Larb gai

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

One of the great salads of the world, larb is quick to prepare, writes Chat Thai's Amy Chanta, but makes a lasting impression.

  • 150 gm (¾ cup) glutinous rice
  • 4-5 thin slices galangal
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, coarsely torn
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced
  • 300 gm chicken thigh meat
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp ground toasted small red chilli, plus extra whole to serve
  • ½ tbsp crushed palm sugar, softened in microwave (or use caster or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lime juice, plus extra wedges, to serve
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced Thai red shallots
  • 2 tbsp sliced spring onions
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves and chopped stalks, plus extra sprigs to serve
  • ¼ cup torn mint, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ cup 1cm-sliced sawtooth coriander (see note), plus extra to serve
  • To serve: wedges of white cabbage or lettuce, or salad leaves, batons of green beans and sliced telegraph cucumber, store-bought pork crackling and sticky rice
01   Dry-roast glutinous rice in a frying pan over low-medium heat, tossing or stirring, until it’s evenly pale gold in colour (4-5 minutes).
02   Add galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass and continue cooking, keeping it moving, until evenly golden brown and fragrant – the inside of the rice should still be white (2-3 minutes). Cool completely, then grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle (a spice grinder is quickest, but we find the best texture comes from a mortar and pestle). This recipe makes more than you need, but it will keep in an airtight container for up to a month and you’re a step ahead for the next time you want to make larb.
03   On a large chopping board and use a large cleaver to mince the chicken thighs until roughly the size of sunflower seeds. The unevenness of the chicken mince gives a lovely texture and mouthfeel. To make short work of this, we chop with two cleavers – but this takes practise.
04   In a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a soft boil, add the minced chicken, then, with a large metal spoon, work quickly to toss the chicken so it cooks evenly (3-4 minutes). Once chicken is cooked through thoroughly and no longer pink, remove from heat – don’t let it overcook or the meat will be tough rather than springy and yielding.
05   Drain off most of the liquid, keeping a little so it just covers the chicken like a thin blanket – this stops the chicken drying out and adds the intense chicken flavour to the finished dish.
06   Transfer chicken to a bowl, and while still warm add 1 tbsp of the ground glutinous rice, then toasted chilli.
07   Stir and toss to distribute evenly through the chicken mixture. Add palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to taste (or toss through your dressing if you mixed it together earlier).
08   To finish, add shallot, spring onion and all the soft herbs and toss gently until evenly distributed. Taste and adjust seasoning; it should have all the hallmarks of a Thai salad: spicy, sour and salty with a rounded sweetness, which should not dominate. Top with extra chillies and serve with cabbage, beans, cucumber, extra herbs, lime wedges, pork crackling and sticky rice.

Note Sawtooth coriander is available from Asian grocers.

Topics:

CORIANDER, FISH SAUCE, LIMES, CHICKEN, MINT, CHILLIES, THAI, LEMONGRASS, SALAD, GALANGAL, SUMMER, FAST, RICE, SHALLOTS

Recipe:

AMY CHANTA

Photography:

BEN HANSEN

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES

FEATURED IN

Feb 2016

Feb 2016

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