In the Northeast of Thailand, Laap is life. And its variations seem endless depending on what region or hamlet you are in. This version, made of ground pork, is one of the most popular and straightforward ways of serving it, and was taught to me by a Thai family I stayed with in Isaan several years ago. Seasoned with lime, fish sauce, chilli and toasted rice, it is at once bright, fiery, rich and savoury. Laap is always served with a mound of fresh herbs and cabbage to balance the intense pungency of the seasonings and to refresh your palate between spoonfuls of the pork mixture. Traditionally, you’d have to eat this with sticky rice, but if that’s not an option, jasmine rice will work in a pinch.
If you give this recipe a shot, make sure to post up your creation on Instagram and tag @tastetoronto and @haanpc!
Pork Laap 6 Steps
Put the glutinous rice in a dry pan and cook over medium heat until golden brown. Remove from heat and pound in a mortar and pestle until a fine powder. It should still have some crunch when eaten.
Finely slice green onions on the bias. Slice shallots in half and then cut as finely as possible. Set aside both ingredients.
Add pork to a sauce pan with 60-100ml of water. Heat over medium-high heat and break up pork, making sure it does not clump. Cook until pork is cooked through and water has almost fully evaporated.
Season the mixture with fish sauce, lime, ground Thai chilies and MSG. Adding each ingredient little by little until it is to your liking. This should taste salty and sour in equal measures and then spicy. It should be over-seasoned because you will be eating this with unseasoned vegetables and plain rice.
Stir in shallots and green onions, and spoon out into serving bowl
Sprinkle toasted rice on top. Garnish with dried Thai chilies and serve with white cabbage, mint sprigs and jasmine rice.