Another 5-2 fast day, another salad. This time Larb Gai, an incredibly refreshing sweet, spicy, hot and sour Thai chicken salad. I love this dish not only for its big, bold, flavours but also for it’s lazy preparation. After just a little slicing and dicing and a very quick sear in a hot wok, the salad comes alive in a matter of moments. Deliciously fragrant, it’s a riot of colour on my plate. Little wonder it’s one my fast day favourites, especially so at the end of those days when my stomach won’t stop rumbling and all I can think about is food.
Larb Gai. Thai Chicken Salad.
Serves 4 (293 calories per serve)
2 tablespoons uncooked jasmine rice (90 calories)
1 tablespoon peanut oil (120 calories)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (8 calories)
2 long red chillies, minced (36 calories)
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, chopped (10 calories)
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (18 calories
500g lean free range chicken mince (680 calories)
juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes (12 calories)
2 tablespoons fish sauce (12 calories)
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar (26 calories)
1/2 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced (24 calories)
1 cup bamboo shoots, rinsed (25 calories)
1/2 cup coriander leaves, picked from stems (8 calories)
1/2 cup mint leaves, picked from stems (8 calories)
separated leaves of one small head of lettuce, to serve (45 calories)
1 Lebanese cucumber, finely diced, to serve (24 calories)
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, to serve (27 calories)
HEAT wok over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring continuously, for about 3 minutes until lightly golden brown. Transfer to a mortar and gently pound with a pestle until crushed. Set aside.
ADD oil to wok and swirl to coat. Add garlic, chilli, lemongrass and ginger. Stir-fry until fragrant.
INCREASE heat to high, add chicken and continue to stir fry, using the back of a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 10 minutes until mince begins to brown and is cooked through. Remove from heat.
COMBINE lime zest and juice, sugar and fish sauce in a small jug or bowl. Pour over chicken mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Check seasoning. If mixture is too salty add a little more lime, too sour a little more fish sauce.
ADD red onion, bamboo shoots, mint and coriander leaves. Toss gently before transferring to a platter to serve. Scatter over toasted ground rice.
SERVE with lettuce leaf cups and garnish with diced cucumber and cherry tomatoes.