If you have been through my blog and you know me, you know that I am not a Salad person. I still am not, but the only salads I do like are a Burrata Salad, or a Papaya Salad or this Minced Chicken Thai Larb Gai Salad. I have been to Thailand multiple times, and yes it always comes down to Tom Yum Goong or the Kaeng Phet which is the Prawn Tom Yum Soup or the Red Curry, but my trips there have really inspired to perfect the taste of this Larb Gai Salad as well! This recipe, is not that hard and will definitely come through for you! Here are some key elements involved, to get the right flavor & texture:1. Toasted RiceAs the name suggests toasting rice, is just heating rice in a skillet on a medium to high heat. You know when it's done when (a) the rice feels brittle (b) becomes golden brown in color. The ideas is to put toasted rice in a blender until somewhat fine. Please don't blend into powder form else it will defeat its purpose. The whole idea of adding these small pieces of toasted rice is to add the level of crunch in a Larb Gai Salad. 2. Roasted Dried Chili or Birds Eye ChiliNow Chili is a must when it comes to Thai Food there are two equally authentic and flavorful ways. The first is using Dried Kashmiri Red Chili's. To use them, simply roast them directly on flame or kept on a wire rack (like you would do for an eggplant) until the red skin is kind of black and looks burnt. You'll know it when you start coughing.The next is Birds Eye Chili- which is the more traditional optional but equally flavorful. You would just need to chop these finely prior to any use. 3. Jaggery or Palm SugarThis sweetener has many names. At my home we call it gudh, also known as Jaggery & Palm Sugar. Many recipes use honey but for a more authentic Thai Flavor, I would recommend you to use Jaggery. Prior to use just crush it to a powdery form and then use as required. 4. Fish Sauce vs Soya SauceWhile the other three are more or less common ingredients, it starts deferring here. I would absolutely recommend buying Fish Sauce. It's easily available now, and the brand that I use is Real Thai. However, if you have something against seafood, or the smell - you can use Regular Soya Sauce (Low Sodium is always better), but there will definitely be a loss of flavor.There you have it. The secrets to a good, flavorful, authentic yet EASY Larb Gai Salad. Getting onto the recipe now.
- 300 g Minced or Ground Chicken
- 2 tbsp Water
- 1½ tbsp Fish Sauce or Soya Sauce
- 1 Spring Onion White (Shallot) thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp Lime Juice
- 1-2 Dried Red Chili Powder or Birds Eye Chili roasted and chopped
- 3 tbsp Toasted Rice Powder (instructions above & below)
- 4 tbsp Chopped Coriander or Cilantro
- 1 tbsp Palm Sugar/Jaggery
- 1 Spring Onion Green chopped
- ¼ cup Mint Leaves roughly torn
- To make toasted rice powder, begin by toasting 4 tbsp. of rice and few kaffir lime leaves (optional) in a pan, until the rice is brown. Remove from the heat immediately and crush it in a food blender or using a mortar and pestle until fine. Grind both the rice and kaffir leaves. Don't overgrind, it shouldn't be like a powder (flour) but small to medium size pieces.
- In a pan, add the water, and let it heat. You might think the water being added is less, but need not bother, the minced chicken will leave out some water as well. Add minced chicken and ½ tbsp. of Fish Sauce and Palm Sugar next.
- Cook, stirring constantly until the chicken is separated and cooked. Remove from heat when done. Add the spring onion bulbs here and mix well. Finish by adding in Roasted Chilli, Fish Sauce and Lime Juice. Let it sit to cool.
- After 10-15 minutes, once a bit cool, mix in the remaining ingredients- mint leaves, coriander, green onions and toasted rice and mix well. Add the toasted rice, right before serving to retain the crunch. That's it! That's a traditional Larb gai salad. Easy? Wasn't it!
This is by far my favorite salad out there, giving a close competition to the Som Tam Papaya Salad! Super easy to make, give it a try. Do tag me at @boy.eatsworld on Instagram when you decide to Thai it up! And let me know what do you think of no-leaf salad in the reviews below!
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