The Proper Pork Larb

Sarah Tiong teaches us how to make authentic thai Proper Pork Larb. This Proper Pork Larb has a hint of sweetness packed with the savoury nuttiness of glutinous rice and pork. This recipe is courtesy of Sarah’s new book, Sweet Savory Spicy: : Exciting Street Market Food from Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and More .

What is Pork Larb?

Larb is a traditional Thai salad made with ground pork flavored with fish sauce, red pepper, limes and tossed with the addition of fresh herbs.

Larb can be made with other meats such as chicken, beef or fish. This is a simple dish that can be made to share.

What makes this recipe so unique?

  • Many pork larb recipes found on the internet today are missing one secret special ingredient: toasted glutinous rice!
  • Glutinous rice or thai sticky rice adds a nutty, roundness and depth to the dish.
  • Fresh basil and mint add brightness and freshness to this traditional pork larb

What is Glutinous Rice?

Glutinous rice also called sticky ricesweet rice or waxy rice, is a type of rice grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia, Northeastern India and Bhuta.

Because of the extra gluten found in this rice, when cooked it becomes very very sticky. Glutinous rice is often blended to create a rice flour for many recipes. Some common recipes that use this sticky rice are Thai Sticky Rice Puddings.

You can find Glutinous Rice or Thai Sticky Rice in most grocery stores in the ethnic food section or find it online below!

Ingredients

  • Thai Glutinous Rice 
  • Pork
  • Fish Sauce
  • Onions, Garlic
  • Spices like red pepper flakes
  • Fresh herbs like basil and mint!
  • See full list below!

Find this recipe in the Sweet, Savory, Spicy: Exciting Street Market Food from Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and More Cookbook

Experience the Taste of Southeast Asia, Right in Your Own Kitchen

Explore the street food stalls, night markets and hawker centers of Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and more without ever leaving home thanks to chef and Masterchef Australia finalist Sarah Tiong’s satisfying Southeast Asian recipes.

Sarah opens up a fantastic world of flavor to try, from Malaysian Chicken Satay to Vietnamese Crispy Spring Rolls (Cha giò) to Hokkien Noodles (Hokkien Mee) to Khmer Beef Curry. These hearty snacks, barbeque bites and shared plates encompass the most popular street foods of Southeast Asia, gleaned from her Malaysian family recipes and her own travels throughout the region. And in Sarah’s opinion, the secret to incredible Southeast Asian food is all in the sauce, so she also shares an entire chapter of sweet, savory, salty, and spicy options to top off your meal, including Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (Nam Jim Gai), Creamy Malaysian Peanut Sauce and family secrets like her Mum’s “Everything” Sauce.

5 from 2 votes
The Proper Pork Larb

Reprinted with permission from Sweet, Savory, Spicy by Sarah Tiong, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Ben Cole

Servings: 4 people
Author: Sarah Tiong
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp uncooked Thai Glutinous Rice
  • 4 to 5 tbsp rice bran, canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large red Asian shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • t tsp sugar
  • t tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 medium lemons juiced
  • 3 spring onions thinly sliced
  • 20 fresh basil leaves , see tips divided
  • 15 fresh mint leaves
Serving Suggestions
  • pork crackling
  • lime wedges
  • glutinous or steamed rice
Instructions
  1. To make the pork larb, toast the Thai glutinous rice in a dry, medium skillet over medium heat until it is a deep gold color, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir rice frequently to avoid burning.

  2. Allow the rice to cool until safe to handle, 5 to 10 minutes, before grinding it into a powder using a mortar and pestle, food processor, or spice grinder. Set the rice powder aside.

  3. Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat until oil starts smoking. Add shallots and garlic; fry until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Crumble in the ground pork and stir-fry until no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes.

  5. Add red pepper flakes, sugar and fish sauce to pork. Stir-fry mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the lime juice, rice powder, and spring onions. Mix well and turn off the heat.

  6. Allow the larb to cool for 3 to 4 minutes, then add 10 of the basil leaves and 7 of the mint leaves. Stir the larb to combine the ingredients.

  7. To serve: Top larb with the remaining 10 basil and mint leaves, pork crackling, lime wedges, and glutinous or steamed rice.

Recipe Notes

Tips: You can trade the ground pork for ground chicken, veal or beef.

You can use any type of basil you like in this recipe.

The toasted rice powder can be kept in an air-tight container, out of the fridge, for 2 to 3weeks