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Authentic Thai Pork Larb Recipe

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This authentic Thai pork larb recipe is quick and easy to make, packed with authentic Isan flavors. This northeastern Thai salad is made from ground pork perfectly seasoned with herbs and spices, topped with the best dressing ever. Serve with Thai sticky rice for a healthy lunch or light dinner.

Thai pork larb served with fresh vegetables and Thai sticky rice.

Many of my Thai larb recipes are incredibly easy to make, and you can simply swap out the protein in each recipe to achieve a completely different flavor. For instance, I have a recipe for larb gai salad with chicken, Thai green beef larb, and even a larb ped recipe with duck. Be sure to take a look through my collection of Thai salad recipes after trying this recipe!

I’d love to tell you more about this larb pork salad, but if you’d rather skip straight to the recipe, feel free to scroll down!

What is larb

Larb is a classic Thai salad from Isan, Northeastern Thailand, made with ground meat (often pork, beef, or chicken) mixed with herbs and spices, and often toasted rice powder. This Thai cuisine staple balances salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.


In Thailand, it is pronounced as “laab” or “laap” (ลาบ).

Thai pork larb recipe

Thai cuisine just wouldn’t be complete without all those delicious spicy salads, and Thai pork larb is one of my all-time favorites! In this recipe, we mix pork with red pepper flakes, toasted rice powder, and plenty of fresh herbs for a healthy Thai salad that’s perfect any time of the day.

It’s a classic dish that tastes so much better when homemade. With this recipe, you’ll prepare a version that’s way better than takeout and Thai restaurants. It’s an easy pork larb recipe with a tasty salad sauce that’s tangy, sweet, spicy, and salty, all in one meaty dish.

You’ll love how healthy this ground pork salad (laab moo) is – it’s low in calories, low-carb, and filled with protein! Oh, and did I mention how easy it is to make larb pork? It’s perfect for meal prep as you can make everything ahead of time and toss it when you’re ready.

It’s also great as a lunch option and perfect as a light dinner with rice. It’s truly the perfect dish for busy weeknights!

Close-up of Thai larb moo with shallots and fresh herbs.

Have I almost convinced you to try this recipe? Well, here’s my favorite way to enjoy larb: as a filling for Thai lettuce wraps. These wraps are perfect as a Thai appetizer for any party, adding a crispy layer and refreshing taste that’s so delicious!

Thai woman enjoying a plate of larb salad.

If you can’t get enough of larb recipes, just like me, then here are some more tasty options you’ll love: fried chicken larb for a crispy twist, mushroom larb recipe for vegetable lovers, and shrimp larb recipe for those who like seafood!

Thai cooking

If you try this recipe, feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste. A very important element of Thai cooking is balancing the flavors, as everyone has a different taste preference.

In our Thai restaurant, we tasted dishes multiple times before serving them. The measurements in my authentic Thai recipes are always to be used as guidelines.

When it comes to making Thai larb and Thai food in general, it’s important to make it taste right for you. Taste and adjust as you go!

Close-up of authentic Thai pork salad served in a white dish.

Before we take a look at the ingredients for larb, let me share a bit about the cuisine where this salad originated.

Isan cuisine

Isan is the region in the northeastern part of Thailand bordering Laos. Spicy Thai salads are a daily staple in Laos and Isan, often paired with Thai sticky rice.

Mekong River, the bridge between Thailand and Laos.
Mekong River, the bridge between Thailand and Laos.

We love fresh salads, and we have even have our own version of Thai papaya salad, called som tam pla ra. It’s prepared with pungent fermented fish sauce, a daily ingredient in Isan.

We also adore Thai raw beef salad (raw larb, koi neua), which may sound unusual to some, but here it’s quite normal. Isan cuisine is known for its bold, spicy flavors and love for fresh ingredients like vegetables and spices.

Pork larb salad is another staple in the region, often found at street food markets or food stalls by the roadside.

Bird's eye view of Thai pork larb salad with fresh vegetables and Thai sticky rice.

I was born in the Northeast of Thailand, so I can tell you a lot more about this rural region. Be sure to check out my post on Issan Thai food recipes for more fun information and unique local insights!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for Thai pork larb recipe: ground pork, toasted rice powder, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, white sugar, shallots, culantro, green onions, coriander, lime, and mint.
  • Ground pork – When ordering larb salad in Thailand, it typically comes with minced pork or beef. But if pork isn’t your preference, you have plenty of options. You can substitute it with shrimp, chicken, duck, or tofu.
  • Toasted rice powder – Toasted glutinous rice, or khao khua, is made by dry roasting glutinous rice in a pan and then crushing it with a mortar and pestle. It adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the salad that’s simply irreplacable. You can make it yourself using my recipe for toasted rice powder, or get it online at Amazon.
  • Thai chili flakes – Thai larb typically has Thai chili flakes (prik bon) to enhance its flavor and add spice. Alternatively, you can opt for fresh chilies such as Thai chilies, serrano, or jalapeños. Dried chilies are recommended
  • Fish sauceFish sauce, made from fermented fish and salt, is the key ingredients in many Thai dishes. It provides a unique, essential umami and salty flavor to the salad.
  • White sugar – In Thai cuisine, sugar is often used to balance the spicy and salty flavors. If your larb is too spicy, try adding a bit more sugar. Avoid brown sugar and palm sugar for this recipe.
  • Shallots – Thai shallots are preffered. Shallots are substitutable for red onions if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Culantro – Don’t mistake this herb for cilantro. Culantro has long, spiky leaves with a more intense flavor. It’s commonly used in Thai cooking and Southeast Asian cuisine for its fresh, herbal notes.
  • Green onions, coriander, lime, mint – Feel free to adjust the amount of fresh herbs in this authentic pork larb recipe to suit your taste.

