What is Laab?
This is a very versatile dish, you can make a main meal from it or use it as a meat salad.
Traditionally it is made with minced or ground chicken (Laab Gai) or pork (Laab Moo) meat and you may find ground liver incorporated within.
It can be made from various meats or even a vegetable. The aromatic flavors enhance the senses with a bit of garlic, just a hint or more if you like of chili pepper, lime, the salty tickle of fish sauce and some herbs really make this dish ‘pop’!
You can eat this with rice, noodles, or wrap it up in lettuce, cabbage or put it in spring rolls. So many options to eat with. One of my favorite is having a small gathering, and set the serving table and let your guests make their own wraps. Kind of the Asian version of making your own tacos. The plethora of a smorgasbord in your mouth!
All the textures, flavors, aromas of each of the ingredients satisfy your palate as well as all your other senses. It is easy to make, easy to serve, less clean up for you, and your guest can indulge in the simple pleasures experiencing and experimenting with eat bite!
If you like it hot and spicy, you can make this as hot and spicy as you want. If you like a milder, toned down version, easily accomplished. If you don’t want meat, no problem, you make the wraps as you want.
Let me set the table for you, your friends are coming over and you want to ‘wow’ them with your creation. It may or may not be something they are familiar with, and if they are, they will love it!
Envision this on your table:
A large platter beautifully arrange with your Laab, in the middle of your table, then just to the left is a medium size bowl of rice with a few thinly sliced green onions sprinkled on top, then on the right of the platter is another bowl with white rice noodles gleaming with seasoned oils beckoning you.
Then off to the left is a huge bowl or platter with lettuce leaves, such as romaine, bib lettuce, cabbage leaves. In the front of these 4 offering are the various sides of colorful vegetable dishes smiling at you. Then you look in front of all this you see all the seasoned sauces, yes there three of them. One is the salty, vinegary hot spicy fresh hot pepper sauce, then the regular red spicy sauce and wait there’s one more…this is a sweet chili sauce with just a bite of spicy. Are you hungry yet? I am!
Most people think it is Thai, however, it originated in Laos. Thailand has their own version of Larb. Several Asian countries share this dish. Here are some example of how it may be spelled, Laab, Larb, Lap, Laap, Larp, Lahb depending upon what country it may be. Laab is a minced/ground meat dish, considered a salad and the national dish of Laos. Thailand is also known for this dish due to the influx of people from Laos and of Laotian decent in Thailand. Most always Thai restaurants serve this dish, not many Laotian restaurants around to check out.
Laab is so tasty, it can be made from various meats, such as pork, chicken, turkey, beef, duck, veal, seafood/fish or vegetarian with mushrooms. I have an alternative for meat in this dish that any vegan can enjoy.
The primary ingredients are meat, lime, chili, garlic, fish sauce, roasted ground rice and herbs that are blended together to make a scrumptious meal. Let’s eat!