Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

This Thai Chicken Salad has juicy chicken, crunchy lettuce and beautiful Thai flavours all wrapped up in a delicious sweet, sour and savoury sauce. With just the right kick of chilli!

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Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

Introduction

I think I’ve said before that salads are rarely a go-to for me. So when I do have a salad, I like it to be something quite special.

I recently posted this Thai mango salad recipe. I cant help but love that particular dish because the hugeness of those beautiful Thai flavours more than makes up for the lightness I often resent in more typical salads.

Thai food is often very light. Yet I never seem to mind. I am admittedly naturally still drawn to the curries and the noodle dishes, but even the lightest and simplest Thai dishes still work for me in a way such dishes from other cuisines simply could not do. Why?

People say you need less rich food to feel full. It makes sense. Butter and cream and all those extra calories can fill us up in a way that lighter foods, even bigger portions, don’t quite manage.

But what about flavours? What about dishes that aren’t rich, but pack more flavour per square in than most do per plate? I’m starting to think they can too. I’m starting to believe that packing all that taste and deliciousness into a meal can simply satisfy us in a way we might not yet fully understand.

So, if you would like to be incomprehensibly satisfied, please do continue to read!

Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe
Thai Chicken Larb Recipe

About the dish

This particular Thai chicken salad is known as larb. More than just a sexy name, larb is kind of a sexy dish. It’s a pretty simple looking thing to plate up, but it’s far more than the sum of its parts.

Larb is considered to be a “meat salad”, as opposed to the leafier salads to which we’re accustomed in the west. That basically means that the core element of the dish is the meat and that that meat is dressed, like a salad. So you get all of the wonderful lightness and simplicity of a salad, with the texture and satisfying bite of a much more substantial meal – win win!

Commonly made with pork or chicken, larb can be made with any protein, or even with plant-based alternatives. I am inclined toward the more neutral flavours of the pork and chicken versions, but I have made the dish with beef and it absolutely does work.

The dish is then flavoured with the usual sweet, sour and spicy Thai flavours and absolutely heaps of mint, which bring a very well suited vibrancy to an already fresh and zingy dish.

It’s amazing.

Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

About this dish

In this version of the dish, we’ll be using chicken. In this instance, chicken leg meat, finely diced, although not quite so far as mince. Normally, Thai larb is made with minced meat, but this version of the chicken salad is going to be made with a tiny bit more bite. You can do it either way, as long as you account for the potential difference to the cooking time, which should be minor.

We will be serving the dish with some lettuce, which can site alongside, underneath or otherwise. I have chopped the lettuce up, but it is more traditional to layer the lettuce underneath, like a wrap. Again, this is entirely cosmetic and it completely up to you.

Thai Larb is also customarily seasoned with toasted sticky rice, so we will be toasting and powdering our own rice as well.

Some versions of this dish are actually simmered in water, rather than being fried. I will leave it to you to make that decision for yourself, but I prefer the extra texture and flavour provided by frying. Perhaps that’s my western palate!

Finally, I will be adding one extra ingredient that isn’t commonplace in traditional larb. That ingredient is lemongrass paste. I am including it for its freshness, for its depth and for the simple fact that it fits in wonderfully with the lightness of the salad and the freshness of the mint. This step, however, is completely optional.

A quick guide – Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

First, we’ll begin by toasting our rice and grinding it into a fine powder. This is an easy process, but requires your full attention, as the rice can go from nearly there to oh crap in seconds.

We will then dice our chicken up as finely as you want. I like a bit of bite, so I left some chunks in there. If you want the more traditional meal, go all out and either buy or make proper mince. Alternatively, there’s no reason a dish like this wouldn’t work with bite size pieces of chicken. It wouldn’t strictly be a larb any more, but it would still make a very tasty meal!

Next, we’ll prepare our aromatic ingredients. Peeling, frying, chopping and measuring where required. We’ll set them aside for when we need them. This is also the point where gathering our garnishes together can be especially helpful.

