Pork Larb Spicy Salad Cups Picnic

This quick fix for Thai-ish slash Vietnamese flavors is perfect for a summer light meal. Its all about the balance of the intense larb’s fragrance combined with naked cucumbers, buttercup lettuce wraps and herbs. Make a dipping sauce and drizzle with sesame oil.

What you need

+ 2 lbs Ground Pork
+ 1 cucumber
+ 1 head of butterhead lettuce
+ 3 to 4 shallots
+ 5 garlic cloves
+ 4 limes – juice + zest + reserve 1 lime for serving
+ 1 bunch of mint
+ 5 scallions
+ 3 thai bird chili peppers
+ 2 tbsp fish sauce
+ 1 tbsp agave syrup
+ 1 spoonful of crushed peanuts
+ 1 tsp sesame oil
+ salt and pepper

Preparing the flavors…

Wash the cucumber, lettuce, mint, scallions and chili peppers. Thoroughly scrub the skin of one lime for zesting.

Slicing everything thin…
  • Crush the garlic cloves with a heavy knife in order to easily remove the skin and the inside green germ. Then slice them thinly.
  • Roll the chili peppers in your hand to loosen the chili’s skin. With a sharp knife, slice through the middle and get rid of the seeds then proceed to slicing the chillies thinly.
  • Thinly slice the shallots and scallions.
  • Thinly slice the cucumber.
  • Pick half the leaves out of the bunch of mint and chop thinly.
Prepping the rest…

With a microplane, grate the zest of one lime.
Crush the peanuts roughly or if you prefer, to a powder using a mortar.

Juice it to yield about 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) of juice. Use more lime if necessary and set aside.
Combine 2 tbps fish sauce, 4 tbsp lime juice and 1 tbsp agave sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Make a sauce for the cucumbers and lettuce combining 1 tsp sesame oil, the juice of 1 lime, 1/2 tsp of salt (or fish sauce), 1/4 tsp pepper (or minced chillies) and 1/2 tsp crushed peanuts.

Cooking the pork…

Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat until it is very hot then add the ground pork. Break it up with a spatula.
Cook for 10 min stirring often, until the pork is golden and has some nicely grilled chunks. If necessary, press the pork against the walls of the wok with the spatula to facilitate the grilling. Do not overcook at this point as it will dry out the pork, its important to keep it juicy but with some crunchy pieces.

Adding the flavors…

Add the fish sauce, lime and sugar mixture pouring it close to the pork on the walls of the wok. Stir well to coat the pork evenly and scrap the bottom of the pan to incorporate the grilled bits that may have stuck to the pan.

Push the pork to one side of the pan, and throw in the minced shallots, garlic, chilli peppers, scallions on the other side. Let it sizzle a moment then mix it to incorporate the pork. Add the lime zest and the chopped mint cooking for another 5 minutes or until the shallots soften, stirring often.

Remove from heat.

Making lettuce cups…

Arrange the large buttercup lettuce leaves on a plate and drizzle with a couple drops of sesame oil on each. Alternatively you can also drizzle them with the cucumber dip sauce.

Fill the cups up with pork. Top the pork with more chopped mint and peanuts. Squeeze some lime juice over.

Garnish the plates with more fresh mint springs, lime wedges and the sliced cucumbers with the dipping sauce on the side.

Pick the cups up with your hands

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