Larb Gai - Chicken Larb
I am on Thai food mode so I spent Saturday morning shopping at the Thai market to replenish my almost depleted stock of ingredients. I really love going to these places where I can be lost just looking at the produce and herbs and vegetables and the groceries which is dangerous for me as my hoarding tendency is at a very vulnerable stage. Maximum restraint I told myself so I stuck to what I really need. Still, I could not help but grab other stuff not on my list with new recipes in mind.
The first item on my menu is an encore of my Chicken Larb from last weekend which I did not document. This is arguably the easiest salad in my book yet so flavorful- fresh and citrus-y from the lime dressing with a little kick from chili flakes and herbaceous from the combination of mint leaves, cilantro and Thai basil which has that licorice hint and that which makes it different from Genovese and other types of basil. Although this is supposed to be a salad served with lettuce- your choice from butter, Romaine or iceberg; this is also good with steamed white rice.
Pork is definitely tastier but chicken is healthier so I've been using ground chicken breast for this recipe. And in case you don't know, gai is the Thai word for chicken.The ground chicken is cooked in a pan without a single drop of oil. Just let its natural juices come out so a nonstick pan is the ideal vessel to use. Add chicken broth and let it cook through. Remember, the meat should stay white and not browned.
While the chicken is cooking in chicken broth or stock, it's time to prep the rest of the ingredients
Slice the shallots thinly; stir together lemon juice, pepper flakes and fish sauce. A little sugar may be added but I did not and it was okay.Prepare fresh mint, cilantro and Thai basil by rinsing and removing them from the stems
Toast the rice in a pan then process to a fine powder-like finish. This will act as the thickener to the mix.
I've said it so many times but I just love my Magic Bullet! Look at how fine my toasted rice came out to be. I used to panic when I run out of caster sugar but not anymore. After years of being unused and taken for granted, this gadget showed me the light :-)
Adapted from http://shesimmers.com/
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 large shallots, peeled and finely sliced lengthwise
One tablespoon toasted rice powder
Fish sauce, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves
1/3 cup mint leaves
In a skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken until cooked through. (Don’t use high heat; you don't want to brown the chicken.) There should be some juice in the pan. If it gets too dry, add some chicken broth to the pan up to 1/2 cup. The original recipe says water but I used chicken broth to wake up the chicken flavor.
Once the chicken is done, take the pan off the heat and immediately add the shallots; toss to wilt the shallots.
Start out by adding 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Toss everything together well, and taste to see if you like how it tastes. If not, add more fish sauce and/or lime juice until the salad tastes right to you. (For this recipe, I doubled everything to serve more people)
Add the toasted rice powder; toss.
Add about one teaspoon of chili flakes to the mix and taste. Feel free to add more if you so desire.