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Spicy Beef Salad with Mint and Cilantro (Larb Neua)

4 Servings

20 minutes

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Larb is a minced-meat salad from northern Thailand. Versions abound, but this beef version was inspired by the spicy, tangy Isaan style from the northeast that's also popular in neighboring Laos. Easy-to-make toasted rice powder, called khao kua, is an essential ingredient here—it imparts a unique flavor, absorbs a small amount of the liquid and adds a subtle crunch. Cabbage leaves and sticky rice are the traditional accompaniments, but lettuce leaves and steamed jasmine rice are equally good. If you like, for more spiciness, add another chili or two.




Don't use extra-lean ground beef. A little fat keeps the meat moist, adds flavor and balances the acidity of the dressing.

20 minutes


  • 2

    tablespoons long-grain jasmine rice

  • 3

    tablespoons lime juice


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Carol S.
May 28, 2022
Vietnamese flavor bomb
There may be a few prepping steps but it’s all worth while. I’ve made this several times and believe it’s my favorite Milk Street recipe so far.
Carol S.
May 28, 2022
Thai Flavor Bomb
There may be a few prepping steps but they’re totally worth it. I’ve made this dish several times and consider it my favorite Milk Street recipe so far.
Michael F.

Great recipe! Very easy. My 7 & 9 year old boys loved it too. It’s now their favorite ‘salad’.

Andrew S.

I suggest removing the beef with a slotted spoon to leave some of the fat behind. Otherwise you can end up with a dish that is too greasy.

Thomas C.

We add TJ’s blister peanuts at the end for adding texture.

Bodi L.

This has become a staple in my house - refreshing and packed with flavor. I serve with jasmine rice.

Mitchie B.

Maybe it's the beef I got, but I ended up having to throw this out because it smelled like livestock. Combined with the fish sauce the beef smell really was a bit much and I just couldn't eat much of it... and I'm not a picky person by any measure