Saturday 21 February 2015

Beef Larb Gai (Thai meat salad)

I dream of taking a gastronomic tour of Thailand at some point.  Thai food has such a beautiful balance of flavours, fragrance and colours.  It is the kind of food that you don't measure exact quantities for, but rather add more or less based on taste.  That is how I like to cook.

This recipe is loosely based around larb gai, which is usually made with pork mince, but I was in the mood for red meat.  Larb gai is a thai meat salad - yes you heard me right.  Meat. Salad.  Omnomnomnom.  It is meant to be a crunchy meat.  Yumyumyum.  It can be served in a lettuce leaf or on rice, as I chose to do tonight.  Traditional larb gai uses sticky rice in the mix which has been ground into a powder, but I've stuck to various beautiful crunchy veggies from the onion family (shallots and salad onions) for crunch.  The fresh herbs make the dish.  It is healthy and delicious.


  • 500g Minced pork/beef/chicken. I'm going with beef this time around :)
  • 4 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 2 salad onions, diced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly
  • 2 long red chillies, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 6 snow peas, sliced julienne
  • Lime wedges for garnish
  • 1/2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • Pinch or two of brown sugar
  • 10-15 mint leaves
  • 10 - 15 coriander leaves

Potential Spins

Water chestnuts or bean sprouts could both work well as extra sources of crunch in this meal.  Substituting for any other kind of mince would also work.  Tweak according to taste, making sure that the flavours work. 


  1. Prep vegetables.  Put half of the chilli and the lemongrass aside, and toss the remaining vegetables together.
  2. Brown the mince in a large frypan.
  3. Push the mince to one side and add half of the chillies, ginger and garlic.  Fry until fragrant then mix through.
  4. Add lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce and soy sauce and brown sugar and stir through.  Adjust to taste.
  5. Add snowpeas, cook over high heat for 1-2 mins.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir through the fresh herbs and remaining vegetables.
  7. Serve on rice or in a lettuce cup with a wedge of lime for garnish.
    Yummy fresh food.

Our Take Aways

We found this meal fresh and beautiful.  It felt healthy to eat.  Who says healthy food lacks flavour? Definately not me.  I'm keen to try it with chicken mince sometime soon.  Yum. Best enjoyed with a nice fruity white.  Usually I would pair red wine with red meat, but the other flavours in this meal really work with white wine.

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