This is the ninth post in the Freezer Meals series.
Larb is a delicious dish we always seem to make once a month or so. I was introduced to this recipe in college when a friend who had lived in Thailand prepared this for our house. I’ve been hooked ever since. Larb is technically a meat salad, although that doesn’t sound very appetizing. This version, which includes lime juice, is actually the version from Laos, where it is more common. It is basically meat cooked with different herbs and flavors and the end result is phenomenal when served atop rice, lettuce, or as lettuce wraps. You can really vary this one to meet your needs and I highly recommend you try it out. It is even better the next day, making it ideal for freezing. I doubled the recipe and froze half. You’ll need to find some fish sauce, which can usually be found at your local supermarket in the Asian section. You’ll find it much cheaper at an Asian grocery if you have access to one, but they do typically come in larger bottles there. I like this brand because it is the only one I can consistently find that doesn’t have any added sugar when I don’t have access to the much cheaper options at an Asian grocery. One tip if you’re new to fish sauce: don’t smell it. It really doesn’t smell good, even when you first dump it in the dish. Your dish will not taste fishy, so don’t worry- it just adds a nice salty umami undertone.
(For a single batch. I double this and freeze half.)
- 1 pound ground beef, pork, or chicken (I used to always use pork but I usually use beef now because it is easier to find. Both are good, but the pork might be a little better.)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup lime juice (Use only 1/4 cup if using bottled lime juice. It is better with fresh but limes are expensive and occasionally hard to find so do what works. If you’re using fresh just squeeze the juice until you’re somewhere in that range and it will work fine.)
- 4-6 Tablespoons fish sauce. (I usually use 6.)
- 1 large red onion, halved and sliced thin
- 2 Tablespoons ground rice (I skip this most of the time, but if you can grind a little rice in a food processor or something similar it does at an amazing texture to the dish.)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (Stems and leaves.) Use a minimum of 1/4 cup. I prefer 1/2 cup. Whatever you do, keep the proportions equal to the mint below (Either use the minimum or the maximum of both).
- 1-2 Tablespoons ground fresh or dried Thai chilis. If I can’t find these I’ll add red pepper flakes to taste. It works fine and you can control the spice.
- 15 – 30 mint leaves, chopped. (Spearmint- which is just normal mint at the grocery store.) Again, keep the proportion equal to the cilantro. Either use the minimum or the maximum of both.
You’ll want rice (Jasmine/Thai) and/or leaf lettuce for serving if you’re going to eat this right away.
You’ll also need a freezer safe container like a gallon freezer bag.
- Place all the ingredients in group one in a pan…
- Cook until the meat is done. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan still, you may want to reduce it just a bit, but don’t cook it all out.
- Add in everything in group two to the pan and stir well until the herbs wilt and the flavors combine.
- It is ready at this point, but the longer you let it rest the more the flavors will combine. Just serve with Jasmine/Thai rice. I recommend serving this with romaine (or even iceberg) lettuce leaves as a lettuce wraps: a little rice then the meat mix on the lettuce.
- I removed half (since I doubled the recipe) into a bowl to let that cool for freezing.
- Once that cools you can transfer it to a labelled freezer bag.
- The label should include the date and recipe name. Since this is fully cooked I just noted that it just needs to be thawed and heated on the bag. You can note that it can be served with rice and lettuce as a salad or lettuce wraps. Freeze it flat to save space.
Check back every Tuesday and Thursday for a new Freezer Meal!
Be sure to follow food safety guidelines when freezing and thawing food. Ensuring your freezer is at the proper temperature is one of the most important steps in storing food. You can find more information here if you have any questions.