This is one of those Thai recipes that we crave around here. Pretty much within days of our mint growing back in the spring you can count on one of us saying, "Hey some Larb sounds good." It usually is G as he truly loves this minty, fresh salad.
This dish was originally introduced to us by our fellow Thai loving friend Steve Brown.Steve & G used to teach together and we often would all come together to go out for Thai which grew into trying to cook some our favorite dishes at home together. We blew his heat thermometer off kilter one night with our Fire Noodle recipe. We haven't seen Steve in years but whenever we eat or make Larb Gai we think of him & acknowledge how happy we are that he introduced this dish to us.
For this particular version we actually grilled the chicken thighs which gave it a great extra layer of flavor. We most often used ground chicken or turkey but grilled thighs will likely be our go to technique from here on out.
Our recipe uses kaffir lime leaves which we find at our local Asian grocery. If you can find them I highly recommend using them as nothing compares to fresh, bright flavor they bring to the dish. But if you can't get them you can sub lime zest.
We served our Larb Gai with a Trust Reisling. Perfect to balance the heat and flavor of this Thai inspired salad.
Grilled Minty Thai Chicken Salad (Larb Gai):
2 tspns olive oil
1 Tblspn dried red chile flakes ( we go heavy on this b/c we love heat, adjust to your taste)
1# boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tspn smoked paprika
2 Tblspns brown sugar
3 Tblspns fish sauce
1/3 C fresh lime juice
1/2 small diced white onion
1Tblspn minced lemon grass ( use the inner layers)
3 Kaffir lime leaves, cut into fine slivers
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded & diced 1/2 C fresh mint leaves, chopped
Red lettuce leaves, to use as the bed
Cilantro for garnish
1 bag shredded cabbbage
A few lime wedges for garnish
Mix olive oil & red pepper. Gently brush chicken thighs with chile oil. Grill until cooked through. Mix paprika, sugar & fish sauce and cook in pot over medium heat. Dice chicken thighs. add thighs to sauce in pot just to coat. Transfer chicken to mixing bowl add lime juice, onion, lemon grass, lime leaves, tomatoes & mint. Toss gently.Line plates with lettuce leaves, add mound of cabbage. Place chicken salad in the middle in a mound. Garnish cilantro & lime wedges.