Serves 4 to 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 ½ hours
for the laarb paste:
2 slivers from one piece galangal
6 dried Thai chilies
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 whole star anise
1 bay leaf
1 whole cardamom pod
1 whole clove
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 Indian Long Pepper (Dili)
1 piece nutmeg
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
¼ cup|60 ml vegetable oil
1 cup|250 ml fish sauce
1 cup|220 grams palm sugar
for the laarb:
½ cup|75 grams pine nuts
1 small shallot, finely diced
¼ cup|250 ml olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons laarb paste, to taste
2 tablespoons fried shallots, plus more for garnish
1 pound|450 grams lamb loin, trimmed and very finely chopped
kosher salt, to taste
¼ cup|3 grams roughly chopped Thai basil leaves
¼ cup|5 grams roughly chopped mint leaves
¼ cup|7 grams roughly chopped dill
1 (4.9-ounce|140-gram) package black sesame rice crackers
- Make the laarb paste: Heat oven to 300°F. Combine the galangal, chilies, and the dried spices in an aluminum parcel and roast in the oven for 2 hours uncovered. Shake every 30 minutes and move the spices around. Remove from the oven and cool, then grind all of the spices in a spice grinder.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-low. Add the ground spices and reduce the heat to low. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar and cook until it forms a thick paste, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool and set aside.
- Toast the pine nuts: Heat a small skillet over medium-low. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Place in a small bowl and let cool.
- Make the laarb: In a large bowl, mix half of the pine nuts, the shallot, olive oil, laarb paste, and 2 tablespoons of fried shallots with the chopped lamb. Season to taste with salt.
- In a small bowl, combine the herbs. Reserve for garnish. Transfer the lamb mixture to a plate and top with some of the fried shallots and pine nuts. Garnish with the herb salad and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately with the black sesame rice crackers.
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