I’m returning to my hometown to share my favorite Esan dish, Larb Diib – raw beef larb. It is a flavorful and easy-to-make dish.
Don’t let the “raw beef” part scare you off. The dish is one of the staples meal for Esan people and is made with raw minced beef, chili paste, herbs, lemon juice, and fish sauce. It is usually served with raw veggies.
Ready to give Larb Diib a try? Here’s everything you need to know to make this delicious dish at home.
What is Larb Diib?
Larb Diib, also known as raw beef larb, is traditional from Northeast Thailand(Esan) and Laotian cuisine. It consists of raw minced beef, spices, herbs, and fresh vegetables like onion, cucumber, mint leaves, and cilantro.
Larb Diib is commonly served at room temperature or slightly chilled. It’s a perfect blend of spicy, sour, and savory flavors that brings your taste buds joyfully. Esan or Laotian people usually eat it with sticky rice or steamed jasmine rice on many unique occasions, such as New Year, weddings, housewarming parties, etc.
If you never eat raw beef before, this is the best dish to try; I rated them highly beef tartare or yukhoe. But first, let’s take a look on it is safe to eat raw beef.
Is It Safe To Eat Raw Beef?
Yes, it is safe to consume raw beef if it’s fresh and properly handled. Buying raw beef from a trusty source and cleaning it with water or vinegar solution before preparing are crucial elements to avoid any food-borne illness.
In addition, you will need to be extra careful handling raw beef. Remember to wash your hands, utensils, and cutting boards after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
Also, keep your raw beef in the refrigerator or a freezer. If there is any chance that you cannot finish all the ingredients, freeze them right away. There are still things to keep in mind; please read the full article about raw beef safety before making Larb Diib.
Now let’s move on to the recipe for this fantastic dish!
How to cook Larb Diib
- 1 pound of mince beef or sliced beef (such as sirloin or tenderloin)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped herbs (such as cilantro, mint, and green onions)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted rice powder
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional for spicy option)
- 1 teaspoon of beef bile (optional for bitter option)
- Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, chili flakes (if using), salt, and pepper in a small bowl to make the sauce.
- Place the beef in a large mixing bowl and add the sauce.
- Add all the herbs, red onion, and toasted rice powder; stir until combined.
- Taste it before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more bile to make it bitter or chili flakes to make it spicier.
- Add to refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill before serving. (optional for chilled larb diib)
Larb Diib can be the main course or appetizer. It will depend on what you eat; if you visit Thailand or Lao, the dishes is usually served with papaya salad, roasted chicken from charcoal, sticky rice, and fresh-cut veggies.
If you are serving as the main course, here are a few serving suggestions to try:
- Wrap the larb mixture in lettuce or cabbage leaves for a refreshing and light appetizer.
- Serve the larb over a bed of vermicelli noodles or sticky rice for a heartier meal.
- Pair the larb with an ice-cold beer for the ultimate summertime combo.
Tips and Tricks
- You can marinate beef with sauce for 15-30 minutes for a more intense flavor.
- Lime can help reduce beef’s gamey flavor and kill bacteria; don’t forget to add it!
- In Thailand, when ordering Larb Diib you can choose between Khom(ขม) or Priao(เปรี้ยว), which means bitter or sour. The bitter version adds beef bile, while the sour version adds extra lime juice.
- Beef bile is also a game changer; it is better when eating Larb Diib with alcoholic drinks, but I skip it because it is very bitter( I mean, this is the painful thing in my life); you need to be faint-hearted to try it.
- Add some diced fresh chili peppers or a spoonful of chili paste to the marinade for an extra spicy kick.
- You can adjust the seasoning according to your taste, but remember to balance the flavors.
- You can also cook Laab Diib to make Laab Suk (Stir-fry version). Sometimes when I leftover the larb Diib, I reheat it and enjoy a nice meal the next day.
- Avoid substituting mince beef with pork or chicken; it is not safe to eat raw.
I hope you enjoy this delicious dish and have fun cooking it! Bon Appétit!