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Laab (Northern Thai Spicy Beef Salad)

Randy Mayor; Jan Gautro
Yield 6 servings (serving size: 2 filled leaves)
The rice powder is a traditional component of this dish, but you can omit it, if you prefer.


  • Rice powder:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons uncooked long-grain Thai sticky rice
  • Marinade:
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin steak, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup torn fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves (about 8 leaves) or 1 tablespoon grated lime rind
  • 1 teaspoon minced bird chile or 2 teaspoons minced serrano chile
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 12 tender napa (Chinese) cabbage leaves or any sturdy lettuce leaves

Nutrition Information

  • calories 209
  • caloriesfromfat 27 %
  • fat 6.3 g
  • satfat 2.2 g
  • monofat 2.4 g
  • polyfat 0.4 g
  • protein 25.7 g
  • carbohydrate 11.7 g
  • fiber 0.9 g
  • cholesterol 69 mg
  • iron 4.1 mg
  • sodium 1022 mg
  • calcium 51 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare rice powder, combine water and rice in a bowl. Let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse rice with cold water; pat dry. Cook rice in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 7 minutes, stirring constantly until lightly browned. Cool completely. Place rice in a spice or coffee grinder; process until rice resembles cornmeal. Set aside.

  2. To prepare marinade, place peppercorns in pan over medium-high heat, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly or until toasted. Place peppercorns in spice or coffee grinder; process until ground. Combine ground pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, pineapple juice, and the steak in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat broiler.

  4. Remove steak from bag, reserving the marinade. Place steak on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 16 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning and basting with reserved marinade after 8 minutes. Cut the steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Cut slices crosswise into thin slivers. Combine steak and lime juice in a large bowl. Add rice powder, mint, and next 8 ingredients (mint through 1/2 teaspoon salt), and toss well. Spoon 1/3 cup steak mixture into each cabbage leaf.