Larb Gai – A spicy, citrusy, and slightly sweet Thai minced chicken salad with chiles + fresh herbs! Serve over rice or nestled in lettuce leaves. This is one of my favorite healthy-ish dishes and best of all, it only takes about 20 minutes to make!
One of my New Years resolutions is to share more recipes that I’m actually eating… instead of just sharing pictures of stuff that I know will get a ton of likes on instagram. I’m not going to lie, instagram’s algorithm isn’t the easiest thing to deal with these days. Especially as someone who makes the majority of my living on how people “engage” or “like” my content.
But ya know what? I don’t want to be a slave to instagram and I don’t want to censor my content based on how many likes I’m getting. Sure pizza and pasta will rack in hundreds of likes and comments but with that comes this: My most asked question: “How are you not 500 and eat all that stuff?” Well, I’ll tell ya! Most of the stuff I eat is actually plant based with some cheese on top! I don’t want to act like my diet is all bad-for-me-stuff, because, well it’s not! That’s not reality!
Back when I started this blog, I was in my early 20s and I was eating whatever the hell I wanted without consequence. But hey, now I’m 32 and things have changed. Instead of surviving in NYC off food porn style dishes of drippy grilled cheese sandwiches and greasy stacked bacon cheeseburgers, I’m actually eating mostly healthy these days. Healthy stuff that’s also fucking delicious.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still dive head first into a cheese plate a few times a week and taste test everything that’s coming out of the kitchen at Black Dolphin Inn. But that also means I also HAVE to eat clean-ish during my other meals to help equal everything out.
And I should probably mention that I lost 35 pounds last year which is what prompted this predicament. And believe me, it was not easy… especially while I was writing my cookbook! But I’m here to prove that it actually is doable! And once you lose it, you can still have what you want AND you can keep it off thanks to lots of delicious veggie dishes and meals like this larb gai! So let’s get to it, shall we?
What is Larb Gai
Larb Gai is a traditional Thai salad made of minced chicken, fresh herbs, lime juice and chiles. Depending on which region you get it, this salad includes fresh vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and long beans. Most of the time, it’s served as-is on a plate, but you can also serve it with brown rice or wrapped in lettuce leaves.
My recipe, although inspired by the traditional variety, is pretty untraditional. Upon googling larb gai, you’ll see that most of the recipes call for toasted rice powder. I ended up ordering some from amazon because I can’t find it where I live. But to be completely honest, I don’t think it makes much of a difference so don’t fret about not using it.
You might also notice that my recipe calls for thick soy sauce which is much thicker (obvi lol) and sweeter than the regular kind. If you don’t have this, you can totally use regular soy sauce but cut the amount in half and add about 2 tsp of white sugar. Or you could probably us teriyaki sauce but again with the traditional factor – this would be way out there!
How to make Larb Gai
Larb Gai is beyond easy to make and can be done in under 20 minutes! All you have to do is cook up some ground chicken – no added salt, no oil – nothing! While it’s cooking, you’ll whisk the sauce together. It’s made simply with fish sauce, sweet chili, dark soy sauce, lime juice and sambal. Once the chicken is done cooking and you have your sauce made, it’s time for the veggies. Add in the carrots, tomatoes, and shallots and turn the heat off. The residual heat will soften the veggies just perfectly to still maintain their crunch.
Next, add the sauce and toss everything together until it’s coated and absorbed. Right before you’re about to serve, top with fresh mint and cilantro…. and thai basil if you have it! Depending on how healthy I’m being, I’ll either serve it with brown rice or just straight on lettuce leaves.
RECIPE: Larb Gai
- 2 lbs ground chicken
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 shallots roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp sweet chili
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sambal or sriracha
- 2 limes
- 1 cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint roughly chopped
- Begin by adding the ground chicken to a pan and cook over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through and broken up. No need to add oil or salt.
- Meanwhile, mix together fish sauce, sweet chili, dark soy sauce, sambal + lime juice. Set aside.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, add the shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, and shallots and stir. Turn the heat off and let the residual heat slightly cook the vegetables for 2 minutes. Add in the sauce and toss to coat.
- Top with cilantro and mint, toss again and serve with either rice or lettuce wraps!