How to make pork laab recipe

Pro tip: You can make larb dry or saucy, and it’s great both ways. If you’re a fan of the dry kind like me, go for ground meat with a bit of fat in it. For a dish with lots of dressing, stir in 3 tablespoons of water when you’re cooking the ground pork.

Fresh herbs, shallots, and lime prepared in a bamboo dish.

Step 1: Chop the green onions, finely slice the shallots, and cut the lemon.

Ground pork cooked in a pan.

Step 2: Place a pot or pan over low heat. Add the ground pork and cook without any oil until it’s done. For a saucy dressing, add 3 tablespoons of water.

Cooked ground pork in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Transfer your cooked pork to a mixing bowl. Another option is to toss the salad straight in your cooking pot, which is often done by street vendors in Thailand.

Seasoned ground pork in a mixing bowl.

Step 4: Add fish sauce, toasted rice powder, sugar, red pepper flakes, and lime juice. Toss well to mix.

Thai pork larb ready in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

Step 5: Gently mix in the shallots, culantro, green onions, mint, and coriander. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kitchenware

Here’s what you need to make this larb recipe:

  1. Mortar and pestle, food processor, or spice grinder (for grinding the toasted rice powder and Thai chili flakes)
  2. Measuring spoons and cups
  3. Cutting board and a sharp knife
  4. Frying pan (for cooking pork)
  5. Mixing bowl
  6. Spoon for tossing and stirring

Larb moo recipe tips and tricks

  • Saucy dressing: Add 3 tablespoons of water while cooking the pork if you prefer lots of dressing.
  • Less cleanup: Cook your pork in a small pot or saucepan. Once it’s done, take it off the heat and mix in the dressing and fresh herbs in the same pot.
  • Fatty pork: Go for high-quality ground pork that has a bit of fat to it. This adds flavor and juiciness.
  • No oil: Authentic pork larb is made without oil, relying solely on the meat’s natural fats during cooking.

Authentic pork larb serving suggestions

In Thailand, larb is enjoyed for dinner or lunch, often with a side of steamed jasmine rice or Thai sticky rice. Feel free to garnish your final dish with fresh herbs, some fresh lime juice, and more red pepper flakes.

You can add a variety of fresh vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, yard long beans, Thai eggplants, or others. You can also spoon the larb onto crunchy lettuce leaves and enjoy them as lettuce wraps. Feel free to pair this with one of my other Thai salads like nam tok moo, crying tiger steak, and som tum Thai.

How to store and reheat

Thai pork larb tastes best when eaten fresh. The toasted rice powder in it thickens and soaks up flavors over time, which is why it’s perfect on the day it’s made.

Storing: If you have leftovers, put them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. They’ll stay good for 2 to 3 days.

Reheating: For reheating, you can eat larb moo cold, or warm it up slowly in a pan on low heat.

Frequently asked questions

What is pork larb made of?

Pork larb is a Thai salad made with ground pork, fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, chili, and toasted rice powder for crunch and flavor.

How to eat larb?

Eat larb with fresh or steamed vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, and yard long beans. It pairs well with sticky rice or white rice and is great for lunch or dinner.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this salad recipe is gluten-free, but make sure to double-check the labeling of your store-bought ingredients like fish sauce.

Authentic Thai salad recipes

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Authentic Thai Pork Larb Recipe

Close-up of authentic Thai pork salad served in a white dish.
This authentic Thai pork larb recipe comes together in 15 minutes with the best of Thai flavors.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course, Salad
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons water optional
  • 1.5 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted rice powder (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon red chili flakes to taste
  • 1 lime
  • 50 grams shallots finely chopped
  • 5 leaves of culantro finely chopped
  • 5 green onions finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup mint
  • 1/2 handful of coriander

Instructions

  • Chop the green onions, finely slice the shallots, and cut the lemon.
  • Place a pot or pan over low heat. Add the pork and cook without any oil until it’s done. For a saucy dressing, add 3 tablespoons of water.
  • Transfer your cooked pork to a mixing bowl. Another option is to toss the salad in your pot, which is often done by street vendors in Thailand.
  • Add the fish sauce, toasted rice powder, sugar, red pepper flakes, and lime juice. Toss well to mix.
  • Gently mix in the shallots, culantro, green onions, mint, and coriander. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Toasted rice powder - You can make it yourself using my recipe for toasted rice powder, or get it online at Amazon.
  • For variations, try beef, chicken, or shrimp.
  • Pair with sticky rice and fresh vegetables for a complete meal.

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