Thai Minced Chicken Salad

November 09, 2016 4 Comments

Thai Minced Chicken Salad or Laab Gai Serving Presentation

 This is a classic Thai dish, combining as it does the salty, sweet, sour, and spicy tastes that define Southeast Asian cooking. In Thai it is known as Laab Gai. I find that if I ask people who have spent extended periods in Thailand, particularly in the north or north-east, that they will often name this as their favourite dish. It’s certainly a spicy dish, and yet manages to be refreshing at the same time, it makes a great appetiser and even the non-heat lovers will be tempted to try a spoonful and will find there is a lot going on here apart from the heat!

This version of the dish owes much to the way it is prepared in Laos and I find that the easiest way to make this is to use the Crying Tiger sauce. The ingredients it contains are almost identical to those that you would need to make Laab from scratch, in particular the toasted rice powder and toasted galangal, so often left out in Western recipes for this dish. The addition of lime and fresh herbs tone down the spiciness of the Crying Tiger sauce compared to using it as a dip for grilled meats. Even so, this is still a spicy dish but a non-spicy Laab would be a crime committed on one the world’s great taste experiences!

The following quantities will make four servings as an appetiser.
500 g chicken breast.
 A small bunch of mint and coriander.
 Spring onions.
 A small red onion and two limes.
 One packet of Crying Tiger sauce.

This is best served warm straight after cooking. If all the ingredients are prepared beforehand, the actual cooking only takes a few minutes.

I prefer to chop the chicken for this by hand rather than use minced chicken as it results in a better texture. Using a meat cleaver or large heavy knife slice and then chop the chicken as shown in the pictures below. You should be aiming for a reasonably coarse cut, not too finely minced. You could also use a food processor to roughly chop the meat but be careful not to over process the meat.


Assemble and chop the rest of the salad ingredients.

Heat a nonstick pan without adding any oil and stir fry the minced meat over a medium heat. The aim is to cook the chicken but not to caramelise it. You can add a spoonful or two of water if needed, just keep stirring and breaking up the clumps of chicken as they form. Depending on your heat it should really only take a few minutes.

If you find yourself with a lot of liquid in the pan after cooking then drain some off, leaving no more than a tablespoonful or so behind. Remove from heat. Add the juice of 1 lime and stir through. Add the Crying Tiger sauce and stir though.



Add the remaining ingredients and sir through.

Taste it to see if more lime is required, the lime should not be too subtle here.
Serve while the dish is still warm. The traditional way to serve this is with Thai sticky rice which is eaten by hand. An alternative is to serve it with small lettuce leaves and eat it by spooning some of the chicken salad onto a lettuce leaf before transferring it to your mouth! And of course you can just get stuck in with a fork. Whatever way you serve it make sure you have some lime pieces on the plate for people to squeeze to their own taste. The whole red chillies are just there for decoration, you don't need them, trust me, this dish is spicy enough without them!



 Enjoy!




4 Responses

Nitsa Raymond
Nitsa Raymond

August 31, 2019

I would not freeze this after making it. You can make a small portion and freeze the paste, the paste will also keep for quite a while if you just roll up the inner pouch to exclude air and secure with an elastic band. You could also use it as a dipping sauce with any other food you might be eating. I must say that if it was me I would just cook the lot in the certain knowledge I would be eating all of it the next few days:-)

Nitsa

Andy
Andy

August 31, 2019

Would love to try this the only problem is my wife would not like the heat, could I cook it and then freeze the remains or could I make a smaller portion then freeze left over paste.

Nitsa Raymond
Nitsa Raymond

August 21, 2017

So glad you enjoyed it :-) One of my favourites too!

Carolyn
Carolyn

August 20, 2017

This was outstanding! We made this today with your crying tiger sauce, and were smacking our lips! We’ve tried multiple online recipes for larb gai since first tasting it in Thailand, but none of them came close to the real thing – this on the other hand, was amazing! We’re loving trying all of your different pastes, and will certainly be ordering more soon :-). Don’t suppose you do a tom yum too?

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