Recipe: Chicken Larb

Recipes by Tina Carroll.

When you think of Lao cuisine, larb should be the first thing that comes to mind. Larb is a minced meat salad with a salty, sour, spicy taste. It’s usually served with sticky rice and sliced cucumbers. It can be made with so many different types of meats and sometimes even raw beef or fish, but my favorite is chicken. Larb is fairly simple to make but most of your time is spent in preparation rather than cooking because you have to chop everything up. This particular recipe is a simple one that anyone can make.

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One ingredient you may have some challenges finding is the ground roasted sticky rice. If you can’t find it at your local Asian supermarket you can make it yourself.  All you do is roast uncooked sweet rice and then ground it to a fine powder. Sweet rice can be easily found in any Asian supermarket. Just ask your grocer for the sticky rice. If you can’t find sweet rice, you can use regular white or jasmine rice. The right fermented fish sauce (padek) may also be hard to come by. They usually have the Vietnamese style of fermented fish sauce in the stores but it’s not the same to me, so I prefer not to use it. It’s an acquired taste, and smell. You’ll have to find a Laotian family with a stinky backyard if you really want the good stuff.

Serves: 3 to 4 people
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of chicken breast
  • 6 pieces of chicken gizzard
  • 6 pieces of chicken liver
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of ground roasted sticky rice
  • 1 tablespoon of ground red peppers (optional)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon of MSG (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of fermented fish sauce (optional)
  • 2-4 fresh chili peppers, chopped (optional)

Directions

Bake chicken breast, liver and gizzards in oven at 400° F for 20 minutes or internal temperature is 170° F. After cooked, mince chicken breast and slice liver and gizzards into thin pieces. Add all ingredients and mix/toss together. For a spicer larb, dice fresh chilies and add together. Add more fish sauce or lime as needed for taste.

Variation – Chicken gizzard can be sliced, then stir fried instead of baking. You can omit or use less chili if you don’t like it spicy.

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