Asian Larb Salad with Curried Duck and Khao Kua Recipe from The Science of Spice

Asain Lard Salad

This Asian Larb Salad with Curried Duck and Khao Kua is a great crowd pleaser for a Saturday Night Dinner. Popular in both Laos and Thailand, larb is a fiery salad most often made with finely minced meat or fish, which is flavoured with fresh spices and herbs and topped with roasted rice powder. This version mixes things up by adding in garam masala – the warm, aromatic spice mix at the heart of much Indian cooking.


1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp garam masala (see recipe p40)
1 tsp Thai chilli flakes, or any crushed dried chillies
2 duck fillets, skin removed, then minced
juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbsp palm sugar or muscovado sugar
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 lemongrass stalks
handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp khao kua roasted rice powder


1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garam masala and chilli flakes and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant.
2. Turn the heat to high and add the duck mince. Fry for 1–2 minutes, until the meat is browned on the outside but still pink in the middle. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. To make the dressing, mix the lime juice and fish sauce with the sugar in a large bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
4. 4 Prepare the lemongrass stalks by trimming the tops and bases and peeling off the woody outer layers. Crush the pale green, tender inner stalks, using the back of a heavy knife, to release the aromatic oils. Chop the stalks finely.
5. Add the warm duck, shallots, chopped lemongrass, mint, and coriander to the bowl of dressing. Stir until all the ingredients are well combined.
6. Sprinkle the khao kua over the salad and serve immediately. If you are preparing the salad ahead of time, only add the rice powder when you are ready to serve, so that it stays crunchy.

Asain Larb Salad


The Science of Spice
The Science of Spice will help you understand the practical science behind the art of cooking with spices. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with that unloved jar of sumac, why some spices taste stronger than others, or how to make your own personal garam masala, this inspirational guide has all the answers.

Spice sets out the science behind the flavours and helps you choose, with greater confidence and intuition, how to use spices that perfectly complement each other. The Science of Spice is an indispensable kitchen companion that home cooks will turn to time and time again to learn and innovate.

The Science of Spice by Dr Stuart Farrimond. DK, £20. Out now.

You may also like...