Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad)

May 26, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

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.

Recipe adapted from this Bon Appétit recipe. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ground chicken (I've been grinding thighs at home)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, from about 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced hot chili such as Thai bird, Serrano, or jalapeño or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
  • Lettuce cups for serving: romaine, Little Gem, or Boston
  • Steamed rice for serving
  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl, until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve the larb with the lettuce leaves and rice on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nic O
    Nic O
  • Debra Poole
    Debra Poole
  • stephanieRD
  • Susan W
    Susan W
  • Pork n' Tofu
    Pork n' Tofu
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

21 Reviews

Nic O. September 13, 2017
Made this several times and it is always great. Easy week day meal
Serve it over rice or cabbage. Goes well with steamed broccoli too.
Debra P. June 7, 2017
This sounds incredible; making this weekend for sure.
vrinda August 25, 2016
WOW great thanks
I should get one of those
can I use ground beef ?
Alexandra S. August 25, 2016
I think ground beef would work well, too! Go for it!
vrinda August 25, 2016
Sounds delicious so I'd love to try it but I'm always scared buying ground chicken from a store.
How do you grind it ?
Alexandra S. August 25, 2016
I agree! I have a grinder attachment to my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I know, I wish there were more trustworthy options for ground chicken out there. Some shops might grind it for you, if you pick up a pack of thighs (or whatever cut you like) from their meat case — you could ask? Or if you have a reliable source for ground pork or chicken, I think those would be nice here, too.
stephanieRD July 20, 2016
I love this recipe. I've never had it before making it at home, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I think it's really great! Especially for those hot summer days when few meals will do. I live in CO and it's been 90+ every day!!!
Alexandra S. July 20, 2016
Yay! So happy to hear this! I had been obsessed with making this in April after returning from a trip to CA, where I ate it nearly every day, but have been thinking about it recently so much because it has been SO hot out and this is SO refreshing. Stay cool!!
Susan June 2, 2016
Hi Alexandra - Thanks for the recipe! As someone who also can't get fast & easy access to lemongrass I did want to share - I bought the biggest, freshest-looking bunch last summer and stuck it in a huge mason jar full of water and put it on my windowsill. Slowly but surely (and I do mean slowly - like 4-6 weeks) later, roots sprouted, and eventually I planted it. It lived on my brightest windowsill all winter in a pot, and I snip away at it here and there - just little bits to brighten up whatever I'm cooking. It's not a plethora of fresh lemongrass by any means, but it's more than I used to have, and is so easy to keep growing!
Alexandra S. June 2, 2016
Such a great tip! I am absolutely going to try this this summer. And thank you for giving the time frame because I never would have thought to wait 4 to 6 weeks. Exciting! This sounds like something I can handle :)
jlbriggs June 1, 2016
I just made this for a party and it was a smash hit. Very tasty!
Alexandra S. June 1, 2016
Yay! So happy to hear this! I love the idea of making this for a party.
Do you think this would work with ground pork or beef?
Pork N. May 25, 2016
Yes! With grilled beef it is Nua Nam Dok - Waterfall Beef. With ground pork it is Larb Mu. Both are delicious.
Alexandra S. May 26, 2016
Thanks Pork n' Tofu! I'm dying to try it with pork.
Susan W. May 19, 2016
I'm going crazy over your fun recipes. My daughter is here with her 4 month old from out of state and I've been obsessed with them. I owe you an email. Hoping to get it done tomorrow while chomping on Larb. I love it!! Do try it with the rice powder. It's more texture than taste.
Alexandra S. May 19, 2016
You are so sweet! I can't wait to get your email but you should enjoy your daughter and grandchild — how fun?! I really must try the larb with the rice powder — next time for sure. Enjoy your family, Susan!
emgoh May 19, 2016
Is tamarind also used in salads like this? I keep thinking I've tasted it when at Thai restaurants but now not so sure.
Alexandra S. May 19, 2016
I don't know enough about Thai cooking to say, but if you've tasted it, you're probably right. The original recipe I was working from called for lemongrass, but I can only find that at Whole Foods. I'll check my Thai Food cookbook and see if I learn anything.
Pork N. May 19, 2016
Thank you for posting this recipe, this is pretty much exactly how we made this at the Thai restaurant I worked at all through college. It highlights the amazing flavors you get with the simplest ingredients, the hallmark of Thai cooking in my opinion. Try adding some ground rice powder, for me that was always the ingredient that made this dish drool-worthy.
Alexandra S. May 19, 2016
Great to hear this! I was amazed by how something so exotic tasting could be so easy to prepare at home, though I would agree that the rice powder adds another dimension of flavor. I will try it soon for sure!