Larb

Larb
Staff Writer
Larb
Jane Bruce

Larb

I had the great fortune of living right next to Thai Town when I used to call Los Angeles home. There was a restaurant that served amazing drunk food called Hollywood Thai. With a name like that, one probably wouldn't expect much. We are, after all, talking about drunk food, and a place that serves beer — ahem, "tea" — surreptitiously in teapots after 2 a.m., when all other bars have closed by law in the city of angels.

One of my favorite dishes there was a traditional northeastern Thai dish from the region of Chiang Mai called larb (also spelled laab). It's a "salad" in the sense that it comes with a wedge of cabbage. What you're supposed to do with this cabbage isn't apparent at first until someone at the table puts two and two together and breaks off a leaf of cabbage and uses it as a spoon.

Commonly found at many Thai restaurants worth visiting, I swore by Hollywood Thai's rendition of the dish, which was inexplicably addictive. Well, perhaps not inexplicable — my version here is missing the key ingredient, MSG.

See all beef recipes.

Click here to see Bountiful Basil Recipes.

4
Servings
485
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound ground beef
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 Cup Jasmine or short-grain rice
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 Cup loosely packed basil, torn
  • 1/4 Cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
  • 3 dried Thai bird's-eye chiles
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cut into 3 wedges, for serving

Directions

In a bowl, combine the ground beef and lime juice. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and toast until golden, tossing occasionally to make sure it colors evenly. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature.

Heat the same skillet over high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the oil, and when hot, add the beef. Cook until browned completely, about 5-7 minutes. Drain in a colander and reserve any juices. Transfer the beef to a medium-sized bowl.

Place the rice in a coffee grinder and grind until it resembles fine cornmeal. Sprinkle the toasted rice powder over the beef and combine with the basil, cilantro, fish sauce, scallion, and chiles. If it looks a little dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Serve with the cabbage wedges.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
29g
41%
Saturated Fat
7g
29%
Cholesterol
103mg
34%
Carbohydrate, by difference
12g
9%
Protein
43g
93%
Vitamin A, RAE
14µg
2%
Vitamin B-12
4µg
100%
Calcium, Ca
13mg
1%
Choline, total
3mg
1%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Folate, total
15µg
4%
Iron, Fe
4mg
22%
Magnesium, Mg
48mg
15%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
6mg
43%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
483mg
69%
Selenium, Se
21µg
38%
Sodium, Na
153mg
10%
Water
73g
3%
Zinc, Zn
7mg
88%