Duck Laab
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Recipe courtesy of Yia Vang
From: Duck Laab

Grilled Duck Laab

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
My father was known for his duck laab (also spelled larb), and he’d go the extra mile to make it. He would source a whole duck from his Amish farmer friend, meticulously debone it and grind it up. It was a true a labor of love. My version is inspired by dad’s traditional Laotian laab, except I use skin-on duck breasts that are grilled over an open hardwood fire until crispy, juicy and smoky. There are many variations of laab and the key to this version of the dish is the finely chopped lemongrass, which has a floral fragrance that helps cut through the richness of the duck.



Special equipment:
an open fire set up with a grill grate
  1. Set up a hardwood fire and let it burn to low-burning embers (see Cook’s Note). Set up your grate for direct and indirect heat cooking.
  2. Pat the duck breasts dry. Liberally sprinkle with 4 to 5 tablespoons of salt and several grinds of pepper on both sides.
  3. Place the duck breasts skin-side down over direct heat. Grill, flipping as needed to avoid flare ups, until the skin renders its fat and is crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the duck and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Halve the duck breasts lengthwise, then slice into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss together with the rice powder, lemongrass, fish sauce, shallots, chiles, lime juice and garlic. Season with pepper.
  5. On a large platter, lay out the bean sprouts, carrots, cilantro, scallions, mint, Thai basil, purple radishes and watermelon radishes. To serve, place the duck laab on a lettuce leaf and top with the desired toppings.

Cook’s Note

Make sure to use untreated hardwood, such as cherry, hickory or mesquite, that is safe for cooking.