Larb Gai Lettuce Wraps

This classic Thai dish is a combo of ground or chopped meat and fresh herbs. The optional hot sauce and chiles let you make this recipe as spicy—or mild—as you like.
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larb gai lettuce wraps

Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 3 to 5 

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)

  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce or soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp. (packed) light brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. sriracha (optional)

Larb

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup), plus 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 red Thai chile (optional), minced; or a pinch (about 1/2 tsp.) of Thai chile powder (optional)

  • 1 1/4 lb. g round pork; or 1 1/4 lb. firm tofu—patted and pressed until dry, then coarsely crumbled

  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh lemongrass (from the bottom 2 inches of the stalk), tough outer layers removed

  • 2 to 3 fresh makrut lime leaves, minced, or 1 tsp. lime zest

  • 2 tsp. fish sauce or soy sauce

  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, chopped

  • Leaves of 2 fresh mint sprigs, thinly sliced

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

  • Cucumber & Carrot Salad

  • Sticky Rice

Preparation

1. For the dressing, in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and sriracha (if using) until the sugar dissolves.

2. For the larb, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and chile (if using). Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the pork or tofu, the lemongrass, lime leaves, and fish sauce. Cook, stirring often and breaking up the pork or tofu with a spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes for the pork and 8 minutes for the tofu. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cilantro, mint, scallions, and dressing

3. Fill the lettuce leaves with the larb. Arrange on a platter. Garnish with the sliced onion and lime wedges. Serve with Cucumber & Carrot Salad and Sticky Rice.