Larb Gai Thai Chicken Salad

Standard

So I stumbled across this dish the other day and amalgamated all the online recipes I found into my own. I couldn’t wait to try it out, so when W rang to say she was having a miserable journey home I jumped at the opportunity when she (jokingly…I think) asked me to come over and make her dinner. I’m just that kind of guy.

This is a bit “wetter” than a traditional larb gai, I think. I would call this a medium-hot dish with the spicing suggested, however it is entirely subjective. For example, my sister’s head would probably have exploded had she got her gnashers round it but a hardened curry connoisseur probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Or bowl an earlobe. Or catch a nosehair.

Serves 3-4 (or 2 with leftovers for lunch)

Ingredients

400g chicken breast, cut into strips
200ml coconut milk/cream
1 medium red onion, diced
6 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
4 tbsp cashews/peanuts/almonds, crushed
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric*
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (or one small fresh chilli, diced)

*I just so happened to have some fresh turmeric (*cough* stolen from home).
I grated a piece approx 3cm x 1cm (length x diameter) into the dish

to serve:
handful green beans/mange tout
handful fresh mint leaves
mixed leaf salad
rice

Method

Put the rice on the boil in a saucepan. Toast the nuts in a frying pan (without oil) until browned, then remove and place somewhere for safe keeping (trying not to eat them while you make the rest of the dish!). Add a little oil and sear the chicken on a high heat until it starts to brown. Chuck in the onion, spring onions, garlic, sugar and spices and give a good stir. Then pour in the coconut cream, soy sauce and squeeze in most of the lime juice – leaving just a little oomph left in your lime. Try saying that ten times quickly.

Drain your rice (once cooked, obviously) and stick back in the saucepan. Reduce the liquid until you’ve got a sauce that’s somewhere between sticky and runny and throw the whole lot in with the rice. Add the nuts back in (if you’ve got any left) – taking them out means they don’t go soft in the liquid as it reduces.

Throw some salad on a plate, then add your chicken and rice mix and top with a few green beans, the mint leaves (casually ripped) and a final squeeze of your now extensively mined lime. In the past year I have discovered a love for uncooked vegetables, which is somewhat embarrassing as I always used to mock my dad for his similar love, hence my beans were raw. Feel free however to chuck them into the mix as the sauce reduces if you prefer your greens less crunchy.

et voilà.

Here are some suggestions of potential additions/substitutions

– Roasted rice powder – I might do this next time. Add dry rice to a frying pan and toast on a high heat until brown, then grind down with a pestle and mortar
– Fish sauce
– Ginger
– Lemongrass
– Cumin

J

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