This recipe is inspired by the Larb Gai at Summer Summer Thai Eatery in Emeryville, California. I ate it nearly every day for lunch for about 2 weeks, and I never tired of it—it was fresh, light, and satisfying. Summer Summer's larb is seasoned with toasted rice powder, which is so good, though I haven't missed it in my homemade larb—the herbs, shallots, scallions, and lime dressing provide plenty of flavor. I've been serving it as they do at Summer Summer (and many other Thai eateries) with steamed brown rice and lettuce leaves on the side.
ground chicken (I've been grinding thighs at home)
fresh lime juice, from about 2 limes
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons
thinly sliced scallions
thinly sliced shallots
thinly sliced hot chili such as Thai bird, Serrano, or jalapeño or more to taste
roughly chopped cilantro
finely chopped mint
Lettuce cups for serving: romaine, Little Gem, or Boston
Steamed rice for serving
Place the chicken and 1/4 cup water in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up any clumps of meat, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes—you don’t want to brown the chicken, so lower heat as needed.
Meanwhile, stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl, until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Add scallions, shallots, and chili to skillet, and cook over low heat just until the vegetables are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the sauce, cilantro, and mint, and toss to coat.
Serve the larb with the lettuce leaves and rice on the side.