This is my interpretation of the Thai dish, larp (or larb, or laab) moo. Larps are minced meat salads, often fearsomely spicy and one of my favourite things to eat. They are very easy to cook and they are fantastic in summer, as they offer something more substantial to eat than a salad but they are not heavy or stodgy.
I originally came across this ‘recipe’ in a local free newspaper. The scrap of paper has long since disappeared and the dish is now produced by gut feeling alone. My dad swears that a mixture of pork and turkey minces (50-50) is essential, but I quite like 100% pork. Chicken also works well. But, as with so much of this dish, you should choose what you fancy …
Begin by finely chopping a large onion (use a red onion if you prefer a milder flavour) and placing it in your serving bowl.
Heat some oil in a wok and fry your mince: add the mince to the oil in small batches so you can make sure it’s cooked thoroughly and break up any clumps easily. As the mince is cooking, add finely chopped garlic (to taste – to 500g of pork mince I use about 3-4 cloves of garlic), finely chopped ginger (about a thumb sized piece).
Once you’ve got all the pork in the wok and cooking is well underway, add chilli flakes to taste (for a mild, building heat I find that a generous teaspoon does the trick), finely sliced lemongrass (about a tablespoon, maybe a little more) and finish with a good splash of fish sauce. If you had kaffir lime leaves to hand they would, finely sliced, make an excellent addition. Taste the mixture – you may find you need to add some salt … or some more chilli!
Tip the hot pork on to to the onion and stir well. When you’re ready to eat, mix through a ton of finely chopped fresh coriander. Again, here you might like to use some combination of coriander, basil or even some mint.
This should all take about the time it takes to cook some rice – so the timing works out nicely.
Serve the larp with plain rice and perhaps some salad: a little cucumber and lettuce offsets the spiciness well.