pork larb

IMG_0952_thumb.jpgLarb is a classic Thai salad made with minced beef, pork or chicken and vegetables, served in a lettuce cup. The combination of flavourings, mint, coriander (cilantro) and lime, is very refreshing. Freshness and flavour – a perfect meal on a hot day.


Feel free to experiment with the ingredients to suit your taste buds. Adjust the amount of chilli if you like it more or less spicy, or use substitutions if some ingredients are not readily available.

I do it all the time… sometimes I get an idea in my head about what I want to make and if I don’t have all the ingredients on hand I just use whatever I have on hand. Results may vary, but that can be a good thing.  Like the time I was going to make this incredible chicken pasta salad, but I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients so I substituted here and there. The resulting Tiramisu was incredible! As I said, results may vary.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the Larb. I had a Thai Pad Kaprow paste in the fridge that had lemongrass, garlic and chilli so I used that up and adjusted the amounts of those individual seasonings. I also used tubes of lemongrass and fresh chilli paste rather than fresh.


And of course, you could use beef instead of pork.


Or chicken.

And leftovers – if there are any – are very tasty cold. And that’s major coming from me. I’m really not a cold leftover sort of girl usually but for this I make an exception.

You will need:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass (you can get this in jars if fresh is not available).
2 small red Thai chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
40g grated fresh ginger
1.4kg pork mince
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
160ml lime juice
5 shredded kaffir lime leaves (again, I used some from a jar)
2/3 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
4 spring onions sliced thinly
8 large iceberg lettuce leaves

Heat oil in a large non stick frying pan or wok. Add the lemongrass, chilli, garlic and ginger and stir until the fragrance wafts through your kitchen – about 2 minutes.


Add the pork and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes. Add the capsicum, and stir for another 2-3 minutes.


Add the fish sauce and half the lime juice and cook for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining lime juice, herbs, onion and lime leaves in a small bowl.

Take the pan off the heat and pour over the pre-mixed juice and herbs.


On each plate, form a bowl by placing two lettuce leaves together.


Place 1/4 of the larb in each bowl of leaves.


And you’re done! This is a meal on its own and it’s perfect if you follow a high protein, low carbohydrate regime.

And, as an added bonus, you wont need to call everyone to the table. They have been sitting there waiting for you since the aroma from the kitchen brought them in 10 minutes ago.


italian-style chicken pasta salad

This is so good! Great for a dinner party.

350g chicken breast fillets
¼ cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g thinly sliced prosciutto
1 Lebanese cucumber
2 tablespoons seasoned pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups penne pasta, cooked
½ cup thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes
½ cup pitted black olives, halved
½ cup halved bottled artichoke hearts
½ cup parmesan cheese flakes

Creamy Basil Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons cornflour
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup cream
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil
Salt, to taste

Remove excess fat and sinew from chicken. Flatten slightly with a mallet or rolling pin.

Place chicken in medium bowl with combined lemon juice and garlic. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Cut prosciutto into thin strips. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise, then cut each half into slices.

Drain chicken and coat in seasoned pepper. Heat oil in large heavy based frying pan. Cook the chicken for four minutes on each side, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from heat. Cool and cut into 2 cm pieces.

Combine pasta, chicken pieces, cucumber slices, prosciutto, sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts in a large serving bowl. Pour warm creamy basil dressing over and toss gently to combine.. Serve salad warm or cold, sprinkled with parmesan flakes.

Creamy Basil Dressing

Combine oil, vinegar, seasoned pepper and mustard in a medium pan. Blend cornflour with water in a small bowl or jug until smooth. Add to pan. Whisk over medium heat for 2 minutes or until sauce boils or thickens. Add cream, basil and salt. Stir until heated through.