Friday, July 23, 2010

Foodie Friday: Thai Chicken Salad

Photo credit: Michelle Loy. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
We're going to Thailand this week.  I'm taking you back to {half} of my roots by sharing with you one of my favorite Thai dishes.  Although my Mom is Thai, I must admit that I wasn't a fan of Thai food growing up.  It almost seems criminal to me now!  But now that I've come to my senses, I L.O.V.E. Thai food. It's seriously one of my favorite ethnic cuisines.  My mom and basically all of my Thai relatives can cook some seriously delicious Thai food, and IMHO, it beats anything you'd find in a restaurant here.  This Thai Chicken Salad, also called larb, laab, laap, or larp, actually originates from Laos. My mom actually grew up in Northeastern Thailand where there is a lot of Laos influence on the cooking.  This dish does have a spicy kick, but it's so fresh, light, and EASY to prepare.  Oh yes, and it's delicious!

Thai Chicken Salad
{Print this recipe}
1 lb lean ground chicken breast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 tsp ground roasted dried Thai chilies or 1-2 fresh Thai chilies, chopped (If you're spice-o-phobic, you may want to start with 1/4 tsp and work up from there.)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 Tbsp fish sauce (aka, nampla -- About 1 1/2 Tbsp is usually the right amount for our family's tastes, but start with 1 Tbsp and adjust from there according to your taste.)
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 Tbsp ground roasted rice (optional - *purchase pre-packaged or see directions below)

1.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1/2 Tbsp of the oil.  Add half of the onion slices and cook until they begin to soften. Remove them from the skillet into a medium bowl and set aside. 
2.  Add the remaining oil to the skillet.  Add the chicken and cook breaking into small bits, about 5 minutes.  
3.  Place the cooked chicken in the bowl with the grilled onion.  Add the remaining raw onion slices, chili pepper, garlic, fish sauce, and lime juice.  Mix well.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. 
4. Toss the ground roasted rice into the mixture and serve on a platter. Serve with rice and fresh green leaf and/or red leaf lettuce, cucumber, and other fresh greens (eg, cilantro, mint, Thai basil).

*To make ground roasted rice, toast uncooked sweet rice over low-medium heat on a dry pan until golden brown, stirring continuously. This takes about 10-15 minutes.  When toasted, remove from heat and let cool.  Grind the rice with a mortar and pestle.  Save extra for future use.

Serves: 4
Nutritional Information:
Calories: 268   Carbohydrate:  4 g   Fat:  19 g   Cholesterol: 85 mg   Protein: 20 g   Fiber: 0.4 g   Sugar:  1.7 g   *Sodium: 592 mg  
High in: niacin, vitamin B6, B12, and magnesium.
*Sodium content can be adjusted down by using less fish sauce.


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