Laab from Shalee:
5 sprigs sliced cilantro
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 sliced green onion, optional
1/4 tablespoon ground dried chili pepper
1/2 lbs ground pork
1/4 thinly sliced shallots
3 sprigs spearmint, optional
1 tablespoon toasted rice
Tips and Techniques
Substitute any ground meat for ground pork.
Substitute red onion or just onion for shallot if you like.
The spearmint adds zing to the laab.
For this dish, many people use a small pot but I use my cast iron pan. I can heat it up really hot without destroying the pan. It also retains heat well and heats evenly.
Squeeze juice from 1/3 of the lime on to the ground pork. Mix well and let it marinate for just a couple of minutes until you are ready to cook it.
Heat up a pan on high until it is very hot. Add two tablespoons of water and then immediately add your marinated pork and stir. The pork will stick to the pan at first, but then the juice will come out and the meat will loosen from the bottom. Keep stirring until the pork is well done. Traditionally, the pork is undercooked, but I do not recommend undercooking pork for health reasons.
Put the pork in a bowl a large mixing bowl that will hold all the ingredients. Add fish sauce, green onion, shallot, cilantro, the rest of the lime juice, ground chili pepper and almost all of toasted rice into the bowl. Save some toasted rice to sprinkle on top for garnish. Mix well and taste. It should be a little bit hot. You should be able to taste tartness from the lime juice and the fish sauce. If you need to add more fish sauce or lime juice, don't be afraid. Getting the flavor balance right is a trial and error process.
Put the mixed ingredients in a serving bowl, garnish with spearmint and sprinkle the rest of the toasted rice on top. Serve with vegetables like cabbage, green beans, lettuce and Thai basil.