Pork Laab

This is a northern Thai/Lao dish that I had while I was galavanting through Asia.  While I was working on a nutrition project in the Philippines, I took a vacation and made my way from Singapore, to Malaysia, through Thailand to Laos.  Laab was the dish that stayed with me most of everything I ate on that trip–it is still something that I crave to this day!  When I had it it was served with purple (or black) rice, which is also delicious, but a little hard to find and best made in a traditional steamer.  This recipe is for Laab as a lettuce wrap.  I think the lightness of the lettuce perfectly offsets the heavy pork.

You will need:

1 lb ground pork

1 table spoon vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 small shallots, mined

1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

The juice of 1 lime

1 tbls Fish sauce

1 teas brown sugar

1 teas Garlic Chile sauce

1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 c chopped fresh mint

1/4 c chopped fresh basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 c chopped peanuts

One head of Romaine or Butterhead lettuce

IN a large bowl mix together the pork, garlic, shallots, and minced jalapeño.  In a separate bowl mix together the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and Garlic Chile sauce.

Heat the oil over medium heat for one minute.  Add the pork mixture, stirring constantly, and breaking up the meat for about 5 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through.  Drain off the excess oil.  Let cool for 3 mins.

Add the liquid mixture and the chopped herbs.  Mix together well.  Top with peanuts.

Serve over pieces of lettuce, wrap the lettuce around the meat like a taco and dig in!

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