Northeastern-Style Spicy Minced Chicken Salad
Lahb Gkai or Laab Gai or Larb Gai*
A Recipe of Kasma Loha-unchit
Recipe Copyright © 1998 Kasma Loha-unchit.
(Click images to see larger version.)
- 1 lb boneless chicken, chopped or ground
- 1 Tbs. peanut oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced and pounded to a paste
- 1 stalk lemon grass (optional), trimmed and sliced into thin rounds or chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 green onions (use white part only), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 small pieces dried galanga, toasted and then ground finely
- 2-4 tsp. ground roasted dried Thai chillies
- 3+ Tbs. fish sauce (nahm bplah), to taste (see Cooking to Taste)
- Juice of 2-3 limes, to desired sourness
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar as need to balance flavors
- 2 Tbs. ground roasted rice
- An assortment of raw or lightly steamed vegetables and aromatic herbs, such as: sprigs of various tropical basils and mints, green beans/long beans, winged beans, Thai eggplant, cabbage, morning glory/water cress, cucumber/squash/zucchini, lettuce, etc.
Cook the chopped or ground chicken in a little bit of oil in a wok until thoroughly cooked, breaking into small bits. Set aside.
Prepare the garlic, lemon grass (if using), shallot, green onions and mint. Toast the galanga in a small dry pan over medium heat until the pieces are darkened and slightly charred. Let cool before grinding in a clean coffee grinder to a fine powder. Then roast a handful of whole dried Thai chillies in the pan, turning frequently until they are darkened and slightly charred. Grind into a fine powder.
Toss the cooked chicken with the garlic, lemon grass, shallot, green onion, mint, ground toasted galanga and chillies, fish sauce and lime juice. Mix well. Taste and adjust flavors to desired sourness, hotness and saltiness. Add sugar only as needed to pull the flavors together. Toss the toasted rice powder into the mixture and serve salad at room temperature with a tray of assorted vegetables and herbs.
Notes and Pointers
Note: If you are not able to find ground toasted rice in Southeast Asian markets, it can be made by browning uncooked glutinous rice in a dry skillet (preferably cast iron), stirring frequently until the grains are evenly a rich brown color and fragrant. Allow to cool to room temperature before grinding in a clean coffee grinder. Adds a wonderful toasted aroma.
See Also: The Art and Joy of Thai Cooking.
You might enjoy learning how to Cook Thai food from Kasma in a Thai cooking class.
Kasma teaches this recipe in the Evening Series Intermediate #2.
*Because the Thai language has its own script, there are different ways of transliterating Thai into English. The more phonetic version is Lahb Gai; the more usual spelling (unfortunately) is Larb Gai. See A Note on Thai Pronunciation and Spelling.