Laab Gai by Saeng Douangdara
Laab or laap is a lao minced meat salad mixed with fish sauce, padaek (unfiltered fish sauce), lime juice, fresh chilies and herbs, and toasted sticky rice powder. It is actually the unofficial national dish of Laos! You may have come across the spelling "larb" - Read here why this spelling and pronunciation makes Chef Saeng 'cringe'.
This recipe is for the chicken version, 'gai'. However, laab can be made with other proteins like beef, duck, fish, pork, and tofu.
By Saeng Douangdara
Active Time / 15 min.
Total Time / 30 min.
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 cup chicken skin
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp padaek (unfiltered fish sauce)
- 1/2 tsp MSG (optional)
- 1/2 Tbsp ground dried bird eye chili pepper
- 1 Tbsp fresh bird eye chili, diced
- 2 Tbsp roasted sticky rice powder
- 1 Tbsp lime juice (1/2 whole lime)
- 1 Tbsp galangal, minced
- 1 Tbsp makrut lime leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, diced
- 1/2 cup bunch green onions, diced
- 1/2 cup bunch cilantro, diced
- 1/4 cup shallots, diced
Selection: Choose a ground chicken that is fatty. You can even buy whole chicken thighs and make your own ground chicken. More fat, more flavor.
Saute: Sprinkle some salt and black pepper on top of the chicken. Heat up a pan with a little vegetable oil until it is very hot. Cook the chicken skin first until brown and crispy, then set aside. Gently place the ground chicken in the pan and saute for 6-8 minutes. Let the chicken sit.
Chop: Prepare the vegetables and herbs. Mince the galangal and lime leaves because they are very strong in flavor. Dice the mint leaves, green onions, cilantro, and shallots.
Mix: Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the fish sauce, padaek, MSG, pepper, and mix well. Add the rice powder and mix. Toss in the lime, galangal, lime leaves, mint, green onion, cilantro, and shallots and gently toss. Add leftover fat juice from sauteing if you want it more wet.
Serve: Eat it with freshly cooked sticky rice.