Larb Gai | Laotian Chicken Salad
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
A refreshing salad with spicy ground chicken, mint and cilantro all tossed in a sweet, spicy and tart dressing.
Ingredients
SPICY GROUND CHICKEN
  • 2 pounds/1kg ground chicken
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion/shallots
  • 1 green chilli (or more if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons toasted ground rice
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
SALAD
  • 1 head of butter or red leaf lettuce (soft lettuce), chopped roughly
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped in medium slices
  • large handful green beans, blanched and chopped
  • 1 large bunch of mint, leaves only roughly chopped
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped leaves
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced
DRESSING
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce or GF organic soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon organic brown sugar (more if desired)
Instructions
DRESSING
  1. Add all the ingredients together and check for seasonings.
  2. The dressing should be a nice balance of sweet, tangy and salty.
  3. Adjust the quantities accordingly and to taste.
SALAD
  1. In a large bowl or platter, arrange the lettuce leaves
  2. Add the cucumbers and green beans
  3. And add the mint, cilantro and green chilli.
  4. Put aside and make the chicken.
SPICY GROUND CHICKEN
  1. In a wok or large fry pan, heat the oil on medium high.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the ground chicken and the turmeric if using.
  4. Toss around breaking up the chicken and cook until the pink has gone and the chicken is almost done.
  5. Add the fish sauce and cook until chicken is cooked all the way.
  6. Add the onions or shallots, the green chilli and the lime juice.
  7. Make sure that most of the juices have evaporated and then add the toasted ground rice.
  8. Too much ground rice can make the meat a bit slimy so don't add too much.
  9. The 3 tablespoons are enough to add a toasty flavour and absorb some of the juices.
  10. Taste to check the seasonings.
  11. The meat should be spicy from the green chilli, slightly salty from the fish sauce and tangy from the lime.
  12. Adjust accordingly to taste, add more if needed.
  13. Keep the chicken aside and keep warm.
  14. When ready to serve, toss the salad with a few tablespoons of the dressing.
  15. Keep the chicken on the side and let people top their own salads with the ground chicken.
  16. Keep some extra dressing and lime slices on the side for anyone who wants more.
  17. Serve with a side of sticky rice.
Notes
The salad is supposed to be spicy with lots of green Thai chiilies or any chilli of your choice. I used Serrano chillies and used 1 whole between the chicken and salad. You can use more if you can handle the spice but for the kids, I kept it low key. The soy sauce is not traditional in the dressing but because I have such major issues with the smell and taste of fish sauce, I use soy sauce. Also my vegetarian child prefers the soy for a veggie option. The dressing should marry all the flavours: tart, spicy, sweet and salty. Adjust to your liking by tasting. You could also mix in all the meat into the salad and toss around, but since I have kids who some like a lot and some don't want any, I just leave the meat on the side. The sticky rice on the side might seem strange, because it did to me at first, but let me tell you how perfectly it goes with this salad. It tames the heat and soaks the lovely dressing and is just wonderful, so make the rice! Also, do not leave out the toasted ground rice it adds amazing depth of flavour. If you don't have a problem with fish sauce then the dressing will be GF but if you do, like me, then choose a GF organic soy sauce (to avoid GMOs) to make the dressing
Recipe by Coffee and Crumpets at http://www.coffeeandcrumpets.com/larb-gai-laotian-chicken-salad/