mushroom laab muang (ลาบเมืองเห็ด—laab muang hed)

Northern Thailand and northern Laos, as well as parts of Myanmar and China’s Yunnan province, were once united under royal rule and known as the Lanna kingdom. Though solidification of political boundaries, nationalism, language differences, and other factors continue to divide the former kingdom, cuisine and other cultural factors are still largely common throughout the area.

Laab muang(ลาบเมืองเห็ด) is a minced meat dish from the Lanna region. Lanna cuisine tends to be salty, spicy, and often sour; this dish is no exception. A plethora of spices are used including a relative of sichuan peppercorn called makhwaen(มะแขว่น), dipli(ดีปลี) or long pepper, plenty of chili, cinnamon, and star anise.

In this case, mixed mushrooms are seasoned by a rather dry yet rich and flavorful nam phrik laab(น้ำพริกลาบ), or laab paste. Toast spices, then mix and add mushrooms. Saute the whole mixture and serve with herbs and rice or in lettuce wraps.


(serves 2)

4 bird eye chili
4 clove garlic
2 pearl shallot, sliced
1 piece galangal
1 tbsp coriander seed
½ tbsp cumin
20 makhwaen or sichuan peppercorn
10 long pepper or black peppercorn
1 clove
1 star anise
½ stick cinnamon
1 cup oyster mushroom, minced or other mushroom
1 cup beech mushroom, minced or other mushroom
coriander leaf or sawtooth herb
vietnamese mint leaf or mint leaf

• toast coriander seed, cumin, makhwaen, peppercorn, thai long pepper, clove, star anise, cinnamon
• pound chili, garlic, salt, shallot, galangal, toasted spices
• mix in mushroom
• saute; add water if dry
• garnish with coriander, vietnamese mint
• serve with rice, lettuce, and/or vegetables