Punchy larb salad

Just one week ago, we here in Auckland laughed at the start of Autumn with it's 27 degree heat and intense humidity. The cooler weather felt so so far away. Ha! I'm currently writing this post (very early morning) wearing proper pyjamas, warm socks and a sweater. Golly, this has been a strange summer. I do hope the warm weather returns. I haven't had quite enough swims yet.

This warm salad is perfect for this funny, changeable time between seasons. I've used rocket leaves but include whatever greens you like. You could also replace the rice noodles with kelp noodles or zucchini 'noodles' for a lower carb option. Those nifty legume noodles would also be good. Be very generous with the fresh herbs as they are where the magic lies. Switch out the free-range pork for free-range or organic chicken. Venison is also great. 

Would you believe this recipes is completely in line with what I'm craving this pregnancy? I'm currently obsessed with anything spicy (kimchi - this one or hot sauce with everything!) and I'm loving fragrant, punchy flavours. Asian dishes obviously fit this bill perfectly. I guess it's pretty lucky that those powerful pregnancy yearnings have me leaning in this direction. Much better than wanting to eat piles of cake!

Enjoy. Kelly xox

Punchy pork larb salad

1 ½ tablespoons jasmine rice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons coconut sugar or light muscovado sugar

Juice of 2 limes

1 stem lemongrass – white part only, finely sliced

2 large red chillis – de-seeded and fined finely sliced

500g free-range pork mince

1 large carrot - grated or cut thinly on a julienne peeler

1 red capsicum - seeds removed and sliced very thinly

1 spring onion – sliced

Large handful fresh coriander – roughly chopped

Large handful fresh mint – roughly chopped

100g vermicelli rice noodles

50 grams rocket leaves

1 tablespoon oil for sautéing

To serve: cucumber slices, additional fresh herbs & fresh lime

Place a dry sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the rice and cook, moving frequently, until lightly golden. Place in a mortar and pestle and grind into a coarse powder.

Combine the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice in a small jug and stir well. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan over a medium / high heat. Add the lemongrass, chilli, pork mince, carrots and capsicum. Cook for 7–10 minutes until the pork is no longer pink in the middle. Add the ground rice and cook for a minute. Add the dressing and remove from the heat. Toss through the spring onion, coriander and mint.

Cover the noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well.

To serve: Divide noodles between 4 bowls. I find making a couple of cuts through the noodles can make them easier to separate and dish out. Divide greens between the bowls. Top with the larb. Garnish with additional fresh herbs and cucumber slices. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.