Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thai Chicken Salad / larb gai / ลาบไก่ - Easy, Children-friendly and all ready to eat in 30 mins!

Every person or child is different. And sometimes, I hear stories from friends about their family or children that can be very fussy with their food and eating habits and they wouldn't eat any vegetable and fruits at all!!!

Lucky me that I have not encounter any fussy food-eating problem within my family. Since young, my 7 years old son is usually good with his food as I can see that he enjoys eating a variety of vegetables and fruits and can appreciate healthy balanced diets. Perhaps my husband and I have been doing a good job educating my son the right kind of food to eat. Nevertheless, I always believe that serving the family with fresh and delicious home cooked food will definitely help to get the healthy eating message across. Agree?

So here, I have a fast and easy healthy dinner recipe to share as this Thai chicken salad (Larb Gai) is one of my family favourite. And I hope that this delicious and healthy salad will encourage more children to enjoy their salads and vegetables.

If you Google for chicken larb recipe, I'm sure that there are many recipes that you can find from the internet and all look really good. Honestly speaking, I just want an easy recipe to cook chicken larb that has the most authentic flavours and can feed a family of 3-4... 4 because the 3 of us are big eaters. Ops! And so I have combined a few good recipes and re-written all into this easy recipe that can't go wrong.

This recipe is so easy, good and tasty that it can feed and please adults and kids that can or can't eat spicy food. In another words, if you have to please a combination of adults and kids that can or can't eat spicy food, you can use this recipe with no worries too!!! Is this family eating scenario familiar to you? Yeh, I know. Tell me about it!

Thai chicken salad larb gai
Thai Chicken Salad / larb gai / ลาบไก่
The star of this dish is actually the roasted glutinous rice (khao kua)!
And I would strongly urge you not to skip this nutty fragrant addition!

Are you ready to cook and serve this dish all within 30 minutes? If you have a minute, I have a short video to show how I cooked mine and I'm sure that you can do the same for the remaining 29 minutes :p

Dinner is ready!!!
Just a little extra sprinkle of khao kua and the salad is ready to serve.
So fresh and yummy!

Here's my recipe that is adapted from several chicken larb recipes.

Serve 3-4 as mains or 6 as sides

For the roasted glutinous rice (khao kua ข้าวคั่ว) to cook and serve:
1/2 cup (about 100g) long grain glutinous rice, uncooked

For the seasonings:
1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 1/2 tbsp (~20ml) fish sauce, plus more to taste
1 tbsp (15ml) coconut sugar or light brown sugar

For the chicken larb:
about 2 tbsp vegetable oil, for cooking
about 6-8 small shallots or lesser if you are using the larger ones, peeled and chopped finely
600g chicken mince - it is ok to use the lean mince

To serve:
adequate fresh lettuce leaves, washed and thoroughly dried with no residual water
spring onions, only green parts and diagonally-finely sliced
Thai basil leaves
coriander leaves
1-2 tbsp chili flakes, more or less to taste or omit if you are cooking for adults and children who can't take spicy food.
extra hot Thai red chilies, thinly sliced and can be de-seeded if you like them to be less hot or omit if you are serving the portions to adults and children who can't take spicy food.

To make the roasted glutinous rice powder:
Heat an un-greased large flat frying pan over low heat with no oil added. Add rice, cook and swirl continuously for about 15 mins or until the rice turns golden yellow with nutty popcorn-like fragrance. See the picture above. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly at room temperature for about 10-15 mins. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind or pound rice until it forms powder. Set aside.

To cook the chicken larb:
Combine all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves well into the mixture. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan with HIGH heat or until the oil is hot. Add shallots and cook for about 2-3 mins or until they are golden and fragrant. Remove shallots from the frying pan and add another 1 tbsp vegetable oil to heat. When the oil is hot again, add chicken mince and cook and stir by breaking it into small pieces for about 10 mins or until it is golden brown and fully cooked. Not to worry if the chicken is releasing its juice while cooking it. Just keep cooking and the excess juice will evaporate off and the chicken will be nicely browned.

With the chicken still in the frying pan with high heat, add the cooked shallots and 2 tbsp (30 ml) toasted rice powder. Cook for about 2-3 mins with continuous stirring until all are well incorporated.

Remove the pan from the heat. While the chicken is freshly cooked and hot, stir in the seasonings and the roasted rice that is well coated on the chicken will help to thicken the sauce and make the sauce "stick" on the mince.

Taste if it needs more lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and season according to taste. If you can cooking for adults and children who can eat spicy food, you can stir in the chili flakes. I must say... The chili addition is a MUST if you like spicy food!

Spoon chicken mince into lettuce leaves. Top with spring onions, basil leaves, coriander leaves, chili flakes, sliced chili and extra glutinous powder and serve.

Happy Cooking
Please support me and like me at Facebook...


  1. Zoe, that looks like a very delicious Thai Chicken Salad! I am very intrigued by the roasted glutinous rice.

  2. Zoe, thanks for sharing this salad. It looks so fresh.