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July 25, 2010 / amyjmcintosh

Larb gai (spicy chicken salad)


My recent trip to Thailand was the inspiration behind this tasty treat. It took more than the promised 25 mins to prepare, but it was all worth the effort. If you’re into Asian food, then you will love the spicy, citrusy and crunchy flavour combo of this Thai classic.

Spicy chicken salad.

This dish is like the Thai version of sang choy bow.

If you can’t find fresh galangal (I found it at my local grocer), you can use fresh ginger instead. Pork mince would probably work well with this recipe as well. I didn’t have kecap manis at the time, so I threw in some soy sauce instead. And I used brown sugar instead of palm sugar. Let me know what you think of the ground rice that you sprinkle on top of the dish. It reminded me of eating crushed peanuts, but with a rice-flavour. Quite cool for something different!

Apologies for the bad food photography. I don’t think Donna Hay would be impressed.

Recipe (from Women’s Weekly’s ‘The Complete Book of Modern Classics):

2 tbs long-grain white rice
1 tbs peanut oil
2 fresh small red Thai chillies, seeded, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs finely chopped fresh galangal
750g chicken mince
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded, sliced thinly
1 small red onion (100g), sliced thinly
100g bean sprouts
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
4 large iceberg lettuce leaves

Dressing:
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs kecap manis
2 tbs peanut oil
2 tsp grated palm sugar
1/2 tsp sambal oelek (use a mild sweet Thai chilli sauce if you don’t like the heat)

1. Place ingredients for dressing in screw-top jar; shake well.

2. Heat dry wok; stir-fry rice until lightly browned. Blend or process rice until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Heat oil in same wok; stir-fry lemon grass, chilli, garlic and galangal until fragrant. Remove from wok. Stir-fry chicken, in batches, until changed in colour and cooked through.

4. Return chicken and lemon grass mixture to wok with about one-third of the dressing; stir-fry about 5 mins or until mixture thickens slightly.

5. Place remaining dressing in large bowl with chicken, cucumber, onion, sprouts and herbs; toss gently to combine. Place lettuce leaves on serving plates; divide lab salad among leaves, sprinkle with ground rice.

Serves four.

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