Larb Stuffed Endive Boats

Larb Stuffed Endive Boats

Larb Stuffed Endive Boats

Larb, or ‘Laab’ as it sometimes spelled, is a cold salad of meat, herbs and other seasonings that is not only reckoned to be the national dish of Laos but also quite common in Thailand as well. The meat is often beef or pork, sometimes raw, sometimes cooked, but fish and poultry version exist as well. Often, this is served in a bowl with lettuce or other leaves for wraps, but, here, I have used the basic recipe theme to pre-stuff endive leaves as a simple, but tasty appetizer.

Ingredient Notes

The seasonings and other ingredients for Larb, or Laab, have endless variations, but fish sauce, lime juice, chili, mint and basil make regular appearances, with some versions adding a host of spices including cumin, cloves, star anise, galangal, and many others. Garnishes can be fried onions, peanuts, chopped chili, and various herbs and, in Laos especially roasted ground rice powder is commonly used as a flavoring agent and binder. My ingredients, as you can see in the Recipe Card below, are fairly simple.

The recipe just calls for a generic Chili Paste, but you can use a commercial Sambal Oelek, or even my own Sambal Belacan. If you use the latter, you may wish to reduce the amount of Fish Sauce, as both are very salty. The Sambal Belcan will also add a different depth of flavor given the complex spice belnd in that paste already.

The Method

The ‘Laab’ mixture and leaves for Larb Stuffed Endive Boats
The ‘Laab’ mixture and leaves for Larb Stuffed Endive Boats

This really couldn’t be simpler. Mash the chopped garlic and lemongrass to a paste along with the sugar and then stir this into the meat and all the other ingredients except the peanuts and chili. Now spoon this ‘Laab’ into endive leaves, garnish the peanuts and chili slices and then serve. That’s pretty much it…

Your Recipe Card:

Larb Stuffed Endive Boats

These Larb Stuffed Endive Boats use a South-East Asian blend of spices and ground Pork to stuff Endive leaves for a terrific appetizer dish.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Laotian, Thai
Keyword: Basil, Chili, Endive, Fish Sauce, Garlic, Ground Pork, Lemongrass, Mint
Author: John Thompson


  • 6 Endive leaves
  • ½ cup cooked ground Pork or Chicken or Beef, if you prefer
  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Paste
  • ½ tsp. minced Garlic
  • ½ tsp. minced Lemon Grass
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh Mint
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh Basil
  • 1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. chopped peanuts
  • 1 small red chili sliced thinly on the bias


  • Mash the chopped Garlic and Lemongrass to a paste along with the Sugar
  • Stir the above into the meat along with all the other ingredients except the Endive, Peanuts and slices of Chili.
  • Fill the Endive leaves with the meat mixture and garnish with the peanuts and Chili slices.
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!