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Thai Spicy Ground Chicken and Toasted Rice, 'Larb Gai'

Thai Spicy Ground Chicken and Toasted Rice, 'Larb Gai'

This is one of our all-time favorite Thai dishes, and it is a very common dish served throughout Thailand as well as Laos. It's quick to make and often extremely spicy, but the lime juice and mint leaves make for an exotic and splendid combination.

It can be found on Thai restaurant menus in America as "chicken salad Thai style", which might be the best description for this dish.

Larb is pronounced "lawb" and that means salad. It can be made with beef (lawb nuea) or pork (lawb muu) instead of chicken.

Ingredients

For 4 Person(s)

Ingredients

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Method for Thai Spicy Ground Chicken and Toasted Rice, 'Larb Gai'

You can make a more fancy lawb by adding beanthread noodles (see our recipe for larb woonsen). The spice mix is fairly simple but we have a ready-made larb spice package-- Click here if you're interested in our instant larb mix.

On a recent trip to Bangkok we enjoyed it at a modern restaurant (shown below served with various sauces and over fish). The recipes are innovative and traditional at the same time.

You can use ground chicken from the supermarket, or chicken ground in your food processor. Cook the chicken with 2 tablespoons lime juice in a pan over moderate heat. Stir until done. Transfer cooked chicken into medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Taste and season as desired. You might want more or less ground chile and/or fish sauce, etc. Serve with fresh vegetables (as shown) and warm, freshly-steamed sticky rice (or if you prefer you can use Thai jasmine rice).

Note: if you like chicken giblets, cut them up into small pieces and cook in boiling water. Drain then add to cooked ground chicken before you add the other ingredients.

The usual way to eat this is to get a small ball of sticky rice in the fingers and use it to pick up a little lawb, then eat it with the raw veggies. You can also use a fork and spoon as a lot of Thais do.

Garnish

Always serve with a good portion of fresh cabbage, and add green beans, parsley, sliced radish, cucumber, & coriander leaves if you like.

Spicy ground chicken and toasted rice larb gai

Spicy ground chicken and toasted rice larb gai

Ingredients ready

Ingredients ready

Cook the chicken

Cook the chicken

Mix ingredients

Mix ingredients



Reviews

Overall Rating (72)

4 out of 5 stars
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  • donna

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    I used 3 fresh thai chilies instead of the powder and pug evrything into a food processor. It turn out AMAZING! My husband is laos and he said it tastes justlike what his mom makes

  • Dave Amorde

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    I was first served this dish, made with ground beef, in the form of a meat loaf in a restaurant on the way to River Kwai from Bangkok. I've been in love with it ever since. I've NEVER found a proper rendition here in the states, since restaurants don't usually bother with rice powder, and the proper recipe uses shallots, while restaurants will typically use only spring onion. My biggest hinderance in the past has been finding proper fresh ingredients, and this site has solved that problem. THANK YOU!!

  • Anonymous

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    Do you add lemon grass or galang?

  • Mr Pepper

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    Roasted rice powder can be made by simply cooking frying uncooked white rice. Once its brownded, just put it in a ziplock bag and smash to desired texture.

  • Dave Mac

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    This is one of my favorite Thai dishes, I probably eat it once a week... it's my "diet food". It has two things going for it not mentioned: 1. it's great with no rice, just as a chicken salad standalone, making it a kind of rare "Low Carb" thai meal! 2. It's fantastic cold from the fridge days later, so leftovers always are great. I'm an airline pilot, and my favorite thing to do on layovers is pretty much walk around after looking at restaurant reviews on Google and Yelp, find local Thai restaurants, and try their food. Then go home and cook the variations myself. Because of this, I've had most of the "standard" dishes in hundreds of restaurants all across America, and so have a pretty broad data base for how these dishes vary from place to place, though I'm not a good source for authenticity in actual Thailand. As a great lover of Laap or Larb, I will agree with other posters that this recipe is quite a good one, you can't go wrong using it. However, I'll also agree with an above poster on the cilantro/ginger comment. Based on a review of quite a few recipes, I'd guess that the use of mint is probably the more "authentic" larb. But mint seems to be hard to get in the US in any quantity, and is expensive...At my grocery I'd have to pay $10 for enough mint for larb gai for 5, while enough cilantro is just 0.50 cents. I have to say that probably 70% of the time I order this dish it shows up without ANY mint, but instead shredded ginger and cilantro. While cilantro/ginger may not be as authentic as mint, it CERTAINLY makes a nice "larb"--my kids literally ask for this in their lunchboxes for school when I make it. So I thought I'd throw in the "alternative" version: Larb Gai with Cilantro and Ginger 1. 3 cups chopped chicken (2-3 breasts food processor rough cut, cook in 1qt boiling water briefly then scoop out... save liquid for soup!) 2. 1cup sliced shallots or (tasty but not as "true") purple onions or sweet onions. 3. 1 cup chopped cilantro. 4. 1/4 c thinly julienned or shredded ginger. Dont grate it fine. 5. Mix all with 3T lime juice and 2-3T fish sauce, sprinkle on 2T ground rice powder. I let folks add the dried chile at table to taste. Here's something I do that I've never seen in restaurant but like for longevity: After scooping lightly boiled chicken from water, QUICKLY blanch the shallots/red-Onions and the ginger, like 5 seconds only, then remove. For cilantro, literally hold stems and just dunk in the water...it wilts a bit but is good in the salad. When you serve it, just chop some fresh cilantro and toss in also. The advantage of this is threefold: first, the entire salad has been "pasteurized" and will last in fridge for 1.5 weeks, AND will last in a school lunchbox with just an ice pack. Second, the harsh bite of the ginger and shallots is just SLIGHTLY tamed, making this a much more approachable dish to a guest not wanting to eat a cup of raw shallots (which let's face it is 90% of American non-Thaifood-lovers). Third, you have just created a quart or so of FANTASTIC soup stock, and if you toss back in some of the chicken you can have Thom kha gai in like 3 minutes more. Instant meal of soup and salad, comprising two of the most favorite and well known dishes, it's a great way to introduce friends to Thai cooking! Kudos to ImportFood again for my favorite site on the internet, your outstanding videos, and the smoothest and most likable narration voice in the biz ;)

  • Anonymous

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    If you want authentic then don,t mess with this recipe, it,s spot on. Fresh mint and chilli are the stars of this show so don,t be shy with either. Paul. UK

  • Bobbi

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    This recipe is missing two VERY IMPORTANT INGREDIENTS! I have made this many times and have eaten it at Thai restaurants many times. If you add very finely chopped lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves it puts this recipe over the top! If you liked it the way it is written, it is heaven with the addition of these aromatic ingredients. You will probably only find them at an Asian market.

  • Misha

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    Can Larb be frozen?

  • Phala Phin

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    This is a great recipe and very simple.

  • Somsiri G

    Rated 4 out of 5 stars

    Misha - I haven't tried freezing my Laab at all. But you might be able to try and see for yourself!


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