Spicy Thai Minced Chicken Salad

 Thai Larb Chicken Salad, bigstock

This recipe is from my book It’s All American Food.

Among the most popular offerings at Thai restaurants in the U.S. are the wonderful, light, tingling, super-flavorful salads. They can be pretty elaborate affairs, with all kinds of intricate garnishes. But I love the simplicity of the following recipe, which takes mere minutes to make—and gets any meal, Thai or otherwise, off to a rousing start.

Makes 4 appetizer servings





Oil for deep-frying
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh
1/2 teaspoon Thai chile powder, or cayenne
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
8 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
1 small, hot chile, seeded and minced (or more to taste)
4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup smashed roasted peanuts
1/4 cup finely minced celery heart
1/2 firmly packed cup celery leaves
1/4 firmly packed cup cilantro leaves
1/4 firmly packed cup shredded mint leaves
4 green-leaf lettuce leaves

1. Place oil in a wide pot, several inches deep, and heat to 300°F.

2. Mince chicken coarsely. When oil has reached 300°F, lower the chicken, all at once, into the oil. Immediately swirl with your spoon to break up clumps. Cook until chicken just loses its pink; this may be as little as 10 seconds. Pour chicken immediately into a colander, discarding oil (or saving for another use). Let chicken drain for a moment.



3. Place chicken in a mixing bowl. Add the chile powder and mix well to color chicken evenly. Add the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, chile, ginger and peanuts; toss vigorously to blend. Add celery heart, celery leaves, cilantro leaves and mint leaves, and toss gently (so as to keep the leaves fluffy).

4. Place the lettuce leaves on 4 serving plates, and top each leaf with 1/4 of the chicken mixture. Serve immediately.

Photo courtesy of Bigstock