Larb Nua in Rice Roll Bouquet

I was going to a housewarming party of a friend of mine. Every time I make something for a party, I feel the urge to surprise. She’s Peruvian so she likes spicy food. This is not a particularly popular dish but there was just no doubt in my mind that it will please any south American without killing them. It’s one of the Northeastern Thai dish called “Larb.

I made this one with ground Beef (chicken or pork would work, too). Traditionally we boil everything together, but I like to keep it dry  and more flavorful, so I just brown the beef then add the herbs rather than boiling it.

Larb Nua in Rice Roll Bouquet
Recipe type: finger food
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • ½ lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 3 cloves of garlic or 1 - 2 stems of garlic scapes
  • dried chilli flakes (the spicy one) to your liking of spiciness. If you don't handle spiciness very well maybe omit or start with ½ tsp.
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 crushed toasted rice.
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • a handful chopped cilantro
  • 3 - 4 tbsp of lime juice (about 1 juicy lime)
  • 3 - 4 tbsp of fish sauce or dash of salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts (Traditionally they don't add peanuts but I added some anyway)
  1. Brown the ground beef, then drained the liquid that came out of it.
  2. Add the chopped shallots, garlic, dried chilli flakes, toasted sesame seeds and/or crushed toasted rice.
  3. When you can smell the aromatic oil coming out of the garlic and the shallots, turn off the heat and add a handful of mint leaves and chopped cilantro.
  4. Squeeze in 3 – 4 tbsp of lime juice (about 1 juicy lime), 3 – 4 tbsp of fish sauce or dash of salt to taste.
  5. If you want to wrap this in a rice roll, follow the instructions you can find on Youtube like Feel free to add sticks of veggies like celery or cucumber. In the images below I shredded the lettuce and stuffed it in the wrap, top with the salad after it's cooled down and wrap in rice papers.
This north-eastern Thai salad ("Larb") is traditionally eaten with sticky rice. When they boil the ingredients, it gets a little soupy, and the folksy people dip the sticky rice in the soup. I usually omit the sticky rice when I make for myself because I would need to steam it (rice cooker will make soggy sticky rice). The salad goes very well with quinoa stirred in, but I usually just eat it with a lot of greens.

I had a massive amount of salad leaves from the Farmer’s market so I had to use them, but I wanted to make a finger food item. At first I was gonna make a lettuce wrap, and I was walking around in circle looking for the toothpicks in an Asian store, until something circular caught my eye.


Right, it was the rice roll paper. I remember my grandma was teaching me how to wrap these with her own recipes. So I got a pack of them, and then wrapped my salads (there are also instructions on Youtube about how to wrap rice rolls). Then, I thought about how to make it convenient for people to eat, and then,… BINGO!!!


I cut the rice rolls in halves and then arranged them into my containers, but I still had some lettuce left, so I went about and stack them together. Um… I managed to make it look rose-y like a bouquet. I’m impressed with myself.

It’s so cool when people asked me what this thing is called when they go to a restaurant, and I had to answer: “I don’t know. I invented it.” The beef roll bouquet is an awesome item to wow the crowd, and it’s absolutely the combination of tastes that’s rarely found in Toronto.


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