These Pork Larb Lettuce Cups are super flavorful, and a delicious change to the same ‘ol lettuce cups!
I’ll admit – even as a food blogger – I find many Asian recipes very intimidating to make. I didn’t grow up cooking with any of the more ‘exotic-to-me’ ingredients called for in many Asian recipes. But those ingredients totally make the dishes so delicious!
Over the years, Jack and I have started to cook with a few classic ingredients often used in Asian cuisine. And over time, we’ve both become more comfortable cooking with those ingredients and understanding how they can be added to enhance the flavor of a recipe. In fact, many of the recipes we share here on A Family Feast include them too – and I think everyone should have a small collection of ingredients such fish sauce and garlic chili paste (among others) in their kitchen!
A few weeks ago, I saw a dish called Larb being cooked on the show Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives on the Food Network. As I watched the dish being prepared, I realized that we already had most of the ingredients on hand to make these Pork Larb Lettuce Cups at home. So – I immediately (and easily) convinced Jack that we should try making it.
Larb is essentially a meat salad (we used ground pork but it is also made with chicken, beef, duck, or fish) cooked in a super flavorful sauce that is a little spicy and a little sweet. Fresh mint is a predominant ingredient, as well other herbs, seasonings and vegetables. It is regarded as the ‘unofficial’ national dish of Laos, and it is also popular in the Isan region of Thailand.
The unique twist in this dish is that sweet Asian sticky rice is toasted and crushed – then sprinkled in with and on top of the meat mixture – lending a wonderful toasted flavor and texture to the Larb that is unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Larb is traditionally served as a salad, but we made ours into Pork Larb Lettuce Cups.
I think you’ll absolutely love the flavors in these Pork Larb Lettuce Cups! And who knows – maybe you’ll start venturing farther out into the world of Asian cuisine too!
P.S. See our notes in the recipe below for more information about this dish.
PrintPork Larb Lettuce Cups
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- ½ cup sweet sticky Asian rice
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, coarsely ground, see notes below recipe
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup red onions sliced thin and cut in half
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 1-2 limes)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons garlic chili sauce, depending on how hot you like it
- 12 fresh basil leaves (if large, cut in half)
- 30 fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, no stems
- 1 green onion sliced
- 2 heads Boston lettuce
- 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 cups shredded or thinly spiralized carrots