Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad)
Thai food experts declare the cuisine as “intricate,” “a complex musical chord” and “harmoniously blending flavors.” Moreover, the authorities state that Thai food painstakingly considers each ingredient to balance the meal.
Larb is a fantastic example of the experts’ talking points about Thai food.
Larb is basically a meat salad from Thailand’s Isaan region.
It’s complex, balanced and each ingredient plays a critical role. According to the experts.
I’m not Thai and certainly no expert. So, I asked my friend Nitcha Thotcharoen about Larb.
Nitcha grew up in Isaan and learned Larb from her mother. Who learned it from her mother.
Nitcha puts Larb this way: “It’s got to have the POP!” The word “pop” comes out quickly, with a sharply rising tone. As a result, you almost see the exclamation point when she says the word. “I don’t use recipes,” she says. “I just taste until I get the POP!”
Nitcha likes to put chicken in her Larb, which make it Larb Gai (Chicken Larb). Use pork and you have Larb Moo. However, you can use any protein to get the Pop.
Since the Pop has such a critical role in Larb, take a look at the video. You’ll see various interpretations of Pop and Nitcha’s way to put Larb together.
A few notes on eating Larb: Creating individual plates is fun, with the stacking, dotting and swooshing the sauces. Larb creates a new fun.
Spoon some Larb on a leafy green, add some vegetables and a little sticky rice.
Then, pop the fun into your mouth.
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons toasted sticky rice powder
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 shallots, minced
2 green onions, minced
3-10 red Thai chiles, minced (depends on your heat tolerance)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Leafy greens such as cabbage or lettuce, Cucumbers, Green beans, Turnips or radishes (daikon, Korean radish, etc.), Green onions
To make the sticky rice powder, heat a skillet or wok over medium heat. Add some raw sticky rice to the skillet and toast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly. The rice will take a color similar to wheat and smell like popcorn. Grind in mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. The rice can stored in the refrigerator indefinitely.
To make the larb, heat a wok over high heat until smoking. Add the vegetable oil and let it reach the smoking point. Add the ground chicken and stir fry until done, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl.
Add the toasted sticky rice powder and stir gently. Pour in the lime juice and mix. Add the chiles, shallots, green onions and stir. Fold in the mint and cilantro. Add the fish sauce and taste for your own pop.
Serve with sticky rice and the vegetable garnishes.
If you enjoy Thai food, please like and share. Your comments are always welcome! Thanks for reading!
6 thoughts on “The Pop (Video)”
I followed the directions and had a lot of fun. Taste was great but the ‘heat’ had a little too much ‘POP!’
LikeLiked by 2 people
Glad you had fun and enjoyed the taste! Yes, chiles are different for everyone. Thanks for reading!
This dish presentation was beautiful to see.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thanks! And thanks for reading!
We love Larb! We enjoy it at a local Thai restaurant. We’ll have to try making it at home.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for reading! Yes, try making Larb at home. It’s easy and you can make it to your taste.😃