mushroom laab (ລາບເຫັດ—laab hed)

Laab(ລາບ) is a more well-known Lao dish. There are many different romanizations—laab, laap, larb, larp, lahb, lahp, lap—but in any case, this dish is delicious.

Making laab is traditionally a long process involving laborious preparation of a cow or other large animal. Because of the sacrifice in killing a large animal and all the work put into preparing it, this dish was historically made for special occasions and festivals. Meat, organs, and even blood were used for the greatest appreciation and best flavor. This version with mushroom, or hed(ເຫັດ), is more of an everyday laab and still has all the essential flavors: plenty of sour from lime juice, savory from mushroom, and spice from bird’s eye chili.

Mushroom and other ingredients must be minced and prepared beforehand. Then these are briefly cooked and toasted rice powder is added. The laab is then removed from the heat source and conpleted with plenty of herbs and lime juice. Laab is traditionally served on lettuce leaves alongside rice and often sour soup.


(serves 2)

1 package mushroom, minced
2 clove arlic, minced
4 bird’s eye chili, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 thumb galangal, minced
2 green onion, chopped
¼ cup rice, toasted and finely ground
8 kaffir lime leaf, chopped
2 stem mint leaf, chopped
4 stem coriander leaf, chopped
1 stem basil leaf, chopped (optional)
1 lime juice

• saute mushroom, garlic, chili, shallot, galangal, green onion, salt
• add rice powder, lime leaf
• remove from heat
• add mint, coriander leaf, basil leaf, lime juice
• serve