Spicy Beef Larb with Coconut Rice

Hands down one of the most popular recipes from my book last year was the Chicken Larb Bowls! They are SO flavorful and easy to make! So I’m calling it now, this Spicy Beef Larb with Coconut Rice situation is going to be right up there with the chicken one!

Spicy Beef Larb with Coconut Rice from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

For those of you who haven’t heard of Larb before – it’s basically a meat salad. Is that a cute phrase… no. Does it need some re-branding… probably. But let’s call a spade a spade and accept that that is what it is! I’m not mad at it.

This Spicy Beef Larb situation has been calling my name recently! 1: it’s got the coconut rice which is without a doubt better than ordinary rice. 2: the spice beef mixture is incredibly flavorful and crispy which is V important in life. And 3: there are cooked cucumbers in this which are quite possibly the most genius thing I’ve ever tried.

Spicy Beef Larb with Coconut Rice from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Bon Appetit posted a Spicy Beef and Cucumber recipe recently and I was like whaaaaaat…. tell me more. Cooked cucumbers. Game changer. They are the perfect cool and calm accompaniment to the spicy beef and the coconut lime rice. Mix it all together and you’re going to be obsessed. Hello Spicy Beef Larb!

Spicy Beef with Coconut Rice

Spicy Beef with Coconut Rice


    For the Spicy Beef
  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 red Fresno chiles, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh herbs (mint, basil, scallions and cilantro)
  • Lime wedges
  • For the Coconut Rice
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced


  1. Gently smack cucumbers with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy pot until they begin to break apart. Tear into bite-size pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a large cast iron over high heat. Add beef and break apart using a wooden spoon and season with salt and pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until bottom side is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Break up meat with a spatula and stir to cook the other side, about 5–7 minutes more.
  3. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, sambal and Fresno chiles to the beef and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add shallot and smashed cucumbers and cook, tossing occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, until cucumbers are softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegars, water, soy sauce, and sugar. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until sauce is reduced slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon beef and cucumbers over bowls of coconut rice and top with herbs and lime wedges.
  5. To make the coconut rice:
  6. Place the water, coconut milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, and warm over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Add the rice and bring back to a low simmer. Cover the pot with lid, then reduce the heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, for about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff, and season with the zest and juice of 1 lime.

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  1. This sounds absolutely divine! I cannot get enough the coconut rice, and these cucumbers sound like the next best thing!!

  2. Been making laarb gai (chicken salad) since I spent a month in Laos years ago. Love the flavours and can’t wait to try this. Your photo doesn’t look like ground beef – more like steak. Can you comment?

  3. Love you, love your show! Why beat and break apart cukes as opposed to just slicing? Love the chicken larb recipe in your cookbook. This seems a little different and I can’t wait to try it.

  4. Are the fresno chilies absolutely necessary? They’re not very easy to find where I live? Can’t wait to try this recipe!

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