Serving
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Beef Larb Salad
Laos / Thai Issan
  -   Larb Bò
Makes
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
1# 10 oz  
**
2 hrs  
Yes
A totally stunning palette of flavors! Larbs (Laab, Laap) are the famous chopped meat salads of Laos and Issan (northeastern Thailand). It also makes a dynamite main filling for a Banh Mi Sandwich, using the same garnishes for the herb layer. The recipe as given is mild enough for a mixed group, and you can supply Thai Chili Vinegar Sauce for those who want more bite.



1-1/2
1-1/2
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1
5
1/4
2
1/2
1/2
1/4
2
1
2
3
3
1
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ar
ar
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#
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sml

in

c
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t
T
T
T
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Beef, Lean (1)
Beef Tripe (opt)
-- Dressing
Lemon Grass (2)
Kafir Lime Leaves (3)  
Galangal Root (4)
Scallions
Mint Leaves
Cilantro
Rau Ram (5)
Thai Chilis (6)
Chili Flake (7)
Toasted Rice (8)
Fish Sauce (9)
Lime Juice
Salt
-- Garnish
Cilantro Leaves
Mint Leaves
-- Garnish Options
Scallions
Red Chili Slices
Cucumber Slices
Lime Slices
Bean Sprouts
Basil Leaves
Culantro
Prep Meats   -   (Do Ahead)
  1. Grill or Broil the BEEF until medium to medium well done - 140°F to 150°F (60°C to 65°C). Set aside to rest until cool.
  2. IF using, cook BEEF TRIPE until tender. For instructions see our Beef Tripe page.
Make   -   (2 hours - 1-3/4 hours work)
  1. Cut Beef across the grain into thin slices, then the slices into narrow strips and the strips crosswise into small dice. Then, with a heavy knife, chop the beef very fine.
  2. IF using, slice Tripe thin and cut into 1/4 inch lengths.
  3. Strip the tough outer leaves from LEMON GRASS and cut off the hard root end. Smash the bottom 4 inches of the stem with your kitchen mallet, then cut crosswise as thin as you possibly can with a razor sharp knife.
  4. Roll up the LIME LEAVES tightly from tip to base. Slice them into threads from both sides of the central rib. Chop the threads fine. Mix with Lemon Grass.
  5. Slice GALANGAL as thin as you can and chop fine. Mix with Lemon Grass.
  6. Pound Lemon Grass mix in a big mortar as best you can.
  7. Pull MINT, CILANTRO and RAU RAM leaves from the stems and chop them coarse to medium Chop SCALLION very small. Cut THAI CHILIS in half lengthwise and slice crosswise very thin. Mix all.
  8. Squeeze Lime Juice.
  9. Mix together all Dressing items.
  10. Massage the Dressing into the Beef and Tripe (if using). Check seasoning to your taste. Refrigerate until needed. It should have some rest before serving to adjust textures.
  11. Chop Mint and Cilantro for garnish (required), and prepare any optional garnishes you please to use.
  12. Garnish as desired and serve. It's best served cool rather than chilled, so give it a little warm up time from the fridge.
NOTES:
  1. Beef:   Weight is with all excess fat removed. Shoulder is a good cut for this recipe.
  2. Lemon Grass:   You want a small stem here. For details see our Lemon Grass page.
  3. Kaffir Lime Leaves:   These come 2 to a stem, so this recipe will need 2-1/2 stems. For details See our Kaffir Lime page. If you don't have them, grate the zest of the limes before you squeeze them for lime juice.
  4. Galangal   This board hard relative of ginger imparts a unique flavor to Southeast Asian soups and stews. Fresh is best but frozen is fine. Dried and powdered is not acceptable. If you don't have it, use fresh Ginger Root - not at all the same, but acceptable. For details see our Galangal page.
  5. Rau Ram:   This important herb is available in most markets serving a Southeast Asian community. For details see our Rau Ram page.
  6. Thai Chilis:   [Prik Ki Nu] This is one of the points where you control the chili heat - you can use 1 to 6 chilis. The amount given makes a quite mild salad by Southern California standards, but use your own best judgement. For details see our Thai Chilis page.
  7. Chili Flake:   This is the other place where you control the chili heat. Thai flake is usually made from Prik Chee Fah, so is not so hot. Easily available Korean flake is a good substitute. Again, this amount makes a rather mild salad by Southern California standards, but use your own best judgement. For details see our Chilis page.
  8. Toasted Rice Powder:   An essential for this recipe, the powder is available commercially in Southeast Asian markets, but is better and very easy to make yourself. See our recipe for Toasted Rice Powder.
  9. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. If you are unfamiliar with it, see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page. Actually, in Laos, a couple tablespoons of a very pungent murky fermented fish sauce called "Padek" would be added.
  10. Comments:   In Laos and Thailand they use a special long, heavy, razor sharp larb knife for the chopping. A regular prep knife is not nearly hefty enough for the job. I used a heavy, razor sharp Chinese cleaver knife (see Photo), not as good as the real thing, but it was sufficient. If your arms are not real strong, you might consider doing the chopping well ahead as part of the Prep section. It will keep overnight in the fridge.
    When I broil the meat, it is lean and will not drip fats, so I broil it on a foil tray. Some meat juices collect in the tray, which I add to the dressing.
  11. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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