Friday, 4 April 2014

Larp Gai (Thai Spicy Minced Chicken Salad) - including Thermomix instructions

I first fell in love with this in Sheffield, of all places, when a friend of mine made it...

But a trip to Thailand soon followed. This is one of the really well known Thai salads, and is incredibly refreshing and full of flavour. It's also very easy to make, full of flavour, healthy and can be a great sharing food if you provide the leaves of baby gem lettuces to use as little cups for the salad (or assemble them in about 12 small baby gem lettuce leaves, for canapes for friends to help themselves to).

Serves two (or more as a starter, or sharing platter), easily doubled.

Calories per serving (between two)
203 for chicken salad, 37 calories for suggested vegetables

A popular spicy chicken salad, originating from the North East of Thailand, served with raw vegetables. Eaten cool, so great to prepare ahead, or even make as a meal the night before, then put the rest into your lunchbox (with vegetables/salad in a separate tub) for the next day. 

[Calories in square brackets]

  • 250g minced chicken breast* (or whole - see method for Thermomix mincing tip - or thighs, extra lean pork mince, turkey mince) [275]
  • 1 garlic clove, bruised
  • 1 thick slice galangal (dried will do, if you can't get fresh, or use ginger), bruised
  • Several coriander stalks, (use the leaves as below) tied in a bunch and bruised
  • Large pinch of fine sea salt
  • White pepper (freshly ground, if you can; optional – it’s authentic, but I don’t bother due to the chilli, because I don’t like the flavour of white pepper, especially the ready ground stuff that tastes like dust!)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (AKA nam pla, check label for gluten free, Red Boat brand if Paleo) [14]
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (freshly squeezed if possible) [7]
  • ¼ - ½ tsp ground chilli powder to taste (not the mild stuff with cumin and salt etc. in it), toasted for a few seconds in a hot dry pan, until the aroma is released, then removed from pan and set aside – I use ½ tsp – but I like my larp spicy! [3]
  • 1 tsp unrefined sugar (optional: palm sugar if you have it, Paleo - raw honey) [16]
  • 2 spring onions [7]
  • 3 small red shallots (or use half a small red onion) [16]
  • Small handful coriander leaves (5g) [1]
  • Small handful mint leaves (5g) [1]
  • 1-1 ½ tbsp roasted ground rice (14-20g, see tip below to make, Paleo substitute toasted ground almonds or cashews) [66]

Salad/vegetables to serve 2 
(suggestion only – you can pick which vegetables and salad you like!):
  • Lettuce leaves (e.g. 5 little gem leaves each, or 2-3 cos/romaine heart leaves each – serve whole, and you can pile the salad in them to eat it, like a little cup or wrap) [16]
  • Approx 60g (fine/French) green beans (or string beans if you can get them). Blanch if you don’t like them raw. [17]
  • Approx 50g white cabbage (thin wedges, or finely shredded) [16]
  • Approx 60g cucumber (sliced, or julienned) [7]
  • Approx 40g carrot (fine julienne, or grated) [10]
  • 4 radishes (sliced or julienned) [7]


Firstly, prepare and assemble all of your ingredients for the Larp Gai, before you start cooking the chicken.

Either finely slice the spring onions (on the diagonal if you like) and very finely slice the shallots (easiest done on a mandolin, if you have one, to get them really fine, dice if using red onion) or if using a Thermomix, just chop the spring onions into 1 inch lengths, then drop onto running blades, speed 5, along with the shallots (or red onion) and set aside.

To mince the chicken breast yourself, remove any fat, gristle and connective tissue and cut into 3cm cubes then put through a hand-grinder/mincing machine, or process to your desired texture in a food processor. It's easiest to mince in a food processor if partially frozen first. (To mince chicken breast in your Thermomix, cut into cubes as before, then turn TM on to speed 6, and drop a handful (maximum 300g, if you're cooking for more than two) of chunks in at a time, stopping the TM immediately after the last piece has been minced, and tipping out each batch so that you don't end up with over-processed/pureed meat. For smaller mince, use speed 7 or 8.

Put 60ml water into the bottom of a pan, and add the garlic, galangal (or ginger), coriander and salt and a grinding/pinch of white pepper. Bring up to the boil, then add the minced chicken (or pork etc.) and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until cooked through. Do not add any oil, or allow the chicken to colour.
(To cook the chicken in the Thermomix, using 100C / Speed Spoon / Reverse Blade / Measuring Cup ON, adding the chicken once the 60ml water and aromatics had started to boil, and cooking until the chicken mince was cooked through, if you prefer.)

Remove the garlic, ginger and coriander stems and drain off any excess liquid. Add the shallots and spring onions while still hot, together with the fish sauce, lime juice, toasted ground chilli powder, and sugar and stir well to incorporate. 

Chop the majority of the coriander and mint leaves, leaving a few whole to garnish (Thermomix drop on running blades, Speed 8).

Allow to cool down somewhat, then add roasted ground rice (or peanuts), coriander and mint leaves. Stir well, then taste and adjust to your liking (i.e. if you find it too salty add a little more lime juice and/or sugar. If it’s too spicy, add a little more sugar to tone it down. If it’s too bland, add more lime juice and fish sauce etc.). It should taste hot, sour and spicy.

Serve with the raw vegetables and leaves on the side (as in the top photo), garnish with additional coriander leaves and a wedge of lime if you like.

For easy-to-pick up canapes, serve spoonfuls in the smallest baby gem lettuce leaves (or any small, firm, cup-like leaf that will hold it, or maybe even in cucumber cups etc.) garnished with some shredded (fine julienned) carrot and radish and a sprig of coriander. It should make 12-16 depending on the size of your leaves.


To make roasted ground rice, put the raw rice (preferably jasmine or glutinous rice) into a dry frying pan, and
cook for 5-10 minutes until a nice golden brown. Keep moving it, or it will burn on the bottom. Once cooked, pour out of the pan to cool. When cool, grind to almost a powder in a pestle and mortar, coffee/spice grinder or food processor (Thermomix, speed 10 until fine - listen to the sound!). Will keep in a sealed bag or container for a few weeks if you want to make more.

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