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How to Make Larb Moo. Spicy Thai Ground Pork Salad

Updated on April 17, 2009

A Video Demo on Larb

Here's a fast an easy recipe for one of Thailand's most beloved dishes, larb moo…or spicy pork salad. This dish originates from Thailand's north east (Isaan) and is traditionally eaten with sticky rice, well garnished with lots of cold vegetables.

There is nothing tricky about this one, and once you're done pounding the pork into submission, the battle's pretty much over!

If you've never tried cooking with the toasted rice powder before, you're going to love it!

Larb Moo

  • 1 lb of pork, a mix or dark and white meat is perfect, as you'd find in a cut of pork shoulder or Boston Butt – but other cuts will work as well
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup of chopped red shallot. You can use red onions or regular cooking onions as a substitute if you don't have shallots (But shallots are great and if you don't have any you should get some!)
  • ½ cup of mint leaves, woody sprigs removed
  • ½ Tbls of dried red chili powder or flakes – with more to taste as needed. This is just a starting point, and the amount you'll add in the end will depend on your love of spice and the heat of the chili you’re using.
  • 2 Tbls of dried rice powder (to make dried rice powder, take some raw rice and toast it in a heavy skillet over medium heat until golden browned. Pop the rice into the b lender and whizz until finely chopped. The rice powder adds a great bit of crunch to this salad, and although you may be tempted to skip this part, its well worth spending the few minutes to make up the rice powder
  • 2-3 Tbls of fish sauce (or more to taste)
  • 3-5 Tbls of fresh key-lime juice
  • A pinch of MSG

Larb Making Instructions

  1. You are looking to have pork that is cut almost to the size of minced pork. You can either finely slice and dice strips of pork, or do it the Thai way, with lots of aggressive cleavering, until your pork pieces have been reduced to a pile of minced-like pork.
  2. Heat a wok or fry pan over medium, and toss in a ¼ cup of water (or so) add in all the pork and stir until cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Most but not all of the water/juices from the pork should have evaporated.
  3. Remove from the heat and add in all remaining ingredients.
  4. Taste and add more chili, fish sauce or lime juice to taste. The dish should be spicy/salty and sour, with a balance between the three flavors.

Serve garnished (if desired) with sliced cucumbers, sprigs of cilantro and sliced wedged of plain old white cabbage. This is beautiful on its own, with either steamed jasmine rice or sticky rice, or as a part of a larger Thai style dinner.


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      Sawadee 6 years ago

      Instead of adding MSG, if you're not watching the calories, add a knob of butter - teaspoon size. Suddenly the dish tastes familiar.

    • profile image

      stessily 6 years ago

      John D Lee: Thank you for sharing this recipe, which is a crowd favorite, from my experience. And thank you also for showing how easy it is to make dried rice powder. I love to add it as a garnish for purees.

    • The Good Cook profile image

      The Good Cook 8 years ago

      I had heard of this before but didn't have a recipe. Now I have no excuse not to try it. Thanks.