Toasted quinoa and pork mince larb with smashed cucumber
- September 2017
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 40 min
The refreshing taste of cucumber pairs incredibly well with the richness of the pork, and the nutty toasted quinoa topping. Serve to friends as a light but flavoursome starter or snack.
- 8.2g (1.7g saturated)
- 12.6g (4.3g sugars)
- 100g quinoa
- Juice 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
- Toasted sesame oil to drizzle
- 1-2 red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 shallots, roughly chopped
- Thumb-size piece fresh ginger
- 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves discarded, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 200g British free-range pork mince
- 2-3 tbsp fish sauce or to taste
- 1½ tsp caster sugar or to taste
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced, plus extra to garnish
- Small bunch fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to garnish
- Larger leaves from 2-3 little gem and/or ruby gem lettuces
For the smashed cucumber
- 1 cucumber
- 1 garlic clove, roughly crushed
- 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine (from large supermarkets)
- 1 tsp Chinese rice vinegar (from large supermarkets)
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- Rinse and drain the quinoa well in a sieve, then toast it in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, for 5-10 minutes until toasty brown. Set aside to cool.
- Reserve 2 tbsp of the toasted quinoa, then cook the rest in 500ml boiling water for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is al dente (with bite). Squeeze over the juice of 1 lime and drizzle with a little sesame oil.
- Meanwhile, make the smashed cucumber. Clear a space on your work surface and, using a rolling pin, bash the cucumber all over until it starts to split. Pull the cracks apart so you have uneven shards of cucumber (you may need to chop it slightly). Scoop it up into a bowl, then toss with the garlic, rice wine, vinegar and salt. Set aside.
- To make the larb, whizz the chilli/chillies, garlic, shallots, ginger and lemongrass to a fine paste in a mini food processor. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or wide frying pan over a high heat until hot. Add the paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the pork and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until cooked. Add the fish sauce, sugar, spring onions and the cooked quinoa, then fry to caramelise the liquid in the pan. Season to taste with more fish sauce and/or sugar. Add the coriander.
- Pile a spoonful of pork larb into each lettuce leaf, then sprinkle with the reserved toasted quinoa and extra coriander leaves and spring onions. Serve with the smashed cucumber and lime wedges.
If you don’t have a mini food processor (step 4), use a stick blender and jug or a pestle and mortar.
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