Larb, alternatively spelt as larp, lap, laab or laap, is a meat salad which is popular in Laos and northeast Thailand. The dish is considered to be the national dish of Laos and is prepared in almost every household. Pork, beef and chicken meat are the major ingredients of the Larb salad.
Origin of Laab
The larb recipe is said to have originated in Laos. One of the famous dishes of Laos, it has made its place in various cook books under the name Laotian style salad, apart from its regular name, ‘Larb’. Traditionally, the dish was prepared for lunch in the morning itself and was carried by the farmers.
Larp: Method of Preparation
The ingredients required by Larb recipe are chicken, uncooked sticky rice, peanuts, onion, lime leaves, greens, mint and basil. The shallots, chicken and lime leaf are cooked in oil and fish sauce is added to it. Once the chicken is stir-fried, it is transferred to a bowl containing other ingredients. A dressing is prepared separately by mixing fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper and red chili. Once mixed, the seasoning is poured over the chicken in the bowl and mixed. The laab is then garnished with cashews, peanuts or roasted rice and served.
Variations: Larb Recipe
Larb is prepared in many different ways. The choice of meat can differ as some people make it using pork, while some use chicken or beef for its preparation. Duck, catfish, prawns are also used at some places. Meat used for making larb can either be raw or in cooked form. The choice of vegetables can vary. Japanese rice adds flavor to the dish; however, it is sometimes substituted with pecans, cashews and roasted regular rice. Spearmint is also added at times to enhance the flavor of laab. In several places in North Thailand, local flavorings are used instead of fish sauce. Some of the popular Larb variations are:
- Larb pla- A laap preparation done with minced fish and spices.
- Lu- A Thai Laab prepared with crushed raw pork or beef mixed with spices, blood and bile. This dish is usually accompanied with vegetables and beer.
- Nam tok- It is a popular dish of Thailand and a variation of larb. This dish makes use of sliced beef and is called ping sin nam tok in Laos. When pork is used in the same dish, it is known as munam tok.
- Kangaroo Larb- A popular Australian salad prepared with kangaroo fillets, fish sauce, lime juice and toasted rice.
Laab is usually served at room temperature as it is eaten as part of a dish containing sticky rice and papaya. String beans, cabbage, Thai holy basil( also known as bai kraphao) and water spinach are the foods that are served as accompaniments to Larb. The dish can be eaten as an appetizer or a main course during lunch and dinner.