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Dommy vs. PF… Larb Lettuce Wraps…

Dommy Mar 26, 2008 06:11 PM

*peeks in and looks around*

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here… and I hope it’s okay if I just shout to the heavens… Spring!!!! Spring is here!!! Time to put the stock pot and dutch oven away and to break out the salad bowl and grill!!

And for our first fresh spring meal… I nominate Larb!!

Larb… it even sounds springy doesn’t it?! If you haven’t had it before, basically it’s considered a meat salad. It’s originally a Laotian dish… although you see it Thai restaurants. Most importantly though, Larb makes the BEST filling for lettuce wraps because the meat is infused with this lovely tangy dressing… I use an OLD recipe from Martin Yan to make my Larb… It’s super simple and once you try, I think you’ll go PF who?

So first off… we make the dressing… start with the green… chop up some scallions, mint and cilantro…


Add a bit of sugar and then squeeze in some lime juice and a pour of fish sauce (A MUST!). This is the fish sauce I use…


And I use it all over the place… soups, salad dressings, marinades… It’s surprisingly not fishy… just complex… adds just enough salt… Again… Fish Sauce = the yummiest larb…

And so, now with our dressing done… time to get to the meat… Now, my favorite larb is actually made with Ground Chicken… Ground chicken just SOAKS up the dressing and adds great texture to the overall lettuce wrap. But for this go around, I had some extra fresh ground beef (you’ll see why in a future post)

And so sprinkle some salt on the ground meat and then brown. To cut away some of the beefiness, I add some veggies (I had some thin Asaparagus here, although Chinese Long Beans always work EXCELLENT in this) also some re-hydrated woods ear mushrooms…


Drain the beef well and before adding the dressing… I have one more thing to add… I took a little bit of rice and toasted it in oil… Then ground it up and added to the beef mixture when it was done and drained. This helps add a toastiness to the larb, as well as additional texture for the dressing to hold on.


And now, while still warm (Not terribly hot) add the salad dressing and mix well…

Before serving, be sure to have plenty of freshly separated and washed lettuce leaves.


And then have fun rolling!!


Yum! Yes, fresh and tasty… and I think a total winner for Spring… but the final judge of course, will be you!


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  1. MMRuth RE: Dommy Mar 26, 2008 06:17 PM

    Hi Dommy! We're still here. That sounds wonderful - I'll have to pull out HSSS.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth
      oakjoan RE: MMRuth Mar 26, 2008 09:19 PM

      Gee, I was thinking of a title for this post with pix and somehow "Dommy Does Larb" seemed a little off.....

      Do you actually LIKE anything at PF Changs'? We were actually treated to dinner there about a month ago and found it pretty blah. It's doubly disappointing because all the names of the dishes are appealing and you get your hopes up.

      I haven't made larb OR regular lettuce wraps in more than a year. Will have to revive it very soon!

      Hmm, I wonder if Bittman's international cookbook has a larb recipe.....

      1. re: oakjoan
        alkapal RE: oakjoan Mar 26, 2008 09:28 PM

        this looks pretty close to the real thing!

        or this:

        or add lemongrass: http://www.asianonlinerecipes.com/onl...

        i love larb. made it at home once with pork, but it was quite porky. i think chicken is best.

        1. re: oakjoan
          Mattapoisett in LA RE: oakjoan Mar 26, 2008 09:55 PM

          I think this came from on of my Yan Can Cook books that Dommy! used. The title of the recipe does not say its Larb but we both looked at it and realized that's what it was.

          take care

          - P.

      2. toodie jane RE: Dommy Mar 27, 2008 09:57 AM

        oh my gosh, I just spent 15 minutes on your flicker photostream. You know how to eat!

        1. Will Owen RE: Dommy Mar 27, 2008 12:29 PM

          Dommy, I think you've really come through again, in more ways than one. T. and I have both been trying to lose some weight, and she's actually gotten into an exercise program with some dietary instructions attached, including a hard-and-fast No Carbs After 3 PM rule. My own "program" consists of cooking this kind of thing and eating it with her, and I tell you it's REAL hard to find interesting meals along those lines. This looks like just what we're looking for, though I'll have to leave out the rice.


          10 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen
            aelph RE: Will Owen Mar 27, 2008 06:05 PM

            Integral to laab or larb or larp is the addition of roasted(not oil-fried as it appears in the op's pics) ground jasmine rice. The rice gives the chicken or beef or pork neck laab it's characteristic ephemeral texture.

            1. re: aelph
              pilinut RE: aelph Mar 27, 2008 10:32 PM

              I saw some very finely ground roasted rice at Ranch 99, here in the Bay Area. Would that work?

              1. re: pilinut
                rabaja RE: pilinut Mar 28, 2008 09:05 AM

                That's what I use when I don't feel like making my own. It adds so much mouth feel to the meat and you're not really using that much either. The fish sauce and toasted rice powder seem pretty key to good larb. And lots and lots of herbs and chilies! And peanuts...

                1. re: pilinut
                  aelph RE: pilinut Mar 28, 2008 09:53 AM

                  I've never seen that, but I bet it would be fine.

                2. re: aelph
                  Sharuf RE: aelph Mar 27, 2008 11:24 PM

                  Is the rice cooked or raw?

                  1. re: Sharuf
                    aelph RE: Sharuf Mar 28, 2008 09:53 AM

                    toast raw rice then grind

                    1. re: aelph
                      asiansensation007 RE: aelph Apr 27, 2008 02:25 PM

                      i just bought some sweet rice flour...would this work instead of pounding my own?

                      1. re: asiansensation007
                        aelph RE: asiansensation007 Apr 27, 2008 02:29 PM

                        no idea if that'll work

                        1. re: asiansensation007
                          rabaja RE: asiansensation007 Apr 27, 2008 04:48 PM

                          I'd taste it first. If it's really sweet, don't use it unless you want lightly sweetened larb. Which may be wierd and distracting.
                          Easy enough to make a little with plain, unsweetened rice.

                          1. re: asiansensation007
                            Sam Fujisaka RE: asiansensation007 Jul 28, 2008 03:17 PM

                            Definitely not.

                  2. chef chicklet RE: Dommy Mar 27, 2008 05:01 PM

                    Thanks for the reminder, you're right, time to make this. I make this similar just call it Thai lettuce wraps, and don't use the roasted rice. Light and tasty.
                    Loved looking at your pictures by the way... great food shots!

                    1. vvvindaloo RE: Dommy Mar 27, 2008 09:44 PM

                      Thanks, Dommy, for another fun post! I am a big fan of larb, and may give this a try- chicken would be my choice, as well.

                      1. Sam Fujisaka RE: Dommy Mar 28, 2008 09:12 AM


                        Just a couple of notes: all of my ground meats for laap are simply and briefly dunked into boiling water and then drained.

                        The uncooked rice is dry toasted and then ground.

                        Always first add a bit if finely chopped tripe to the boiling water, prior to the ground meat--and pull it all out at the same time.

                        And what happened to the tons of finely chopped chiles?

                        Wraps are good; but I like serving with a platter with a variety greens--mint, cilantro, cabbage, lettuces, newly emerged coffee and mango leaves...

                        1. t
                          torty RE: Dommy Mar 28, 2008 10:27 PM

                          Looks great. I like to use the coursly ground extra lean (I know this is supposed to traditionally be a fatty cut- but health issues govern) pork that Farmer John markets.

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