook until browned. Break up any lumps and add the water chestnuts.
- Add the sauce: Add fish sauce, lime juice and ½ cup of coconut. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
- Prepare the flatbread and toast to warm.
- Bring it all together: On an extra large plate, place noodles and lettuce. Spoon over mince mixture and top with cucumber, chilli, coriander/cilantro and remaining coconut. Serve drizzled with extra hoisin sauce.
Setting you up for success – Tips, Tricks & FAQs for Larb
- How long can Larb last? is best served immediately while the salad is fresh, crunchy and vibrant. It is best eaten within 1-2 days. If you think you can’t eat it all, keep the lettuce and cucumber separate from the other ingredients as it will go soggy and brown. This also means you can reheat the other meat, sauce and noodle in the microwave without cooking the salads. Simply combine them when you want to eat and toss them together.
- Do I have to use Pork? This recipe is super versatile. I usually use pork mince but chicken, beef and turkey can also work. It’s a great way to add protein to your diet.
- Can you freeze Larb? No, As this is a salad it isn’t possible to freeze. The meat and sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
What to Serve with Larb
Larb: Crunchy Asian Chopped Meat Salad
- 200 g (7.05 oz) rice noodles thin
- 500 g (1 lb) ground beef, pork or chicken
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ⅓ cup hoisin sauce plus extra to serve
- ¼ cup fresh coriander/cilantro chopped
- 1 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
- 1 lime zested & juiced
- 1½ tbsp (2 tbsp) fish sauce
- 1 small cos/romaine lettuce chopped
- ½ cup water chestnuts chopped
- 1-2 red chilli thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber sliced diagonally
- naan bread
- fresh coriander
- lime juice
- Place a medium saucepan over high heat. Half fill with water and bring to boil. Turn off and add the vermicelli noodles. Let sit for 5 minutes or until softened.
- Place mince, garlic, ginger, coriander, hoisin sauce and zest in a bowl, mix to combine.
- Toast coconut in an empty non-stick fry pan over medium low heat and continuously stir for 3-5 minutes or until toasty brown. Transfer to a plate.
- Return pan to medium high heat and add beef mixture and cook until browned. Break up any lumps and add the water chestnuts.
- Add fish sauce, lime juice and ½ cup of coconut. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
- Prepare the flatbread and toast to warm.
- On an extra large plate, place noodles and lettuce. Spoon over mince mixture and top with cucumber, chilli, coriander/cilantro and remaining coconut. Serve drizzled with extra hoisin sauce.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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