Beef Mince Meat (Laaj) Recipe | PBS Food

Latricia, a member of Wasau, Wisconsin’s Hmong Community shows Lidia how to make this traditional dish to accompany the Pork and Mustard Greens . The Hmong community are refugees from Laos.

Lidia's special, A Heartland Holiday Feast, shows her traveling cross-country, and meeting Americans with diverse heritages and culinary traditions.



  • 1 lb lean beef
  • 1/2T fish sauce
  • 1-2 chopped red hot Thai chili
  • 1 large lime (more if you like it more sour)
  • 2 green onion (sliced)
  • 5 sprigs of cilantro (chopped)
  • 3 sprigs of spearmint (pluck leaves)
  • 2 sprigs of lady’s thumb (pluck leaves)
  • 2 2” base of lemongrass stalk, minced
  • 2” fresh ginger root, pounded and minced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1T roasted sweet rice powder
  • 3 sprigs of Thai sweet basil (pluck leaves)


  1. Add 1 pound of ground beef to a small sized saucepan with a handle and stir fry the beef, breaking it into small minced pieces until medium cooked. For the best flavor, leave all the oils that come out (alternative - drain the oil and add a splash of water). Take the meat off the heat.
  2. Leaving the meat in the same pot, add toasted rice powder and hot pepper. Mix well.
  3. Add fish sauce, and squeeze in the juice from 1 lime (use more if you like it more sour). Mix well.
  4. Add lemongrass, ginger, garlic, green onions, cilantro, spearmint leaves, and lady’s thumb leaves.
  5. Give it another good mix, making sure all the spices and dressings coats the meat.
  6. Taste test. See if it needs more fish sauce for saltiness, lime juice, or hot pepper. Get it the way you like it.
  7. Dish it out onto a plate and garnish with Thai sweet basil and more mint leaves. Serve with sticky rice.
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