Next up, we’ll be making a sauce out of lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar. If you need to use a more commonplace sugar instead, by all means go ahead. But if you can, use palm!

And then it’s just a case of chopping up the salad and cooking the dish, starting with the mince, then the aromats and finally the herbs and seasoning. Then we plate.

Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe
Thai Chicken Larb Recipe

A few final things to remember

  • This dish is nice and simple to cook and pretty damned easy to prep. As long as you get everything ready, it’ll go like a breeze.
  • Go heavy with the mint. Mint is lovely. It breathes fresh life into a dish like this and it adds something you don’t get to experience very often in Thai cuisine.
  • In fact, as always, go heavy with the everything. Subtlety is rarely key when it comes to such flavoursome cooking. Just listen to your heart and to your gut and adjust as necessary. I will provide guiding quantities, but I really do encourage you to make it your own.

Similar Recipes & Useful Sides

Delicious Thai Yellow Curry – A fantastic curry that takes the fresh, vibrant flavours of Thailand and adds to them the complex flavours of dry spices and earthy turmeric.

Perfect Prawn Pad Thai – The national dish of Thailand. Quite possibly the perfect stir fry! With fresh seafood, paper thin rice noodles, crunchy peanuts, zingy tamarind and fiery chilli.

Authentic Thai Green Curry – Need I say more? The classic Thai dish that we all know and love. A perfect, vibrant curry with beautiful green chillies and fresh herbs.

Thai Chicken Massaman Curry – An amazing Mughal dish that perfectly merges Thailand’s incredible, fresh, beautiful flavours with the most decadent richness and spiciness of India at its most indulgent.


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Subscribe to my newsletter now for a free guide to cooking curries! AND I’ll send you weekly tricks, tips and updates that will help you elevate your cooking to the next level!


Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

Thai Chicken Salad | Chicken Larb Recipe

This Thai Chicken Salad has juicy chicken, crunchy lettuce and beautiful Thai flavours all wrapped up in a delicious sweet, sour and savoury sauce. With just the right kick of chilli!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

Main Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Legs & Thighs boned
  • 1 Shallot
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 5 Small Chillies
  • 5 Spring Onions
  • 1 tsp Lemongrass Paste Optional
  • 1 cup Fresh Mint

Sauce

  • 2-3 tsp Palm Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 tbsp Fish Sauce

Garnish

  • 2 cups lettuce
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/4 cup Rice Thai use sticky rice if you want to stay true to tradition, but regular rice will be fine
  • Mint extra mint for garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a medium hot pan, toast the rice for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until golden brown, then use a pestle and mortar to grind the toasted rice into a fine powder. Set aside in another container, because you’re about to use the pestle and mortar again.
  • Add the palm sugar to the pestle and mortar and grind into a powder, then add a little lime juice and blend together. Add the rest of the lime juice and the fish sauce and combine, then set aside.
  • Chop up your lettuce and set aside.
  • Dice the chicken into small pieces, whether mince size or larger, and set aside.
  • Chop up your mint, as roughly as you like, and set aside. Leave a little extra whole to garnish the dish with at the end.
  • Peel and finely slice a shallot, 5 spring onions, 3 cloves garlic and as much chilli as you feel comfortable with.
  • Heat a pan to medium hot and oil it, then fry off the chicken for just a couple of minutes before adding the shallots, garlic and chilli.
  • After a few more minutes cooking, add the chopped spring onion and optionally the lemongrass paste.
  • Once the chicken is more or less cooked, stir in the mint, followed by the sauce.
  • Plate up the lettuce and the mince, then season with additional fish sauce and lime juice if required.
  • Dust with the rice powder and garnish with more mint and a wedge of lime.
Keyword chicken larb, larb, thai, Thai Chicken, Thai Chicken Salad, thai dish, Thai Food, thai larb, Thai Salad

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